Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Social Media Strategies for Your Business

Last week, we've talked about Enterprise Wikis, their strategies, and organizations like American Airlines can use them to its best potential. For those who don't know them, American Airlines is a major U.S. airline that flies an average of 275,000 customers daily to over 250 destinations. They are also well known for their social media efforts.

Today, I'll be sharing about social networking sites, how they can be used to achieve objectives, and some implementation strategies which can help growing organizations like American Airlines.

Ever since the birth of Facebook and Twitter, more and more companies are now interacting with their customers social networking sites. In my previous blog posts, I've mentioned about how Campos Coffee, Clearly Contacts, and American Airlines uses Facebook and Twitter to build a reputation by relating to their customers.

To help businesses get the most out of social media, Sharlyn Lauby, president of the Internal Talent Management (ITM), came up with 5 techniques of implementing social media business strategies. One of the most important strategies among these which organizations could employ is to first "Determine Your Objective".

Determine Your Objective
Knowing your objectives should always be the first thing to do when planning something. This is important because having an objective to focus upon keeps you from straying away and wasting precious time and resources. To determine your objective, the following questions can be asked:

  • What do you want this to do for your company? - Some companies might turn to social networking to increase their reputation and other times, they might just use it to collaborate and achieve employee satisfaction.
  • What do you want others to say about you? - An organization might want to be known as a company that connects well with their customers or in some cases, they might want to be known as an organizations who cares and is responsible for the world and it's issues

After answering these questions, a better understanding of your objectives would be developed. Here's a few examples of typical objectives:

  • Become recognized by a certain body
  • Receive a specific award title
  • Getting a certain percentage of new clients within a timeframe
  • Becoming an industry leader in the next few years

With your objectives all set, you will find that planning becomes simpler and more systematic. Besides that, achieving these objectives also becomes less overwhelming.

Final Thoughts:
Apart from determining your objectives, businesses should also use more than one social networking website to stay ahead of their game. On top of that, they could also employ evangelists, consider their employees, check their existing technologies, and also to listen and observe from others. For more details on these strategies, feel free to visit Adrian and Blake's posts .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

How to Get the Most out of Corporate Wikis

In my post last week, we've seen how American Airlines utilizes micro blogging strategies and how other organizations can deploy them. If you don't already know, American Airlines is a major U.S. airline with a fleet of 605 aircrafts, flying an average of 275,000 customers daily to over 250 destinations.

Today, I'll be sharing about corporate wikis and some implementation strategies which can help organizations like American Airlines to delve deeper in using more Enterprise 2.0 tools to boost its internal activities.

For the past few years, more organisations are jumping onboard to use corporate wikis. This is to enhance collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Other advantages of corporate wikis includes keeping information organized, avoiding email overload, and building consensus.

To get the most out of corporate wikis, the Society for Information Management's Advanced Practices Council (APC) has came up with 7 strategies for implementing a successful corporate wiki. Two of the most important strategies among these which American Airlines could employ are "assigning a champion to each wiki" and "convincing people to edit others' work".

Assigning a Wiki Champion
Research has proven that when it comes to trying out new things, people often would take a step back to observe before diving into it. Many times, there will need to be someone who sets the pace and shows everyone that this new technology has its benefits. This would then prompt others to follow suit.

This same concept also applies to corporate wikis. A champion has to be assigned to corporate wikis to encourage more people to use the wiki. As a wiki's strength is highly reliant on its amount of users, it is very important that the Champion does a good job.

Characteristics of a quality Wiki Champion are as follow:
  • Trustworthy - They are known to have a good knowledge of new technologies and other would feel comfortable when trusting what this person says.
  • Has Impact - What this person says and does can influence others to follow
  • Communicator - Can communicate ideas across different people from different level of the organisation.
  • Passionate - This individual should be passionate about using the wiki to enhance collaboration among other staff. You can't encourage others to do something if you don't believe in it yourself.

Be a Wiki Champion that takes the lead

With this list of characteristics as a guide, organisations looking to improve the usage of their corporate wikis should appoint a Wiki Champion to lead others and shape them to use the corporate wiki.

Convincing People to Edit Others' Work
Another key to maintaining a good wiki is to get people to edit and add unto the existing work of others. This is important because most people have certain fears of using these corportate wikis. These fears often are caused by speculation and lack of knowledge of wikis. Few of the most popular myths are:
  • "I'm not going to edit this because I don't want him to be offended" - One thing employees need to realize is that there is actually nobody who will be offended by what they edit. If at any time someone's information get's erased, wikis can actually be restored to previous versions to retrieve what has been written. Also, everyone who uses the wiki will have the same intention of building the page that has complete information. Therefore people will definitely not be offended if some of their previous work has been changed.
  • "I'm afraid what I add won't be useful enough" - Again, the whole point of a wiki is to build pages that has complete set of useful information. Any detail that can be added to these pages are always more than welcome. Besides, if it is deemed wrong or not useful, someone would edit it and may even build upon what you have already added.
These myths should be busted to ensure that nothing prevents the wikis from achieving its full potential. Organizations can also seek the help of their Wiki Champions or department managers to help dismiss these myths.

Final Thoughts: 
Besides these strategies, one should also exercise their corporate wiki's full potential and keep their organisation up-to-date. This can be further done by integrating the wiki into it's IT collaboration architecture, understanding the wiki "rules of conduct", embeding small software programs, and also by using wikis in suitable work cultures. For more details on these, feel free to visit Adrian and Blake's posts.

Organisations better not be left behind in ancient times.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Micro-Blogging Strategies That Work!

So this week, we will be talking about Enterprise 2.0 strategies, what social platforms can be use to perform these strategies, and tactics for implementing them. To help get the point across, we'll be using American Airlines as an example.

Founded in 1930, American Airlines has now become a major U.S. airline. With a fleet of 605 aircrafts, this world-renown airline operates a wide international and domestic network, flying an average of 275,000 customers daily to over 250 destinations.

With Twitter gaining over 500 million active users which generates over 340 million tweets daily, American Airlines decided to take this opportunity and use it to their advantage. Currently, American Airlines has over 429,000 fans, fifth among all other airlines (as of today). The secret behind their success is the implementation of the following strategies:

  1. Solving Customer Service Issues
  2. Posing Fun Questions to Fans
  3. Showing "Behind the Scenes" Information
  4. Empowering the Brand’s Most Loyal Followers

As a team, Adrian, Blake and I will each be going into details of a particular strategy. So I'll go on to discuss how showing "Behind the Scenes" information can attract and engage customers. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the other strategies, you can check out their posts later.

Showing Behind the Scenes Information

Revealing behind the scenes information has always been a well known strategy which shows the public how things are done or what is happening in an organization . This widely-used strategy is often successful because it helps engage customers, giving them and in-depth and genuine view of the organization. There are a few tactics one can follow when implementing this strategy.

American Airlines giving the public a sneak peek

#1 Know your fans' interests

The most important thing when trying to engage fans would be to know their interests. Upon finding out what they like, it will give you an idea of what to post and how successful it will be. One of the most common interests these days are technology. And when American Airlines tweeted about their pilots using iPads during all phases of flight, they received a massive 193 retweets!

Everyone getting excited for iPads!

#2 Post images and videos

Besides that, images and videos often attract more attention compared to lines of text. Showing fans pictures or videoclips of what goes on behind the scenes will motivate them to retweet and favorite these posts. In the example below, American Airlines included a "Behind the Scenes" video in their tweet about their new aircraft. By doing so, they managed to get 49 retweets and 17 favourites!

Many getting excited to see what's involved in taking delivery of a new plane

#3 Use Hashtags

On top of including pictures and videos, another good tactic is to use several hashtags while posting these "Behind the Scenes" information. By using a hashtag in a tweet, those who search those hashtags would also be able to see the tweet. This results in your tweet being seen by an even larger audience, others who are not "following" you.

This post got American Airlines 71 retweets!

Final thoughts: In the end, it is never enough to just settle for one strategy. Leveraging a combination of micro-blogging strategies such as the strategies mentioned abone will greatly enhance an organisation’s digital presence and further increase their fanbase. What do you think of this post? Share your thoughts in the comment section. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Overcome Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Barriers

Well I've been blogging a lot about Enterprise 2.0 and I'm sure we all know what benefits it is capable of bringing to an organization. Unfortunately, according to Go-Gulf, only 23% of Fortune500 companies are actually blogging. Today, I'll be talking about what stops these companies from adopting social tools into their business and how we can overcome adoption issues.

Earlier this year Silverman Research started a research by asking people what they think are main barriers for organisations in embracing social media. The study identified four main barriers to social media adoption in organisation, which are:
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding
  • Fear
  • Absence of a well-grounded business case
  • Unprepared leadership

Results from the Silverman Research

A few years ago, the world's largest publisher and distributer of children's books, Scholastic, had a few employees which had the interest of starting a corporate blog. With a few of these barriers, their boss was not too keen on this idea.But, they did not give up. Instead, they were given the chance to type out blog posts everyday for a month.

When their boss realized it was a good idea, she approved it and decided to go with it. With that, these employees proved to their boss that corporate blogging will work. Now the blogging team has 9 people and publishes posts up to 10 times a week. Scholastic has gained many diverse readers who comse back to read their articles on a daily basis. Proving that social tools will and can be beneficial to the organisation was their key to Scholastic's social media adoption.

Employees who pioneered blogging in Scholastic giving a presentation

Sometimes those who hold back from adopting Enterprise 2.0 tools are not the employers, but the employees instead. But as a leading multinational technology and consulting corporation, IBM started encouraging it's employees to engage and embrace social media. Ever since 1997, the company has allowed its employees to use the Internet while most companies did not.

According to K R Prabhakar, in 2003, IBM made a strategic decision to encourage employees to participate in blogs and embrace the blogosphere. IBM did not regulate employee social media activity but instead encouraged employees to collaborate, share and drive innovation. Employees are educated about the guidelines and policies and are provided the necessary social media platforms.

IBM's ROI and benefits after adopting social media

By doing so, it resulted in cost reductions, greater revenue, high employee satisfaction, and the birth of more innovative ideas. As employers, it is essential to set the example and encourage employees to embrace social media. This is helps guide those working with the organisation to accept, be interested, and adopt Enterprise 2.0 tools as part of their work.

Besides the 2 examples mentioned, one can also apply Kotter's "8-Step Process for Leading Change" to help an organization embrace Enterprise 2.0. His theory involves creating climate for change, engaging and enabling the organization, and implementing and sustaining the change.

Those who have trouble getting organizations to adopt social media tools can use this theory as a guide to transform and bring forth a paradigm shift within the organization, which will lead them to the acceptance and embracing of Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Final thoughts: Overall, I believe that showing them the benefits, proving to them it works, and assuring them that the risks are worth it will definitely help overcome these barriers to social media adoption. Do you have any other strategies to overcome adoption barriers? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dealing with Legal Risks of Social Media

In my post last week, I've shared about the benefits and risks of social media in organizations. Today, I'll be sharing more on the legal risks of social media in an organisation and how they can use Social Media Policies to address these risks.

To make things easier, we'll be using Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) as this week's example. Located at Herston within the Metro North Health Service District, RBWH is a key provider of health care services for Queensland Health. Ever since it was established, RBWH has been providing state-of-the-art medical care and the best possible outcomes to all their patients over a comprehensive range of specialities.

With hundreds of patients and a good number of staff, this 929-bed public hospital has a good chance of exposure to legal risks caused by social media. Possible legal risks that organisations face for implementing Enterprise 2.0 includes:
  • Trademark infringement
  • Copyright breaches
  • Privacy breaches
  • Defamation
  • Conduct of employees that an employer may be liable for

As for an organisation like RBWH who is in the healthcare industry, the most common and relevant legal risks would be:

  1. Loss and disclosure of confidential information - With many doctors each dealing with at least 100 a year, this risk becomes particularly relevant to RBWH. Suppose a doctor befriends all his patients through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and one day, he decides to leave the hospital to open his own clinic. He could then easily contact his "followers" and "friends" to invite them to go to him instead. This would be classified as a breach of information as the customer database belongs to RBWH and not the doctor.

  2. Reputation Risks - These days, social media accounts are all inter-connected with each other. It also shows others where we work, where we stay, and what we like. If one is not careful while posting something on these websites, the public may assume that these individuals are posting on behalf of their organization. For example if a doctor posts "Enjoying a break from work with my cigarette" and his "Followers" know that he is working at RBWH, this could damage RBWH's reputation as a clean and healthy environment for patients.

  3. Discrimination claims - The hospital is where we can find different people from different background with different personalities. Hence, the chance of discrimination claims are fairly high here. According to Dundas Lawyers, adding clients and co-workers on social media sites but not adding certain ones can be argued for as discrimination. So if a doctor "follows" someone on Twitter but does not "follow" another, or if they "unfollow" someone, the doctor and RBWH may be called to court for "discrimination.

Becareful when you unfollow someone! image courtesy of joyoftech.com

To prevent these risks from causing damage, an organisation can implement several safeguards by creating a Social Media Policy. These policies should clearly address the following areas:

  • Access – The policy should define who can access social media in the workplace, when they can do so, and what can they do on these sites. This is to ensure use of social media does not affect job performance and protect the organisation from unneccesary risks.

  • Management – Who is responsible for the implementation and management of social media in the organisation has to be determined. Someone should be in charge of keeping updated on what others are saying about the organisations in social media sites.

  • Privacy issues – Specify how individuals working in the organisation should protect confidential company, employer, employee and patient information. This is to ensure they do not post statements that reveal private information that can cause trouble.

  • Monitoring – Notify those in the organisation why you are monitoring their social media usage, how you are going to do it, and when will monitoring take place.

  • Violation consequences – Clearly state the consequence of violating company policies in different scenarios. This is to ensure those working in the organisation are aware and will adhere to the new social media policy.

  • Integration – The company should determine how this new policy should be intergrated with other existing policies within the organisatio
    n. This is to help employees understand how all the policies fit together.
After you've got your social media policy up, the next step would be to educate your employees to ensure they know how to engage effectively and carefully in social networking sites. Below is an example of how Sutter's Health kept their employees aware of their new social media policy.

Sutter Health's Social Media Policy Overview

Well that's all for this week. Hopefully what I've discussed here helped you understand the legal risks of social media and social media policies better. Stay tuned, as I'll be blogging about Enterprise 2.0 adoption. See ya!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Truth About Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is all about helping employees, customers and suppliers collaborate, share, and organize information with the use of Web 2.0 technologies. This new shift in paradigm works by using more flexible and collaborative tools to extend knowledge to a certain crowd on the Internet.

If you are still wondering why an organization would implement Enterprise 2.0, the simplest answer would be because up till today, most organizations has reaped many benefits from this. A few of the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 are:
  • Improved company reputation
  • Increased productivity
  • More effective learning and development
  • Easier access to expertise and organisational capabilities

On the other hand, the use of Enterprise 2.0 by organizations has its risks too. Though the risks are minimal and has a low chance of actually happening, this still may turn organizations away from the idea of implementing Enterprise 2.0. Some of these risks are:
  • Information loss
  • Negative external comments
  • Information unreliable or incorrectly used
  • Reduced staff productivity

From the feedback I've received so far, many of you like it when I include examples that we all can relate to. So to better illustrate the benefits and risks, I'll be showing you how two companies which both uses Facebook as their Enterprise 2.0 tool can experience very different outcomes.

To improve their company's reputation and sales ClearlyContacts, an Australian optical retailer, came up with a promotion giving out a free pair of glasses. By using Facebook as their Enterprise 2.0 advertiser, those who wish to claim the offer would have to "share" the post. Their friends would then be able to see on their newsfeed that they have redeemed the offer. With everyone on Facebook having at least 100 friends, this form of advertisement definitely helps build an organization's reputation.

Upon accepting the offer, one is asked to post the offer to their timeline

The offer appears for all to see from their Newsfeed

Now we all know that almost all airlines already has their Facebook page set up. Apart from the other benefits mentioned, I believe their main goal is to build an online presence and maintain a good reputation. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword and when you allow people to say sweet words about your organization, you should very well be prepared to be publicly critized or defamed too.

During the winter holidays, a friend of mine had a bad experience travelling with a particular budget airline. Even after lodging an official complaint, my friend did not hear from them for almost a month. Just so they do not bring me to court for defamation, I've decided to leave their name out of this post.

Left with no choice, this friend then went to their Facebook page and wrote a super long post on their Timeline. And on that same day, someone from the airline actually attended to the issue. With their company's reputation at stake, I suppose they had no choice to rectify the problem.

My friend's post. The full post contains a staggering 987 words!

I'm pretty sure this organization along with all others that has implements Enterprise 2.0 knew that there was a possibility of this happening. But what made them still go ahead with Enterprise 2.0? Well the answer is obvious, though there are certain risks invovled, the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 far outweighs the risks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Secrets to Organisational Success

Another week has passed and now it’s time for me to write another entry here. Today, I’ll be giving my two cents worth on organisational web2.0 strategies. Let the writing begin!

So lately I’ve noticed more organisations and businesses using Web 2.0 to achieve their goals. Almost every company is now interacting with their customers through blogs, social media, and even custom apps.

A good example of companies using social media would be the local cafĂ©, Campos Coffee. Recently, they posted their team’s trip details to coffee farms on Facebook. This provides their coffee-loving customers to with inside scoop of what’s going on and also keeps them excited on the upcoming coffee beans that would be soon available in stores.

Campos Coffee's post on Facebook

Besides that, Australia’s iconic fast food chain, Hungry Jack’s has also developed a custom app which awards their customers with discounts upon check-in at Hungry Jack’s with their Facebook account. A post would then appear on their customer’s Facebook wall telling all their friends about their visit to Hungry Jacks.

Hungry Jack's iPhone App

Another secret for organizational success through Web2.0 is through customer involvement and crowd-sourcing. Further strategies of this was discussed in the book “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything”, where the authors introduced a new business model that stresses on Peering, Being Open, Sharing, and Acting Global.

To illustrate, I'll use two examples of companies we all love. A few months back, the famous ice cream brand, Ben and Jerry's, held a competition to look for new models for sustainable business which will help make a difference in communities. They exercised peering (collaborating with individuals and other corporate partners) and came up with great business models to make this campaign a success. They were also being open by acknowledging that others outside of the organization can assist them in reaching the community and outsourcing these jobs. The contest is now in its final stages with the top 15 being chosen.

Ben and Jerry's - Join Our Core

Apart from that, world-renowned soup company, Campbell, invited the public to make a video advertisement for them last year. The company had no problem sharing their music track with the public which must be included in the contestant's video entry. Campbell has also acted global by opening the competition to anyone. This attracted a wide variety of creative entries from people all over the word. The high level of customer involvement caused this campaign to be a huge success.

Campbell's Ad Competition

Considering that now almost everyone is doing it, those who choose not to use these Web 2.0 tools to engage their customers would be planning for their own doom and soon be left eating their competitors dust.

Well that's all for this week. Hopefully what I've discussed here would be able to give you some insights on organisational Web 2.0 strategies. As usual, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. See ya!