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.
Hello. 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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
Opportunities 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.
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:
So, do they need a community Manager? Here’s how I see the main responsibilities of a community manager:
- 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)
- Help keep order with a soft touch
- 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.
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:
- Offering fans and followers a steady stream of valuable content and experiences
- Responding to visitors who want to engage with the brand or need some help
- 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?
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
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:
Co-creation is a powerful trend in product development that has been around for quite some time. But as I have written in an earlier blog post (Brand 2.0: when crowdsourcing becomes a must…) co-creation has recently started to gain more traction with social media bringing communities together.
Most companies have innovation as one of their top priorities. But many face challenges in innovation management – be it ability to co-create with customers, or utilizing employee talent. To address this challenge, enterprises have to embrace open innovation, co-creation and collaborative innovation.
John Windsor’s recent blog post about his friend who runs a business in the outdoor sports market is very relevant:
He described the paradigm shift we’re experiencing really well.
My friend says that he’s at a crossroads. He currently has his agency produce TV spots to run on targeted cable channels. All in, he’s spending a few hundred grand to reach a similar number of viewers.
It’s all good.
Until he starts looking at what his fans are doing on YouTube. People, who love his brand, are making their own spots by the hundreds. And, they’re popular. A half dozen of the videos have been viewed by over 1.5 million people.
At the end of the day, it comes down to math. It’s either creating TV spots and buying the media for them for a lot of money or getting 9,000,000 viewers at the cost of $0. The decision seems easier than it really is. While the cost of the 9,000,000 viewers is 0, my friend has lost some of the control he had over his brand when he used his agency. The trick is moving from a creation mindset of controlling the message and broadcasting it to a curation mindset of inspiring and guiding the people who are creating and sharing the digital videos.
While most companies understand the power of collaborative innovation, the means to achieve it is not always available. They need an alternative to current ad agencies and crowdsourcing platforms. At 90:10, we have been working on a whole series of products that offer companies the strategic direction, engagement, connectivity, relationship management and ROI.
If you’re interested in the products themselves and how they can create value for your company – let me know.