Next Generation Social Media: Aligning Business Processes to Social Intelligence – Part 1

The topic of social media is going through a major hype. There is so much buzz around social tools that everyone wants to be a part of this bandwagon. As enterprises try to catch up with the buzz, many companies are starting to realize that it is difficult to define tangible business outcomes around social media investments.  Moving beyond basic marketing and brand awareness through social media is becoming a challenge. Recently we have started seeing some focus on social intelligence and social analytics, which are helping companies, move one step closer to defining a goal-oriented strategy around social media.

Social Analytics & Internal Processes

An article published in BusinessWeek (Dated 25 October 2010 titled “Wanted: Social Media Sifters”) covers this topic in some detail. Companies such Coca Cola, Kraft Foods and Procter and Gamble are now employing social media analytics firms to sift through all the chatter and derive meaningful information that can help them define their marketing and branding strategies. Social intelligence is opening doors for more personalized marketing. According to a study by eMarketer, US advertisers will be spending about USD 2 Billion on social media next year – an increase of 24% over the current year.

The next wave in social media investments is directed towards an enterprise’s ability to participate in social media interactions, analyze the data that is generated through social  media sites and taking real time actions that govern the product, marketing, distribution and pricing processes.

If we can tie the business processes that govern marketing, product engineering, customer service and innovation to the data that gets generated through social media websites, we can start getting a better handle on the social media investments through the returns measured in terms of KPI’s.

A recent blog post by Anne Stuart titled “Getting started with Social BPM” touches on the topic of Social BPM and how collaborative processes can be influenced through social media.  Why is it so difficult to connect the two worlds of social media and BPM? One simple reason is that social media and related information is so dynamic that you cannot derive a pattern out of it. Whereas BPM initiatives are built around repetitive processes that have a finite start and end point resulting in a business outcome.

Social Media Landscape – Demography

Nearly 10% of the global population are Facebook subscribers and the count is increasing by the day. This fact signifies the reach and influence of just one social tool. There are different target segments subscribing to tools such as blogs, wikis, Youtube, Linkedin and other tools. A recent article by Nielsen on “Introducing Generation C: The Connected Collective Consumer” From Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Indonesia conference, is very insightful.  Key excerpts from this presentation are “Gen C is not a target audience but a community of digital natives that will partner with brands. To successfully market to Gen C consumers, brands must create fresh, cultural capital for Gen C to talk abouta process which also gives them “status” within their cohorts or “tribes” and social networks. According to Nielsen, Gen C is characterized by the following traits:

  • Tribal behavior – form their identities by belonging and expressing themselves within “tribes”
  • Social status derived by what you share – gain credibility by expressing opinions, sharing ideas, observations and thoughts
  • Bee-like swarm behavior – mobilize as one with their tribes like bees around topics that interest them
  • Social oxygen – Mobile devices have become “social oxygen”, enabling them to connect, create and share opinions and thoughts with their tribes
  • Continuous partial attention – As experts at managing content and information, they engage in never-ending conversations, constantly “livestreaming” their experiences to the world
  • Chameleons – Gen C consumers are “chameleons”, constantly changing and morphing their identities to simultaneously belong to as many different tribes as possible
  • Co-creators – The social web has brought out “democratization of creativity”

The collaboration between social media tools and mobile operators and app developers is strongly influencing the adoption rate of social media across the globe. Stay tuned, as we discuss in our next post on how the convergence of social media and mobility is creating a powerful wave which organizations cannot afford to ignore.

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