Monday, June 29, 2009

Social Site Manager

We are starting a new service today:

Share all your social network locations through a single URL. Try it for free: Http:// Get a low user ID

Did you ever had these issues:
- Like to get more than one URL into Twitter?
- Wonder how many places to list on your email signature?
- Need to decide what to list on your business card?
- Need to make a change and update 25 different places?

You only need one URL:

In XeeSM you have all your most current social networks, blog, communities. Such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, Blog, Website, Wiki... And if you have to change something, you do it one time in XeeSM and don't need to update all the other places.

Please check it out and let us know what you think


Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Media Rock Star or Social Media Business Consultant?

The social web has been explored and rapidly taken over by the business world. What was limited to a social marketing campaign just a year ago to make some cool noise for coffee, skittles or a new blender is today strategically dissected.

The social media rock stars who do a few campaign masterpieces are finding new competition from business process savvy consultants who take social media way beyond the campaign level on the marketing side.

Social Media in product marketing and product design plays a wildly important role. Co-creation is the known buzzword, listening to customers and building the right next-generation product the executable part of it. Social media empowered support organizations leverage engaged users and support the "user support user" paradigm through social media in a whole new way.

Logistics and procurement departments conquer old supply chain problems such as customer buying trends and customer purchase behavior with social media where social web analytics serve as a much more precise early warning systems than anything we had in the past.

While LinkedIn is the prototype for job hunters and recruiters - HR or better said HT (Human Talents) has gone way beyond search techniques and use social media for skill identification beyond the profile, team communication, project qualification and much more.

The social media marketing campaign is only one piece of the cross functional social media puzzle. And today it is actually one of the last pieces to be put in place. Even before developing a social media strategy a comprehensive assessment - assessing customers, brand, partners and competitors - is typically the starting point. Following a traditional SWOT analysis, a social media strategy is developed based on components such as Purpose, Objectives, Benefits Actions, and a sound reporting framework. Resource allocation management and funds allocation including ROI calculations are standard elements in a professional social media tool box.

Now - to do all that - professionally trained business consultants may join the "Social media rock stars" with their 100,000 Twitter followers. In my experience - if all you want to do is a cool social media campaign and get a ton of followers - you are not much further along than the ones who hope to get 100 Million eye balls through sponsored links - no matter what the value of those are. But if you honestly care about your customers and try to develop a profoundly better customer experience – then think beyond the "cool" and start building a holistic cross-functional strategy - so that service, support, product design and sales are a homogeneous force and the customer experience is something your customer recognizes.
Some of the consultants who are working more strategically may be less visible in the social web - but does that mean they are less effective in their work? Are the pros working in the background the ones who really spin the web - way beyond the "cool"?


Social Media Academy

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Oracle - Yahoo Deal

Yahoo is up for sale. Microsoft has a tradition: You mess with them twice they never talk to you a third time. Would Google buy Yahoo? No. Who else? SAP? Not a fit, not happening. Oracle? Hmmmm - let's think about that one.

Oracle just bought Sun and turning Sun into a cloud computing power house. Probably rearrange the software part, integrating professional services, shutting down MySQL, and decommissioning the hardware box sales over time.

Now - Oracle is thinking Social-CRM, they have a cool online community, they are very much SaaS and Web 2.0 aware (even if they don't produce yet). While maintaining their existing enterprise business, they will migrate carefully into the networked world - built from ground up on: yes, their own cloud.

The first meaningful application: Search. A search server farm is a cloud on its own. So here is a fit too. Oracle is bold and crazy enough to pull this off.

Oracle could even become the SaaS, Search, Social Web cloud provider for their own acquisitions plus the rest who is out there.

The benefit for the users? Huge. Oracle is the last company that would build an advertising based business model. Hence search may become a whole new user experience.

Search is over 10 years old and there was zero progress for the user - only for the advertiser. We still struggle with 10,000,000,000 search results generated in 0.0007 seconds. We still have no structured search, we still have no geo based search, we still have no social search, we still have no crowed search, we still have no ranking, selection or filter based search, we still have no.... - Simply there is zero evolution in the single most used software application on the planet. Right?

I would even pay 10$ per year for a search that does a good job. With a billion users that is $10 Billion per year.

And that is just the obvious beginning....

Strike - done - we will see.

Axel Schultze

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live

How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Partner Empowerment - Social Media Community Network

We are conducting a project to empower partners to participate in social media. The funding is done through MDF. The details are here:

Social media is a place where customers hang out and converse over products, best practices, service tips and more. The purpose to get partners involved in those conversations is a) to intensify or win back customer relationships and b) connect with new potential customers who are discussing and dealing with the same topics.

The benefit to the dealers and reseller to engage is an obvious business benefit in increasing sales and gaining back market share.

A) Channel partners have neither a good plan, nor the resources nor the education to launch such a social media engagement. It is not so much an investment in tools or equipment but in knowledge and time. More so channel partners don't have the content they want like attractive video clips, white papers, ongoing new blog posts and more.
B) Channel partners are scared to death to expose any customer data. So what we needed to do is build a technology that allows partners to have a private customer community (with no access for vendors, unless wanted) but still provide vendors with relevant meta data to see that the communities are actually active and growing.

Vendors "sponsor" the partners social media engagement including three components:
a) The base education for the partners
b) Some vendor side resource allocation to feed content to the partners
c) An online community system that allows the partner to build their own social community, which in turn is connected to the vendors who feed content straight into all the connected partner communities (in our case 3,500 connected partner communities)

The whole project is funded through MDF - and it cost less than the typical but less effective local marketing events. The initial funds allocation is $800 per partner for training, a few dollars for the online community and more but only if successful for community engagement (see below)

Reporting and justification
The MDF funds per partner grow with the activities and engagement in the communities. In other words if a partner does not engage with their market - no more money. If the partner engages and their community grows - additional money. If a partner is REALLY active constantly grows the ecosystem and develops a vibrant community - even more MDF cash. The reporting system provides activity level that in turn controls the MDF flow.

So at the end of the day - social media and its transparency provides an even deeper insight into the effectiveness of the partner activities. Probably a bid hard to explain in words but once you see it you will get the idea.

It is a multi million dollar project but simply because the channel is a global channel. Cost is less than 0.5% of the revenue through the channel.

However the concept is scalable and will work with channels as small as 100 partners for around $25,000 to start with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who wants to kill Twitter?

March 09: A faked Harward professor Martin Schmeldon accused Twitter to be responsible for our economic down turn. OK it was so stupid that an average educated human being was just smiling. It created still some noise but also some negative impact.

June 09: Harward again. A few uninformed students publish a "research" with a similar stupid title: "Men follow men and nobody tweets".

June 09: Just recently the rumor went around that Twitter user number is declining.

Is somebody trying to slotter the bird?

An interesting case of Social Competition. If indeed some competitor tries to damage the image of Twitter, "that somebody" got quite agressive and professional. Interesting also as it demonstrates the vulnerabilty of any business wether it is part of the social web or not. Social media pros obviously know how to defend themselfes - or at least believe they can but how about the rest of the business world that has no clue what is going on.

In case of Twitter - I'm sure they have a good defense strategy - like just let the community figure it out and defend their brand, that would be smart. But in any case it is a situation we can all learn from and so I'd like to ask you "How would you defend your brand"?

Please comment and let us know - at this stage of the game - no idea is stupid enough to laugh about. Share it.


Social Media Education for Managers

Why is this important?
You probably heard so much about social media and maybe still confused.
- Fact is that close to 400 Million people are part of this phenomenon in some way.
- Fact is that winning the attention of your customers and prospects is easier, less costly and more effective through social media than doing mail shots, cold calls, or advertising. If you want to grow your business, you need to catch your customers in the social web, not with a boring promotion.

But you need to KNOW what to do there, what to expect and you need to KNOW the limitations. You also need to KNOW the places and tools that are out there.

You can figure this out yourself. It may take a few month and some try and error. Or you may take a professional class and actually explore the space from a professional point of view together with others.

What do you actually learn?
You probably already have an account on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. You probably have a some connections and check it out once in a while. Now lets get down to business.

1) You learn to understand that probably none of your customers is using social media yet - most of your customers are "in it" since years. So what do you make out of this?
Understand how customers - in particular economic buyers, decision makers and buying consumers use the social web. Learn how strategic you may want to get and leverage the media for you AND your customers.

2) You learn to look beyond your own profile but how to get active with your customers through group engagements and how to build your own groups to get closer with your market. How to deal with groups to not only use it for customers but as a lead generating
tools where you catch two birds with one stone get new contacts and be so helpful that they actually find you new members.

3) Learn to look at the "professional networks" versus "personal networks" not from your point of view but from a business point of view. There is much to learn from professional networker and how Facebook may become your most important source of information.
Learn to create a buzz around your groups and fan pages that will create more contacts than a spam filer can filter your mail shots.

4) Learn to understand Twitter from a business perspective. If you think Twitter is stupid and you have no time to follow conversations about somebodies lunch or walking the dog - it only indicates that you follow the wrong conversations. Learn how some leading companies like Comcast, IBM or Ford use Twitter for all kinds of customer interaction.

What our Social Media Certificate includes
You learned to:
- create a holistic point of view when it comes to social media for business
- take social media as a cross functional solution for a better customer experience
- understand the key aspects of a social media strategy
- create a consistent profile across social media platforms as a person as well as a company
- leverage groups in LinkedIn to use it for business conversation
- how to create successful business conversations in LiunkedIn groups
- how to create your own group and make it successful
- how to bridge to confusion between busines and personal networks
- how to leverage facebook to learn more about your customers
- leverage facebook groups and fan pages for business interactions
- how to establish your own groups and fan pages and making them attractive
- when and why to use twitter for your business conversations
- how to select the right people and conversations
- what leverage twitter has to offer beyond just tweeting around
- how to use reporting tools report progress and success

Check it out at Social Media Academy