Tag Twitter

Social business predictions part three

Reputation management will become a more recognised discipline around the board table

The more exposure the C-suite have to listening tools like Radian6, Sysomos, Onalytica et al, the more that CEOs will want to influence what they say. So-called ‘soft’ metrics are never going to have the clout of harder, ROI or savings-based metrics, but they will grow in importance.


Klout (and for that matter Peer Index and Kred) will have to fight even harder for credibility

Measuring influence is so totally dependent of the context, that the one-size-fits-all approach will be shown up. Just as it’s impossible to answer “what’s the most important newspaper” without knowing why the question is being asked, it’s also impossible to answer “who is the most influential person on Twitter?” without knowing why. That won’t stop loads of people peddling ridiculous ‘league tables’ of influence though.


Social media gurus will be found out. If they haven’t been already

They add no value. The people who will add value though, are the ones who can apply social tools to solve business-problems, ranging from cutting call-centre costs (by using more social channels) to increasing website conversions, or reducing staff-churn.

They are therefore likely to have more experience and a broader business perspective than one particular discipline. Already we’re seeing agencies like Dachis, Altimeter and Edelman blend these skills together. We like to think we do the same here.

In a really interesting post (and comments) Jay Bear suggests that PR agencies are not best placed to offer social business advice in this space. Perhaps unsurprisingly I disagree. For me, it’s the breadth of business experience (or capability) which is important, rather than the specific background of the consultant hired. And any PR consultant with a pedigree of crisis comms work can advise on operational/procedural change required to calm situations down…

But having said that – watch IBM as they start to make major inroads into the comms side of social business in 2012. The Lotusphere conference is a fascinating insight into what’s just around the corner – and proves that IBM have beaten both Facebook and Google to building enterprise social business tools.

Google+ will be 10 times better than it is now

After a bit of playing around with Google+ I thought a quick post was in order. Not a post about how good it is now – it’s not that good because brands aren’t yet on it, and people aren’t yet getting the most out of it – but a post about how good it’s going to be. And how big a threat to the corporate firewall.

Many people have been quick to fawn over the functionality of G+. Indeed, it takes the best bits of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Stumbleupon and search, and melds them all together in one product. A product that takes significant amounts of time to set up effectively. But a product which is built bottom up because it’s borne out of an organisation which has had more than it’s fair share of run ins with regulators – and unlike Facebook – has learned from them.

But we’ve yet to really see Google+’s real game-changing functionality. How it’s going to be tweaked and adapted for corporates.

Yes, Dell are already (although slightly illicitly) using G+’s video hangout functionality for customer service, and Ford have got the only authorised “test” corporate account, but most organisations, including thousands of frustrated Google Apps users like me, won’t be able to use G+ for a month or two yet as Google put the finishing touches to the product.

But when it is rolled out, here are a few predictions of how it will be adapted.

  • Social CRM will be baked in. The concept of circles is staggering in its simplicity. The ability to send different messages to different groups of people (from super-advocates or different cohorts of customers to prospective employees will soon become the centrepiece of many organisations’ Comms campaigns. It will certainly give email-based CRM programmes a run for their money.
  • Google Analytics will be baked in. Exactly the same tools which millions of web masters already rely on, will be embedded in a corporate-owned social network, providing instant read-across showing exactly which pieces of activity (paid search v social links) generate the best ROI. (Of course, in the short term this might harm Google, as people shift budget from search to social, but in the long term it keeps people on the Google-owned platforms).
  • Customer service via video hangouts will become second nature. It will be resource hungry, but effective.
  • Organisations will have to rewrite their social media guidelines. Facebook’s sharing functionality undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for generation Y’s increasing willingness to share, and despite Microsoft’s best intentions, Sharepoint just doesn’t cut it. G+ makes it so easy to share work things with colleagues and groups of colleagues via a non-firewall-protected message, that it’s going to be increasingly hard to stop people doing just that.
    • From an individual’s perspective – Why should I bother with email when I can use circles? That way everything I share will be relevant and nicely searchable.
    • From a company’s perspective – How can we get around the fact that employees will be distributing sensitive information via an organisation which makes its money from serving ads based on the keywords it sniffs as it distributes that information.
  • Google Plus will be wrapped up within Apps as a highly tempting solution for organisations. Building a firewall-protected version for corporations to deploy has to be on Google’s agenda, surely.

I could go on. But I won’t. Not here, anyway. But I will return to the subject in due course – if only to see how many (if any) of these predictions come true…