“…we can’t control the people. It’s like trying to take the “p” out of swimming-pool.”
The above statement was part of Charlene Li’s catchy introduction at the Microsoft Breakfast Series event this morning, which Carrie, Mark and I attended. She is referring to the effect social media is having on businesses around the world.
Charlene said that Groundswell offers readers the how-to on creating a social strategy using a variety of technologies. These technologies have allowed us to relieve our need of traditional institutions by helping us get the things we need from each other. She explained that the uniting of disparate groups is nothing new, citing Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence as an example.
Her goal for the event was to present a framework and process for attendees to use for the revolution to stick. First, she introduced us to the 4-step POST process:
- People – assumes customers participate in social activities
- Objectives – what you want to accomplish
- Strategy – plan for how the relationships with customers will change
- Technology – which social tools to use
Second, she described the Ladder of Participation, stating that many of us fit into more than one of the levels.
Third, she provided us with 5 objectives:
- Listening – Market Research
- Talking (i.e. conversation) – Marketing
- Energizing (i.e. get customers to sell for you; enthusiasts) – Sales
- Supporting – Support
- Embracing Customers – Product Development
In closing, she showed an example of how the value of executive blogs exceeds the cost (i.e. ROI) and some keys to success: relationships, measurable objectives, revolutions, executive support and “start small, think big.”
Here are some questions asked by the audience and Charlene’s answers (not necessarily word-for-word):
Q. If bloggers speak for a company, they must have an accountability model. How can this be managed?
A. Training for those who speak as the offical voice of the company so they know what they can and cannot say. As for the unofficial speakers, express and idea of how big you wan the sandbox and let them play in it.
Q. How do we encourage users to move up the ladder?
A. All parts are valuable, even if someone is not on all levels. Create a spark to get people interested.
Q. How can one engage with management to encourage them to be the face of the blog?
A. Why management? Other employees are okay. Show all people. The most passionate. Tie back to business objectives.
Q. How do you manage the volume of RSS feeds?
A. Use network of people for info. Only care about thought leaders. Best filters out there are friends and people you admire.
Overall, it was an engaging presentation. I will definitely try to apply the POST process, think about the ladder and consider the 5 objectives, whether I am working on a project for school or work. I was most surprised by the ROI numbers she presented to show the monetary value of blogging (for a corporate leader). I wouldn’t say there was anything drastically new or different than what we discuss in the MCDM program, but I am still glad I got up a little earlier than normal to attend. Oh, and the Krispy Kreme doughnut was delicious!