[SURVEY] Social Business Maturity Assessment in the Middle East

February 16th, 2011 Comments

As part of the effort to define what are the various stages of social business maturity in the Middle East region, we’re collecting your insights and data to better understand the market. We’ll be publishing the results in a consolidated free downloadable report on the Social Media Hub Middle East LinkedIn group.
So, thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey.

Listening to Social Media: Your new way to Market

February 16th, 2011 Comments

Thanks to the Executive Director of one of our 90:10 Middle East (90:10 ME) customers in Lebanon, I was invited (and given the great opportunity) ten days ago to come and give a lecture to the Executive MBA participants (all managers and directors of companies from Lebanon and the region) at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

I was impressed by the high interest of all participants by the subject: ’social media’. Not about how to use Facebook and Twitter, but how Social Media has changed the way we (should) market our brands, products and services to consumers, to potential buyers. More than 45 minutes of Q&A…!

The more I meet professionals and managers of brands and companies in the region around social media strategies, the more I feel there is a big need for such lectures, conferences, forums and workshops. This will be part of the 90:10 Middle East effort in the coming months. If interested, I have as well created a LinkedIn group: Social Media Hub Middle East dedicated to social media news and info from the region. Join us and share your experiences, case studies, doubts, questions, promotions etc…

How Marketers are Utilizing Social Media in 2010

November 24th, 2010 Comments
The below Flowtown infographic was created using data from the Social Media Marketing Industry Report for 2010, commissioned by Social Media Examiner. It provides some good insight into the growth of social media growth and the specific tools marketers are using.
Another very recent study is the one conducted by FedEx and Ketchum that benchmarks best practices in Social Media of more than 60 well-known companies. The study also examines programming, team structure and budgeting trends, including how companies are increasingly working across functions to ensure collaboration on social media projects.

Everybody’s Doing It: How Marketers Are Utilizing Social Media In 2010
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

B2B Social Media on the Rise

November 12th, 2010 Comments

While consumers engage in the social web to enhance their personal lives, professionals engage in the social web to advance their livelihoods. For many B2B companies, Social Media = Knowledge Management. In a study published earlier this year by IDC, the #1 reason cited by US workers for using social tools for business purposes was ‘to acquire knowledge and ask questions from a community’.

So what is the state of B2B Social Media since my last year’s post B2C vs B2B Social Media – any difference?. Mashable gives us in the infographic below a deeper look at B2B social media marketing state.

B2B Social Media Resources

5 Proven Strategies for B2B Social Media Marketing (Mashable)

3 B2B social media case studies and why they work

From Chris Brogan’s blog

B2B Online Marketing

What, Why, How Social Media? @ Business Opportunites Lebanon

October 22nd, 2010 Comments

Business OpportunitiesHello. After a challenging morning trying to fly out of Paris, where the air flight controllers were on strike, I’ve finally made it to Beirut with more than 2 hours delay. A great crowd was waiting for me at the conference center for the Social Media session organized by INFOPRO which stands for Information Provider. InfoPro’s debut came with the publishing of Lebanon Opportunities, which has become the country’s leading business magazine, earning a reputation for dependable information, ethical business practice, and of being a good corporate citizen.

The Social Media session was moderated by Jamale Rassi General Manager of Adline Beirut a leading provider of media space in the MENA region. The crowd has waited for me for more than an hour… :) ) you were great after. Lots of questions and hopefully god answers.

Here is my presentation.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate. Any input is well taken. As I’ve said, I’m not a social media guru, just a guy with probably more exposure and experience than other but still in a beta mode … llistening and learning.

Social Media & EMEA: redefining regional business for multi-nationals

October 8th, 2010 Comments


It was my first time this year at the Inbound Marketing Summit. The venue was at the Gilette Stadium. A very good conference with rich content and great speakers…US and/or Canadian speakers in majority. I was probably the only ‘foreign European’ speaker. Thanks to the @nmlteam (New Marketing Labs) for the invitation. I’ve appreciated the 2 days, have met live many people I read their blogs, follow on Twitter, get to discuss with companies such as Compete and Radian6 on the challenge for these companies to come into Europe…kind of the subject of my presentation. Here it is. Looking forward for all your comments.

View more presentations from 90:10 France.

Social Media Readiness: starts with a SWOT analysis

July 27th, 2010 Comments

Hi all. Long time no see… :)

I’ve been very busy lately working closely developing with our clients different social media strategy aspects. One area (at least here in Europe) of a usual concern is the company’s social media readiness!

Social Media Ready stamp

There are plenty of factors to consider regarding the hows, dos, don’ts and understanding the possibilities and challenging implications around social media. But how do you determine your company’s Social Media readiness? Start with a SWOT analysis.

We all know the SWOT analysis used extensively in business to obtain an overview of the critical businesses issues. It is simply a series of questions asked about your business to assist in determining the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

The goal here is to audit your current organization in the context of SWOT. Identifying key internal and external issues allows you to more carefully consider and then incorporate them into strategic objectives. The list of questions below is by no means all the questions which need to be answered to complete a full analysis of your business’s Social Media readiness. It is just an indication of the types of questions you should be considering about your business’s capability to thrive in a Social Media environment. Without a SWOT analysis it will be impossible to develop an effective Social Media strategic plan, develop company guidelines and effectively engage your company on the social web.

SWOT Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses are internal conditions, factors or attributes. For example, your recognized expertise in your market space would be a definite strength. Not having a method for employees to collaborate would be a weakness.

  • What does your company do well and does not do well?
  • Are there people at your company who already use social media in their personal lives
  • Are people at your company using social media tools and applications to do their jobs? If so, did management introduce these tools or was their adoption and use more casual and organic?
  • In what ways do you currently communicate with your employees?
  • Does your company encourage and facilitate collaboration among employees? If so, how?
  • Does the company feel comfortable with empowering company employees to interact with customers using Social Media?
  • Do you have a happy satisfied work force that your company feels comfortable allowing employee interaction using Social Media tools?
  • What role does continuing education and training play inside your company? What methods do you use for training?
  • Would you characterize your company as a fun place to work?
  • Would you characterize your company as a creative company?
  • Do you believe that expertise is understood and recognized within your company?

SWOT Opportunities & ThreatsOpportunities and threats are external conditions, factors, or attributes.

  • What do your customers value most about your company? How do you know this? Do you have a way of measuring it?
  • What do your customers value the least about your company? How do you know this? Do you have a way of measuring it?
  • Do you have customers who already use social media applications in their personal lives?
  • Do you have customers who use social media tools and applications to do their jobs?
  • In what ways do you currently communicate with your customers? How effective is this communication? Do you have a way of measuring it?
  • What lifestyle trends or factors are affecting your customers?
  • Do you seek feedback from your customers? If so, how?
  • Do you collaborate with your customers? If so, how?
  • What factors influence your customers’ decisions to do business with you?
  • Do your customers rely on your company to educate them about things? What kind of things? How are you currently doing this?
  • How important do you believe it is to educate your customers?
  • Do you have a happy satisfied work force that your company feels comfortable allowing customer interaction using Social Media tools?
  • What do your competitors do better than you do?
  • Have you identified and evaluated the efforts if any of your competitor’s Social Media presence?
  • Do your customers rely upon your expertise as part of their business relationship with you?
  • Does any part of your business relationship with your customer depend upon your ability to help them have a good time or enjoy their experience with your product or service?

This SWOT analysis is quick way to assess your company’s social media readiness, but is often not sufficient. If you want to take your analysis to another level, I recommend you to perform a ’social media audit’ within a given period (ofthen 30 days) where we assess the volume, frequency and tone of conversations throughout the social web. We can then establish a benchmark assessing the state of your brand, products, communities and competitors. This will as well serve as a metric by which to compare your future activity on the social web.

An example of such a benchmark report is the Fasion UK Social Media Landscape Audit done by 90:10 Group, which an extract has been published on slideshare. Enjoy the reading.

The ability to develop and manage the will to change how a business does business will be a contributing factor the the overall effectiveness of any Social Media initiative.

Latest Internet & Social Media stats (videos)

May 6th, 2010 Comments

Future of Advertising: a platform for Customer Insight

April 13th, 2010 Comments

What will the future of advertising look like?

The answer could be the one painted in this viral ad promoting the upcoming FITC digital and technology festival in Toronto. The ad is set in the future and shows a narrator in a deserted office (preserved as a museum) describing the remains of the last advertising agency on earth. An ad agency which ignored the power of digital and social media.

The change we see is a cultural and structural one with high social impact on the world we live in.
It is not always understood !

The Brand Reality (by Chadwick Martin Bailey)dddddd

Traditional advertising no longer works. The gap (and break up) between the consumer and the advertiser is growing on a daily basis as shown in this great video.

Businesses should start seeing the web from a business-strategic point of view and understand, find and align their web-strategy with it. Companies should stop producing TV ads or banners without any call-to-action. And starting Twitter streams like “clowns” is definitely not the right way to approach the future of customer communication… says Martin Meyer-Gossner (a web business strategist).

Eric Clemons a year ago has written in TechCrunch Why the Advertising is Failing Over the Internet. Here is an extract of what he wrote:

There are three problems with advertising in any form, whether broadcast or online:

  • Consumers do not trust advertising. Dan Ariely has demonstrated that messages attributed to a commercial source have much lower credibility and much lower impact on the perception of product quality than the same message attributed to a rating service. Forrester Research has completed studies that show that advertising and company sponsored blogs are the least-trusted source of information on products and services, while recommendations from friends and online reviews from customers are the highest.
  • Consumers do not want to view advertising. Think of watching network TV news and remember that the commercials on all the major networks are as closely synchronized as possible.  Why?  If network executives believed we all wanted to see the ads they would be staggered, so that users could channel surf to view the ads; ads are synchronized so that users cannot channel surf to avoid the ads.
  • And mostly consumers do not need advertising. My own research suggests that consumers behave as if they get much of their information about product offerings from the internet, through independent professional rating sites like dpreview.com or community content rating services like Ratebeer.com or TripAdvisor.

It is time for media owners to innovate – ditch advertising and become a platform.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Community Manager vs. Conversation Manager

April 6th, 2010 Comments

As the use of social technologies begins to climb the maturity curve, new skills (until now not widely understood) such as community & conversation management have begun to move to the forefront of discussions within businesses. Most are starting to realize that they have a missing job function in their team. But which job function: a Community Manager, a Social Media Manager, a Traffic Manager or a Conversation Manager.

Considering what Nestlé’s Facebook Fan Page went through a few days ago, it is becoming important for most brands to start having dedicated resources to manage their conversations. But businesses need to understand whether they need primarily a content-oriented person or a relationship-oriented person.

John Bell in a recent blog post described both functions of Community and Conversation Managers as follows:

Community Manager
So,  do they need a community Manager? Here’s how I see the main responsibilities of a community manager:

  1. Steward a community conversation amongst a group of people who have come together to interact together presumably over some shared affinity (they all love Dancing With The Stars TV show; they are all moms with grade school-age children; they drive the same car)
  2. Help keep order with a soft touch
  3. Remain responsible to the community first

Their job is really to nurture and often grow a community of people. Now, the affinity that brings them together may be the brand. That gives the community manager license to participate in the community but certainly not at the expense of the other community participants.

Conversation Manager
A Conversation Manager is a bit different especially as we think about how Twitter and Facebook work. Even with the threaded comments available now in the Facebook Wall posts, These are streams of utterances and brief conversations. More importantly, brands are hosting their own handles and pages which feel more personal and involved. A Conversation Manager’s responsibilities include:

  1. Offering fans and followers a steady stream of valuable content and experiences
  2. Responding to visitors who want to engage with the brand or need some help
  3. Offering a pov as a brand or subject matter expert

Steven Van Belleghem believes (so do we at 90:10 Group) that ‘traditional advertising no longer works. Advertisers need to change their day-to-day working methods. The gap between the contemporary consumer and the traditional advertiser is growing on a daily basis. This era is not the end of the advertising market, though it is the end of the advertiser!‘. He explains to us this change of trajectory from advertiser to Conversation Manager in his recently published book titled The Conversation Manager and following presentation.

What about the Social Media Manager?

Rachel Happe has taken a stab at articulating the primary responsibilities of both Social Media and Community Managers. Here is how she defines the responsibilities of the Social Media Manager:

Social Media Manager:

  • Content Creation  (Blogging/vlogging/podcasting) designed to spur conversation/viral sharing
  • Responding to conversations about the brand and the content
  • Ensuring input/feedback gets channeled to the appropriate internal functional group
  • Curating and promoting UGC
  • Managing tools – mostly social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) and blogs
  • Reporting/measurement

So what do you think? Do you agree that there is a difference in these three roles? and if so, do you agree with how they have differentiated them? If you happen to be a ‘community manager’ or a ‘conversation manager’ or a ’social media manager’ reading this post, please do share with us your views on your job function and the challenges you are facing every day :)

Other related articles:

Community management: The ‘essential’ capability of successful Enterprise 2.0 efforts

A Community Manager and a Social Media Manager Walk into a Bar…

Community Manager or the Art of Ambiguity: an introduction