Why B2B Businesses Should Leverage the Potential of Social Media in 2013

There is nothing better than facts and figures to get an idea about the immense potential of social media and how B2B marketers are tapping into its potential. This B2B social media infographic from Real Business Rescue lays out the case as to why B2B companies should be leveraging the opportunities that social media and social networking offer.

Are you using social media in your sales strategy? What works for you? Which platform yields the best results?

Ben Martin

Why it pays to be a patient blogger

Focus on creating the best possible content. Insanely great content.

When you get a reader, love them like crazy.

Help others, Support other new bloggers.

Take risks. Try it and see what happens.

Handle criticism with grace. It’s a sign of success. A reason to smile, in fact.

Be yourself. Really yourself. That’s your competitive advantage.

Be consistent. Just keep writing.

Have the courage to hit that publish button, even when you know it’s not perfect.

And yes … be patient. It will happen. It will happen. It will happen.

via Why it pays to be a patient blogger. by @markwschaefer

 

Have you or are you wanting to start blogging? What advice would you like?

What are the 10 Secret Benefits of Blogging? via @Jeffbullas

What are the 10 Secret Benefits of Blogging? | Jeffbullas’s Blog.

This is a fantastic read. I am never let down when I take time out to read one of Jeff’s posts.

Get the best of these ten benefits by reading the post in full.

1) You will become a better writer – Getting there slowly

2) Your video skills will improve – I havent tried this one yet

3) You will learn – For me I learn something new everyday!

4) Visibility – People will hear about you – Long term plan eh!

5) Expert status – Sounds so pompus, much prefer to be know as an explorer

6) Become a champion researcher – ties in well with learning

7) Power Networker – I enjoy connecting and chatting with people

8) Your memory will improve – its like a sieve at the moment!

9) Your creativity will increase – ive taken up knitting! (joke)

10) Synergizes and Synthesizes focus

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