Using Social Media to Solve Business Issues

melcrumReport I have been running as a free site for a couple of years now. The aim was to “connect the connectors” – to bring those with jobs to those who want them. When I started there was only a trickle of roles available, but it has grown quite nicely now – with regular placements coming through.

At first I wondered whether it would be useful to the community – but then I started hearing about the successes – great jobs finding great people, unexpected connections and so on. But there was also an unexpected benefit … I started to gain an insight into the way that companies were thinking around recruitment for social media. It became clear that there was often a mismatch of expectations – and that while personal engagement with social media was often expected by employers, what was required was professional business experience. In short – employers wanted the disciplines of marketing and management, coupled to the creativity and energy of personal social media.

Earlier this year, I spoke with Alex Manchester about my observations and experiences. These, together with input from folks like Euan Semple, Lee Byrant, James Robertson, Ross Dawson, Shane Morris, Philippe Borremans, Lee Hopkins and more have been incorporated into a new report featuring case studies from AEP, Aviva, BT, CBA, Deloitte, ERM, IDEO, ING, NetApp, Scottrade, Telstra, The Coca-Cola Company, Van Marcke Group and Virgin Media.

Published by Melcrum, the report covers a range of topics:

  • Creating the business case for social media
  • Developing a social media strategy
  • Social media technologies (and CMS integration)
  • Governance, policies and more
  • Return on investment
  • The role of social media in the future, including job roles

There is in-depth discussion in each of these areas – particularly useful for those putting together business cases for social media and its activation within your business. The chart below, for example, shows the top three outcomes documented in social media business cases. Interestingly, innovation and idea exchange rank highly (and yet often prove to be the most difficult), followed closely by employee engagement.


The report is now available in hard copy via the Melcrum site and you can download a free executive summary. I believe Alex will also be releasing more extracts on his blog. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Storytelling for Social Media

During the Australian election, Vibewire is training and supporting young citizen journalists in an effort to unearth voices and views that are normally marginalised. You can find out more about their electionWIRE project here

As part of the training program, I delivered a short presentation on storytelling for social media. You can find it on Slideshare – or view it right here. Unfortunately the slides have not been incorporated into the talk – but you can see the talk in this clip – and check the deck below.

Storytelling for social media

View more presentations from Gavin Heaton.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

There’s going to be a lot of coverage around the Australian federal election in the coming four weeks. There’ll be political discussion, debate around the policies (or lack thereof) and viewpoints on the way that the politicians are using social media. But rather than inundate you with this information, I will just point out two interesting developments, and then skip over to my usual coverage!

  1. Matthew Gain over at Edelman has pulled together an app that analyses and ranks the twittering of various politicians. So far it seems that Malcolm Turnbull is way out in front. I wonder how reflective this will be of the final results – let’s check back in a few weeks!
  2. As a board member of Vibewire, the youth not for profit that helps young media professionals gain valuable real world experience, I am excited to see the launch of electionWIRE. A joint Google-Vibewire project, electionWIRE allows young people all over the country to report the election in their own words and in their own way. (I’ll write more on this fascinating project in the coming weeks.)
  3. Last year, Ray Wang surveyed 40 successful analysts covering the online industries (from enterprise to technology) and came up with Seven Tenets of Building a Star Analyst Firm. Interestingly, with a little tweaking, each of these can be applied to any form of team building – no matter whether you are running an accounting practice or creating a new agency.
  4. Gaurav Mishra asks one of the questions that is most often asked by the social media skeptics – what is more social: playing with your real friends or making friends with strangers you are playing with? There’s a video from the Social Gaming Summit and a summary of the key points. But what’s the answer? You’ll have to read the post to find out.
  5. If you’re in the mood for stories, take a look at Olivier Blanchard’s The Psychology of Failure (Pt 2). It’s a long post chock-full of lessons learned and challenges that sometimes are only resolved in unfortunate ways. After all, life can be grubby.

Youth Mobile Trends in China 2010

When I worked in a marketing agency, I spent a lot of time working on youth brands in China and across Asia-Pacific. I remember standing in Shanghai and being amazed at what was slapping me in the face – that China was not a communist country in the way that my education had led me to believe. It was a massive market economy – with controlled borders. And inside these borders entrepreneurialsm was rampant, individualised and driven by a restless desire for growth and economic wellbeing.

But what is this really like? How does it play out in the youth market?

One key thing to remember is that mobile phones are the most affordable and widespread of all technologies. Rather than being the “third screen” that they are in the West, for many young Chinese, the mobile, connected device is the first and most important screen.

In this presentation, Graham Brown  and John Solomon talk through the three key trends impacting Chinese youth in the mobile space:

  • Slowing markets
  • Market saturation
  • SMS is replaced by messenger products

I have a feeling that we can look to China as a trend-setter in this regard. In Australia and the US, I expect we’ll see similar patterns. This will impact the approach we take to engaging and marketing to consumers through mobile devices. The only difference perhaps is that the messenger products already have names like Twitter and Facebook.

Interesting times ahead!

The Promiscuous Idea

CK, George & GregWhen Drew McLellan and I pulled together the first The Age of Conversation book with 100 of the world’s leading bloggers, social media was still a rough and ready frontier. Two more editions and three years later, many of us are still having the same conversations – partly because more businesses and more people are beginning to see value in the space, but also because innovation is like a spiral, folding back on itself in ever more complex ways.

With this in mind, I thought I’d publish here, my article from the first book – the Promiscuous Idea. To me, it still feels as relevant as it did in 2007. If you haven’t got a copy, consider buying one. It’s a great primer – and all the profits (still) go to a great cause.

The Promiscuous Idea

We are living in a time of proliferation. Never before has the marketplace of ideas been so free, the barriers to entry so low and the willingness to collaborate so powerful. In moments, a concept can be explained, shared and tracked on a single blog — on the other side of the world, this idea can be modified, expanded upon and discussed. Seconds pass and more voices are heard — a version transmutes into new forms … being picked up as a podcast, a video, an older-style presentation deck. From a single creative impulse, a legion of additions, modifications and transmutations can spread in minutes, hours, days and weeks.

Even months later an idea can come full circle. Someone, somewhere can stumble upon a “stale” idea, investing it with new energy, new context and a new perspective and the cycle of proliferation begins again. What this means is that our ideas are constantly in a process of reinvention.

What links an idea and draws us to it is the “story”. And the power and gravitational pull of the story brings us back to it time and again. In the Age of Conversation, whether we are marketers, activists, educators, politicians, academics or citizens of the world, we are all becoming the connected storytellers of this new era. This presents new challenges but also significant
opportunities for brands, consumers and communities.

We are now dealing with a different type of story. Where once we had a beginning, middle and end, as readers and storytellers we can fall into a story at any point. We can link into the middle of a raging debate or witness the genesis of an idea that can change the world, and the narrative that we
are dealing with is no longer linear but multi-textual, layered, overlapping and promiscuous. The ideas and stories care not for their creator but freely leap from one mind to the next — sometimes appearing simultaneously across the globe — with storytellers tapping into a powerful worldwide zeitgeist.

The new art of conversation relies not on a sense of ownership but on a willing openness on the part of storytellers of all kinds. In fact, the jealous storyteller may well find that “their” ideas, brands, concepts or other “intellectual property” will laughingly thumb its nose at its creator and walk off, hand-in-hand with the idea-next-door. Whether we like it or not, our brands, ideas and
stories are no longer our own … they are out there promiscuously reinventing themselves word by word.

Ten Facebook Myths Busted

Get out your magnifying glass (the text is small) and take a read of this great presentation by the team at Soap Creative

Pay particular attention to Myth #6 – Promotions are a Winning Strategy. Changes over the past year to Facebook terms and conditions have dramatically changed the opportunities for promotion and contests on your Facebook fan pages. 

So next time someone suggests that you include Facebook as part (or all) of your digital strategy, just send them this link and have them reconsider. It’s not that there’s no value in using Facebook, but just that it’s one element in what should be a continuous digital strategy.

Soap Creative – 10 Facebook Myths Busted

View more presentations from Soap Creative.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

I was lucky enough to spend most of last week on vacation in the centre of Australia. It was a refreshing and reinvigorating experience. There was extremely limited mobile coverage (and what was available was no where near 3G) and a very small but expensive number of wireless hotspots. The relative “silence” helped focus my mind on “being away”. Having said that, I did take photos, some video and tap out a few notes for a travel diary (more on that soon).

The last part of the week saw me catching up on a few excellent blog posts, including these:

  1. The TEDWomen conference – it seems that pinnacle of ideals – the TED conference – simply cannot ensure enough speaking spots for inspiring women leaders. As a result, they are now launching a specific TEDWomen conference to address the imbalance. While I am all for a separate event, it’s a shame there wasn’t a more concerted effort to address the imbalance on the main conference stage.
  2. Dave Phillips puts together an interesting post on the @OldSpice campaign, suggesting it is viral, not social. What say you?
  3. Ed Cotton has an interesting article on behavioural economics – and challenges us all to get across the basics (if you aren’t already). Is it the real deal – or is it just recasting an old world in a new light?
  4. One I have to agree with – all customers are idiots. Right? John Dodds doesn’t just throw down the gauntlet, he throws it AT you. Yes you.
  5. SMEGnation – Mandi Bateson suggests it’s time we all got over ourselves and raise our hands for what we truly believe in (ie our egos). Oh, and happy birthday, Mandi!

A Cup of Chaos #41: Old Spice

Perhaps the largest and deepest cup of chaos comes to us this week from Iain Tait, W+K and the folks at Procter and Gamble. Over the last few days the Old Spice campaign has set a new bar by which we can measure engagement. And if "talkability" or "buzz" are metrics by which one can measure effectiveness, then surely this wins on all counts. 

I have a feeling, however, that there are other measures which are eagerly being watched – and they all sound like this – ka-ching.