Gamification: Unlocking hidden collaboration potential

By Tim Royle, Guest Blogger, Executive Director, ISW

 

“If you can measure it you can improve it” is an old business adage that is easily applied to performance criteria such as manufacturing output levels or sales quotas. But, how can you apply measurement metrics to the more subjective sciences of collaboration and business success? Simple, the answer is “gamification.”

The following chart assumes an organizational performance level of 30 percent. By encouraging users to adopt social software through gamification, we have the opportunity to improve performance and drive bottom-line returns.

image

What is gamification?

Gamification is the application of game design techniques to business processes aimed at encouraging user adoption and participation. This is typically achieved by:

  • Achievement badges
  • Achievement levels
  • Reward systems
  • Leader boards

Why gamification?

The reasons are:

  • Gamification has the potential to unlock wasted talent and streamline business processes through enhanced collaboration.
  • Work processes rely increasingly on interacting with colleagues, partners, and customers in social networks; to manage performance, new performance management metrics are needed.
  • Younger and older generations alike identify with gamification and reward systems.
  • The gamification of business objectives and their breakdown into key performance indicators provides a new way for organizations to drive performance improvement.

The term gamification in some way perhaps trivializes what we are trying to achieve. Take the point of view of an inflexible or unprogressive manager: “I don’t want our people playing games on work time!” This is the same person who objected to the introduction of instant messaging saying “I don’t want our people chatting and wasting time.” The benefits of instant messaging, presence awareness, and screenshare are now universally acknowledged. So, nothing is new here, other than gamification, which simply faces the technology adoption curve.

 

How do we get started with gamification?

Go to gamification.org and to the gamification blog (gamification.co), which also provides useful reference material. IBM Connections users can visit kudosbadges.com site.

Having decided that the idea of implementing social software makes sense, next ensure that your social software strategy includes ways of measuring and rewarding users for their participation. The alignment of collaboration goals with business objectives is key. Having gamified collaboration goals, any business process can be similarly gamified.

For example, a marketing/sales process could be engineered in the following way: 500 letters – Direct Mail Badge

500 follow up phonecalls – Telemarketing Badge

50 meetings – Meeting Badge

20 proposals – Proposal Badge

1 order – Sales Badge

5 orders – Sales Guru Badge

The measurement of performance across this simple sales/marketing process may draw on data from disparate systems. For example, if the organization uses SAP, the lodgement of a purchase order attributable to the sales person will click the counter on the user’s Sales Badge. The integration of these systems is achieved through a gamification engine that displays progress in the place where it’s most needed, the social portal:

image

Organizations that are invested in business process management, Balanced Scorecard, or Six Sigma principles will have a head start in that much of the performance metrics for gamification will already be in place.

2012 gamification predictions

These are several predictions:

  • Organizations will embrace gamification.
  • Gamification will continue to thrive in the social software space.
  • Gamification will penetrate all business processes and systems.

Summary

Gamification offers a serious capability to improve organizational performance. Early adopters will benefit most; those who choose to be laggards will face increasing competitive pressure from those who embrace gamification and invest in the analysis of their business processes and structured measurement and reward systems.

Tim Royle is an Executive Director of ISW, Australian based IBM Premier Partner. ISW is an award-winning, pure-play IBM Business Partner that designs, implements, and supports solutions based on WebSphere, ICS, Tivoli, Rational, Information Management, and Cognos technologies. He has worked with IBM Collaboration Solutions since 1992 and has spoken at events such as Collective Intelligence, LCTY, AUSLUG, and Lotusphere. Tim is a member of the IBM Social Business social media IBM Redbooks team and spends his time focused on implementing successful social software solutions.

Tim is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader image Read further blogs from Tim and others here

Twitter: @twroyle

 

 

Is everyone supporting social media at your company?

I’ve just finished a great post by Marcus Sheridan, in which he covers 5 ways to get your entire company on board with social media.

This post is highlighting these great points, with some thoughts of my own mixed in.

To read the original post go here:

Firstly – you need to have a sponsor, a champion for the cause preferably an executive. This individual will be the motivator, co-ordinator but this is not someone whom burdens all the responsibility. Further attributes – credible authority, can moderate disputes, can provide or raise budget, liaison between social and greater strategy, strong relationship with social media evangelist.

Secondly – Educate, bring all as many people as you can to a social media summit. Do not mass email employees telling them to join twitter, write a blog “Like” a page.
Phase 1: The basics;
Start with your guidelines, the can’s, the cant’s. Include an etiquette guide.
Introduce the tools and the platforms, uses – familiarisation.
Provide resources for learning. Include online, realtime and hands on.
Points of contact within the company.
Phase 2: Regular use;
How to represent the brand.
Case studies
Scenario planning, fire extinguisher response.

Thirdly – Encourage Employee action. Each employee can make a difference. Rewarding activity through the use of gamification is one way. A great friend of mine recently wrote a great article on gamification well worth a read. Also Marcus refers to a great example in his blog.

Fourth – Create a Social Media Newsletter – If I could +1 this part of his post I would. From personal experience this works, and works well. I run a community on social business which, in just over six months, has over 2500 active members. After every issue there is an influx of new members as the word spreads. Why is it successful? Its sleek, easy to read and bullet pointed.

Fifth – Education Education Education
The landscape is changing rapidly in this new world. So staying up to date is completely key for long term success.
Yet again I agree with Marcus. My team run twice weekly calls every on various topics, various platforms and various speakers. The key to the high attendance – short and sweet. No longer than 20 mins content and time for Q&A at the end.

Show me the MONEY

If You Build It, Will They Come?
It is hard work as of late, convincing individuals that blogging needs to be part of their digital personal brand strategy.
Especially those that have amassed valuable knowledge over the years and even those with great ideas and opinions.
Some tend to believe that all they need to have is a static presence, say hello on Twitter or Facebook once in awhile, occasionally add connections to their network and they are set to attract clients.
The “build it and they will come,” theory.
Lets be honest, this method doesn’t work and those that are venturing into this arena can back me up.  There is no “one size fits all,” path to success.
It’s about creating relationships and you have to drive traffic. BUT it is not only traffic that is important. Unlike traditional media where today’s news is tomorrows fish and chip wrapper, the world of the Internet has staying power. So every entry into the online world leaves a digital footprint about you that can be found.
Magnetism  & Four-Letter Words
Streetwise professionals would probably also agree that publishing blog articles is like magnetising your target audience to you.  When the blog is quiet, the traffic to your blog slows or stops.
Lets take a look at some benefits:
•    Gives the writer credibility.
•    Focuses on the author’s ideas and expertise.
•    Establishes credibility in the author’s niche.
•    Attracts the reader to the author & the author’s additional content.

How awesome, right?
Who wouldn’t want that?
Ever met a salesperson that didn’t like the spotlight or to talk more about themselves?
Even so, when I say the word, “blog,”  it’s like I’ve said a four-letter word.
BLOG.

The definition of this word has also changed; with the advent of 140 character micro-blogs i.e. Twitter, the use of video blogs i.e. YouTube, picture blogs i.e. Flickr. Penning a few words can lead to engagement however the richer the content the richer the engagement.
Walking the talk
So, for some time, I’ve been pondering how I could get more people interested in blogging.  A little more exciting…more “sexy,” if you will.
It would have to be, or I’d lose my audience.
In this case:

•    Executives.
•    SME’s
•    Sales Professionals.

Individuals, that clients will make decisions about, in 2012 and future.
These days, the Internet is a haven of nifty new media.  A place where we read, play games, buy, sell, trade, socialise, and more…
Building a boat
Back to my challenge – To making blogging more attractive and enticing.  As a parent, my instincts are to put a fun slant on it.
Much like how we convince our children to take their medicine with the song, “A spoon full of sugar.”  Or inspire others to remember something with a groovy acronym.
Finding the Hot Button
So, playing to what gets people enthused I realised this is the sweet spot…the hot button.  I should find a way for them to get just as excited about their blog as they might be about “MONEY“.
The acronym…
M – More
O – Opportunity
N – Needs
E – Engagement
from
Y – You
MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You
Oh yes, Show me the money!
What sales person wouldn’t get excited about that?  Information about themselves – about their purpose – rippling across the Internet where their target audience is hanging out!
Can you imagine what could happen with this slightly changed perspective?

So…
Pen is mightier than the sword


The 2015 roadmap will be tough.  Battles between competitors are intense, at a time when our clients need answers and solutions.
Dell are changing customer engagement with mighty mileage from social media.  From a marketing, brand and personal standpoint, a blog should be the hub of your social media and digital presence.
Technology is already changing who wins and how.
Employees  – regardless of time served, status, or experience – NEED to stop snarling their nose at penning a few words once in awhile, and start realising the benefits.
For them, and their clients.


MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You

97 Ideas for Building a Valuable Platform

Start Somewhere

  1. Don’t fret as much about the technology. Don’t have a blog? Start one at WordPress.com or Tumblr.com. If you want more flexibility, get your own WordPress blog (affiliate link) by clicking the 4th option on this page.
  2. What are you passionate about? What is useful to others? These two thoughts combined are your best bet at defining your platform.
  3. You might be the “little drummer boy,” worried that what you have to say isn’t worthy. Everyone has something to contribute, especially if you remember to be the real you and not a copy of others you feel are successful.
  4. Get in the habit of writing daily, even if you don’t post daily. Start with 200 words. Then 300. The current best bet for a blog post’s length is between 300-500 words. You can get that.
  5. Remember that there are all kinds of platform-making choices. You can do blogs, video, newsletters, social networks, and many more avenues. What you can’t do is do ALL of those well. Pick a few and work from there. One, maybe two, is a good start.
  6. Don’t be afraid to consider video or audio as part of the mix. We are inundated with text. Why not give all those shiny new smartphones and tablet computers something to consume?
  7. The simplest of messages is often the one we need to hear the most. Paulo Coelho has a world record for how many languages and countries his book, The Alchemist, has been translated into for consumption. The real core of the book is about love and how all things are essentially the same.
  8. People always worry about how often or rarely they should post. The answer is “how often do you have something worthy of tapping into my attention?” Do it that often.
  9. It’s hard to create consistently without inspiration. Read often. Keep your eyes open. Be wary of how your world offers you stories every day.
  10. No matter what other tools you use, make sure you have a website that is your “home base.” Everything else is an outpost. You can spend more time on the outposts, but your goal is to encourage a visit to the home base for a furthering of the relationship.

Embrace Brevity

  1. We are in a consumption society. People can barely read a tweet. Keep everything brief. Note how a numbered list helps with this? Do similar things. Think bite-sized.
  2. We tend to overwrite. Most people’s first few paragraphs are throat-clearing, and their endings are weak. Try cutting from the beginning, and making sure the ending of what you write lands well.
  3. Short sentences rule. Read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. You can’t not write like her afterwards.
  4. In video, the goal is under 2 minutes, unless it’s a speech or an interview. A trick: you can break up videos with your own “commercials.”
  5. People can barely read tweets. If your blog post is super long, make it worth it.
  6. Writing commentary about other people’s ideas is great – occasionally. Start formulating your own brief ideas.
  7. Want to master brevity? Learn how to create useful posts on Twitter. It spreads to other mediums quite well. Participate in a few hashtag chats like #blogchat on Sunday nights (US time).
  8. If you can say it with fewer words, do so.
  9. Think of ways to “chunk” your content, so that people can consume it. We’re consuming more and more on mobile devices. How will you serve that marketplace?
  10. Email newsletters were born to be brief. One “ask” per email is plenty.

Video. Video. Video

  1. Find a video recording tool and start using it. It can be your laptop. It can be a standalone like the Kodak PlayTouch. Whatever. Just start recording. Practice getting comfortable. Delete the first dozen until you feel like you can look at the lens.
  2. Get a YouTube account. You can use any other platform you want, but you must also use YouTube. It’s the #2 search engine in the world. Why would you NOT use it?
  3. Practice recording daily. Practice publishing weekly. Even if it’s just a few minutes. (It’s better if it’s just a few minutes.)
  4. Remember that brevity rules. 2 minute videos (or even shorter) get much more play and have many more views until the end than long videos. Yes, interviews are a different beast. Break them up with “commercials” or other ways to segment them.
  5. You can edit just fine in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. If you graduate to Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas or whatever, great. But don’t worry about that at first. Just start with the simple and the inexpensive.
  6. AUDIO is the secret to better video. People forgive a lot of visual mess if you have solid audio.
  7. How I learn more and more about video comes from watching and dissecting how others do what they do. Find interesting video shows (or TV shows) and figure out how they get what they get.
  8. Remember: start somewhere. You don’t have to do amazing video. You have to start telling a story that reflects you, and that is helpful to others. This is the core of a humble platform.
  9. Interviews are a great way to get started in video, because you can ask others to talk about themselves. Learning about others is often helpful to people.
  10. The more you practice with video, the more you’ll see rewards. We are a visual race, we humans. But don’t forget to add text in the post that contains the video.

Ideas Drive Platform

  1. If you’re the same as everyone else, how will we notice you? Ideas need contrast to make sense.
  2. The best ideas are the ones people can take and make their own. Give your ideas “handles” and let people take those ideas with them when they go.
  3. If you can clearly articulate your ideas, even simple ones work well.
  4. Sharing other people’s ideas helps show that you don’t feel you know it all. (Humble, remember?)
  5. Sometimes, a question makes for a great idea. I’ve learned plenty from admitting I don’t know something.
  6. One amazing idea trumps a lot of little ideas. And yet, usually really little ideas can be amazing. Sir Richard Branson’s biggest business idea is to keep his companies small. For a long time, only the airline bucked that trend.
  7. To come up with great ideas, read and listen to other people’s great ideas. To make your ideas great, share them as often as you can.
  8. Hoarding ideas is like stashing ice cubes under your mattress for later. Use them when you get them, and share them liberally.
  9. Never worry that someone else “stole” your idea. Ideas are free. Execution is what makes you money. I’ve met countless bitter people who “invented Facebook” years before.
  10. We love learning from people who have interesting and positive ideas. It’s harder to keep an audience, if you’re forever in the negative and griping camp.

Be Yourself

  1. The more I act like myself, instead of like what I thought the world wanted, the more successful I become.
  2. Realize that there’s a “hot mess” line, meaning that you have to filter the “you” that you put out there a little bit. People don’t want to hear every woe and misery in your life. (Most times. Dooce not withstanding.)
  3. Realize that being yourself means you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Embrace that.
  4. The “yourself” that most people want you to be is the one that they can learn something from. And yet, if that’s not what you want to be, disregard me and be yourself.
  5. Part of being yourself is untangling from other people’s expectations. This is a very difficult matter, and yet important to building your platform.
  6. “Be yourself” doesn’t mean be only about yourself. Connecting with and caring about others is always a trait that earns more attention.
  7. It’s great to have a lot of passions. When displaying this via your platform, try to tie them to a larger storyline so that people understand how they connect.
  8. Never let your shortcomings become your reasons why not. Richard Branson is dyslexic. Ryan Blair went from gang member to millionaire success story. Excuses are Band-Aids on wounds that don’t exist.
  9. Marsha Collier said it best: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
  10. Start where you are. Lots of people worry that everyone’s so far ahead. Those people? They started somewhere.

Humble Is Better Marketing

  1. It’s better to focus on helping and creating useful information than it is to seek and share praise about yourself.
  2. Promoting others does more for your reputation and reach than promoting yourself.
  3. Share other people’s great work, and create great work. Yours will be shared, at some point.
  4. Leaving comments on other people’s sites with your links and promoting your stuff is poopy. It smells of desperation. Don’t do it. The only exception is when you’re invited to do so.
  5. Ask about others first. The most famous people I’ve met do this and do it well. Both Sir Richard Branson and Disney CEO Bob Iger asked me about me before I could start my interviews with them. In both cases, they were sincere and interested. Learn from the big dogs.
  6. The more you care about the success of others, the more you will be successful.
  7. Being humble isn’t a marketing plan. It’s a requirement for doing human business.
  8. Humble doesn’t mean “forgotten,” nor does it mean self-destructive. If you’re too humble, that’s also called “invisible.” Realize when the right times to chime in might be.
  9. Yes, occasionally, it’s great to pat yourself on the back.
  10. Remember that praise and criticism are the same: other people’s thoughts that shouldn’t sway your overall mission. (We tend to accept praise but loathe criticism. Learn to loathe it equally.)

Your Three Roles

  1. Whether or not you want to be, you are now in sales and customer service, along with whatever your main goal or drive might be.
  2. If you want your platform to succeed, you have to become comfortable with selling. Sell yourself. Sell your product. Whatever you’re looking to do, learn how to be open, clear, and honest with how you sell.
  3. Customer service (and use this term broadly) matters. If you’re selling something, serve those who are your customers. If you’re hoping to sell, realize that how you treat your prospects is how you should treat your customers.
  4. Marketing is part of sales. If you’re not finding ways to promote (humbly!) your ideas and your goals via your platform, you’ll not get the chance to have sales.
  5. Listening and responding are core to customer service. It’s amazing how many people miss opportunities simply by missing a reply. (Happens to me, often.)
  6. The old “ABC” from Glengarry Glen Ross was “Always Be Closing.” The new ABC is “Always Be Connecting.” Networks are what make selling easier. Your platform is part of how you network.
  7. Customer service also means sometimes learning who isn’t the best customer. It’s a tough moment when you have to let a customer go, but often times, this leads to improved success. (Tread cautiously here.)
  8. Most small businesses split their time in thirds: 1/3 prospecting, 1/3 executing, 1/3 serving your customers. That’s a good model for us, too.
  9. If you’re doing it right, all three roles complement each other. We buy from people we know. A platform helps with that. Serving the people you care about, your community, is just what comes with the territory.
  10. No matter how busy you are, if you’re not doing one of your three prime roles, you’re not working on your business or your platform.

Overnight Success

  1. Building a platform takes time. Years. But you have to start somewhere.
  2. Doing the work requires more time and effort than not doing it. Unemployment is also easier than working.
  3. No one ever hands you success. Even those stars you sneer at, saying “but they had ____” , really have to earn it.
  4. Success, as I define it, is the ability to choose how you spend your day, and a full belly.
  5. It takes a lot of “kitchen table” time to find ideas that can bring you success. But you need to test those ideas out at the “lemonade stand” to know whether they have any play in the marketplace. And ultimately, the beauty of this platform you’re building will be that it provides a “campfire” around which you can gather and further develop the community.
  6. There are very few successes in the world that happened as solo acts. You need a team, a network, and a lot of goodwill.
  7. Success doesn’t just show up. It comes in tiny molecules daily. If you didn’t work today on building success, how will it come to you tomorrow?
  8. Success is also about knowing what not to do, and what to cut out. Success is about stripping down to the core of what you can do for the world. This takes work.
  9. Never mistake popularity for success. There are plenty of popular people who still haven’t made it.
  10. Success never comes to those who don’t put in the work. If this seems like a lot of repetition, it’s because this one lesson is often skipped over.

What to Talk/Write About

  1. Write about your potential audience or buyer more than you write about yourself.
  2. Sometimes, the best posts or videos come from the frequently asked questions people have.
  3. Share more than just a few tiny tidbits. People know if you’re trying to lure them in deeper.
  4. Interviews make great content, but only if you ask great questions.
  5. Product and service demos can be interesting.
  6. Testimonials are good to talk about, but ESPECIALLY if you can highlight the hero, your customer, and not your product. Meaning, talk about a successful ____ customer, but don’t talk as much about the product as you do them.
  7. Personal posts can make for really great content. And by personal, I mean, connect people with who you are and what you are about outside of your professional role. What else are you into?
  8. Point out the great people in your community. Posts or interviews really make this happen.
  9. Deliver instruction. Teaching someone how to do something never goes out of style.
  10. Don’t forget to do the occasional series.

What to Avoid

  1. Any post bragging about how great you are is a wasted post. You want to feel proud, but it’s just hard for people to feel it with you, unless you’ve built the relationships first.
  2. Posts that are selling, but that are masked such that they don’t appear to be selling aren’t good business. If you’re going to sell something, be clear about it.
  3. Try never to say “you guys.” Address one person, a very important person.
  4. Try never to write about us and them.
  5. Want to wow people? Don’t write nasty posts about your competitors.
  6. Don’t worry about link-baiting. Worry about becoming a trusted and valuable resource.
  7. Before you blog or shoot video in anger, rethink whether it’s worth it.

In the end, it’s up to you. Yes, this will take work. No, this isn’t simple. Yes, there will be mistakes. But I feel that the world is shifting from simply “use of social networks” into “seeking of value.” This is some of the way you can attain that.

Originally written by Chris Brogan

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer.

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
  9. Throw in a few humans, like BenIBM, green_goddess, etc.
  10. Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. – Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
  6. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
  7. Twitter is just for technonerds.
  8. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  9. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  10. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
  2. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
  3. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  4. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  5. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  6. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
  7. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  8. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  9. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
  10. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

Thanks to Chris Brogan for this article

How social technologies are extending the organisation

The following article is my view on the best bits from the McKinsey Global Institute fifth annual survey. Full report can be found on my SlideShare.

Companies are realising that social technologies are changing the way clients interact. As a result they no MUST incorporate these to enhance and exploit opportunities. There are both opportunities to improve internal process’s and also to explore new markets.

Seventy two percent of respondents are deploying at least one technology and more than 40  percent are now incorporating blogs and networking tools.

86 percent of companies are in high tech and telecommunications.

Rising adoption rates

Adoption of social technologies across industries

Executives at internally networked organisations note the highest improvement in benefits from interactions from employees; those at externally networked organisations from interactions with customer, partners and suppliers.

Another key performance measure, self reported operating-margin improvements, correlated positively with the reported percentage of employees whose use of social technologies was integrated into their day-to-day work.

Looking Ahead

Senior executives should think strategically about how social technologies can support business processes. Integrating social technologies into the workflow and using them to optimise internal processes will provide additional competitive benefits

  • Don’t rest on your laurels: competition will increase as the adoption of social tools and
    technologies continues to rise and as progressive companies use them to improve their
    processes. Indeed, many companies we categorized as networked organizations last year
    slipped to a lower rung this year as the benefits their executives reported fell. Integrating
    Web technologies into the daily workflow, our results suggest, is the most effective way
    to maintain competitive position or become more networked.
  • Companies should prepare for more substantial disruptions. Since many executives believe that significant changes will occur as (or if) constraints on social tools and technologies are lifted, companies that can create change themselves—instead of reacting to it—are likely to benefit the most.

6 Things You Must Know About Social Media and Your Workforce

By Eric B. Meye

Cisco just completed this study, which shows just how much social media, device freedom, and mobile work means to the next generation.

Thinking about banning social media in the workplace? Before you flip the kill switch, read this:

More than half of students (55 percent) and an even larger proportion of end users (62 percent) indicate they could not live without the Internet; and one-third of respondents in each subgroup consider the Internet to be as important as water, food, air, and shelter.
Half of those surveyed would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smart phone or mobile device.
More than two out of five 20-somethings would accept a lower-paying job that offered more choices in the device they use at work, social media access, and mobility compared with a higher-paying job with less flexibility.

Can you handle a productivity hit?

So it would appear that your young workforce seemingly can’t live without a Facebook fix. But can you handle the productivity hit? Consider these numbers:

Nearly three quarters of your young college-educated workforce indicate accessing their Facebook page at least once a day or more frequently. 1 in 10 have their Facebook pages up all day.
Seven in ten young college-educated employees have friended a co-worker, manager, or both on Facebook.
Approximately 43 percent of college students admit being distracted or interrupted by social media, IM, phone, or a desire to check Facebook, at least three times per hour.

For a good summary of the Cisco survey, click on the infographic below or click here for a summary of these surprising numbers

.

Whatever your position on social media in the workplace, address it at the job interview.

The reality is that even if you restrict network access to social media, employees — young and old — are going to whip out their smartphones and hit up Facebook, Twitter and the Internet.
A question for the job interview

Obviously, each company has to decide for itself, whether employee use of social media is a good thing for business, a bad thing for business, or no thing at all. For those who consider it a bad thing, consider asking about social-media usage during the job interview. If you don’t bring it up, expect that college-grad candidate to broach the subject. The Cisco study indicates that two-thirds of college grads ask about social-media policies in job interviews.

When the topic of social media comes up, don’t ask candidates for their social-media logins and passwords to access to their private sites. That shows a complete lack of trust and, frankly, a candidate who takes precautions to protect what they post on the Internet from your eyes shows good judgment.

But, much like candidates will want to know whether Facebook at the office is feasible or firewalled, you should ask questions about the quantity — not quality — of social-media use. This will help you to determine whether these candidates, if hired, will devote more time in the office to work versus commenting on Facebook from work about workr

UK Retailers must prepare for mobile and social media Christmas rush

Sales driven by social media, and mobile retail are both set to play a bigger role in this year’s Christmas shopping season according to the IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Season Readiness Report.

Using data gathered from more than 150 contributing UK retailers, IBM predicts that mobile traffic as a percentage of all retail site visits will hit double figures by Christmas 2011, having grown from just over 4 per cent to 7.2 per cent between November 2010 and May 2011. In the same time period, the contribution of mobile as a per cent of all online site sales nearly doubled, from 3.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent, which suggests further growth for mobile as a sales channel is likely in the run-up to Christmas.

The benchmark also found that mobile users exhibit a trend for fewer page views (5.8 compared with an average of 8.4, across all means of going online), spend less time on websites (4 minutes and 13 seconds, versus 6 minutes and 24 seconds across all means of going online) and display higher bounce rates to other sites (39.6 per cent compared with 32.8 per cent).

“Despite the attractiveness of engaging with customers on the move, mobile brings with it unique considerations and challenges,” said Marcel Holsheimer, global marketing executive for Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) for IBM. “Using a mobile device to browse, compare prices, check availability and store locations or make a purchase is convenient for the consumer, which can translate into significant conversion opportunities – but only if the etailer delivers a compelling mobile experience. Etailers therefore need to monitor and optimise the mobile browsing experience to counteract mobile users’ tendency for short and erratic periods online.”

Social media contribution to retailer site traffic also grew consistently during the 7 months covered by the report.

From a social media perspective, users behave in a more efficient manner in terms of sales conversion. They are twice as likely to convert, at an average rate of 11 per cent versus 6 per cent overall. This conversion rate, when viewed in conjunction with other behaviour, also suggests social users are more receptive to offers. Their high bounce rate of nearly 62 per cent, coupled with a low average time spent  on the websites of just over 3 minutes, suggests they are responding to social media-only offers – such as Facebook coupons or exclusive offers advertised on Twitter.

“With the recession still very much front of mind, many savvy e-shopper are buying surgically,” said Holsheimer, “They know what they want and can hone in on it with far less browsing than in previous years. Smart etailers still have time to step up and expand their mobile and social networking platforms in time for this year’s festive season, as way to deepen engagement with their prized customers, strengthen their long-term loyalty – and, convert sales via the customer’s personal channel of choice.”

The IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Readiness Report is available to download in full here http://measure.coremetrics.com/corem/getform/reguk/holiday2011-wp

About IBM Coremetrics Benchmark

The findings in this press release is based on data collected by Coremetrics Benchmark between November 2010 and May 2011. Coremetrics Benchamrk captures online marketing results and commerce data from more than 150 contributing UK retailers.