Social Business Sandy

BIZTECHBUZZ in the world of social, cognitive, IoT and startups

Month: April 2009

Jeremiah – Social Media Guru — At IMPACT 2009! Hear what’s on his mind!

Social Media Guru at IMPACT 2009!

I got to know Jeremiah at a Social Media thought leadership event in the Valley. He is truly a leader and visionary in this space. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremiah and wanted to share what he has planned for IMPACT 2009!

Sandy: How has the economic downturn changed the way people leverage social networking
Jeremiah: Our Technographics Research shows an increase in adoption of social tools from 2007-2008, in fact some pretty large jumps in behaviors. Basic common sense and logic tells us that social media usage for consumers will go up during a recession. Why? People will want to connect with others during crises, build personal brands, learn new skills by reading blogs. Also those who are in between jobs will have more time and certainly need to connect with others to find new job opportunities. Furthermore, we’ve found that 53% marketers have decided to increase their social media spend during a recession on social, however it’s important to note we’re not talking about sizable budget amounts, these are still small potato budgets –all things considered.

Sandy: Is social media superficial branding, or does it truly change the company?
Jeremiah: Sadly, many companies are slapping social features on their corporate websites or launching blogs –yet they are not walking the talk. Many brands don’t truly live an open an transparent workstyle, and as a result, customers see right through it. This research is telling, corporate blogs aren’t trusted by consumers.

Sandy: What is the biggest finding from the many interviews you’ve done with corporate social media teams, what’s the one trend you’re finding?
Jeremiah: Many companies are starting to get organized and are appointing key roles, such as the social media strategist and a handful of community managers. These specific roles, while often perform other traditional marketing tasks, are key to delivering true social media programs to the market. Why? Like all business programs, internal champions are still needed for success –especially new mediums

Sandy: On a lighter note, what’s your take on the Ashton Kutcher @aplusk and CNN @cnnbrk race to 1 million followers?
Jeremiah: While silly and trivial, this is a true milestone that Twitter and other social tools are about to go mainstream with media coverage. This however, doesn’t suggest they are mainstream tools, as they don’t have mainstream adoption.

Sandy: How do you feel about celebrities using Twitter? Oprah has 92,000 followers before she ever posted 1 tweet, are celebrities changing the way Twitter is being used and any lessons to be learnt by companies?
Jeremiah: Expect celebrities to monetize this microblogging tool far faster than Twitter themselves. They will extend this tool to help their sponsors reach new audiences, pimp their own shows and content, and use it to broadcast content. Most celebrities won’t understand the true dialog opportunities and will use it like their other tools –broadcast. As a result, early adopters of Twitter will move on, and create a new community that hasn’t become saturated.

Sandy: You will be at IBM IMPACT in Vegas next month talking about the importance of social networking for today’s commerce opportunities. Would love to get a sneak preview on this session.
Jeremiah: Social Network adoption is one of the highest participated social activities by consumers –as a result, brands want to be there. In my session we’ll talk about what works, and what doesn’t. I’ll have some practical examples and best practices, and will make it interactive. I hope folks show up, and Tweeting is certainly encouraged!

Gang, come and see us at IMPACT. We have some great social media adventures planned like blogger box seats, Paint your Facebook, and more! Sign Up Here!

P.S. As everyone knows, Jeremiah’s puppy is famous and no blog would be complete without a picture!

Social Media Tools for Partners!

Check this one out!

IBM to help SOA partners with SEO, social net tools
By Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director
14 Apr 2009 |

IBM is amping up its partner effort around service oriented architectures with new social networking tools, search engine optimization help and other resources.

An IBM executive said the move is driven by the company’s need to help partners get more self-sufficient and profitable in a tough economy.

The offerings, to launch officially next month at the company’s IMPACT 2009 conference, include tools to help partners make their web sites more findable via search engine optimization (SEO).

“The number one thing for [partners] is the ability to generate their own leads, identify opportunities and to do it cost effectively,” Sandy Carter, IBM’s vice president of service oriented architecture (SOA) and WebSphere told

IBM will train partners in the niceties of search engine optimization to help them generate more traffic to their websites and make their services and products more easily found on the Web. “If you look at [return on investment] for any social media, the number one ROI thing to do is optimizing your pages for search. was one of the first groups to figure out the algorithms for this and we will share our best practices with partners,” Carter said.

IBM created a tool that it uses to look at its own site meta data, headers, summaries, images and monitor readability and has reaped the benefits, Carter said. “It checks how many Google crawls you get, the rate and traffic rating. It’s a really nice analysis tool.”
SEO is indeed critical to partners, said Devi Gupta, vice president of marketing for Prolifics, a New York City-based IBM software partner.
Prolifics hired an SEO optimization consultant last year but did not renew the contract, Gupta said. “We felt we needed to take another look at our web site and rethink our strategy. IBM is providing this benefit that will makes it effective to jump back in using their recommendations. My understanding is this tool will take your keywords, go through your site and meta tags and evaluate it.”
Good SEO is very measurable and tools to help us do it better are very valuable, Gupta said.

Better business by social networkingIBM is trying to more deeply entrench its WebSphere middleware and other software in SOAs and public and private clouds.

An IBM-built and maintained Virtual Forum will replicate the virtual reality aspects of Second Life but tailor them for SOA professionals, Carter said. “This is not just a web cast but a Second Life type version — fully contained. You can do keynotes, breakouts, partners can have demo booths.” IBM partners Prolifics and Sirius Computer Solutions have already worked with in the forum, she said.
In the past few years, IBM, like many tech companies, put a lot of effort into Second Life presence. The problem was business usage did not live up to the hype. Carter admitted that it hadn’t taken off as expected although IBM still maintains a few islands for educational purposes. The new Virtual Forum will weed out distractions and focus on SOA-related business

Other deliverables will be live social media training sessions in New York City, London, San Francisco and other locations to help partners get the most out of existing social networking tools — FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.IBM trainers will show partners how to “paint” their Facebook page, optimizing it for business use IBM will also host an online business catalog to give partners and customers access to SOA-related resources.

IBM expects several thousand partners to attend the Las Vegas event in May. There it will continue to educate them on the new certification requirements for software partners that have raised hackles among some IBM partners. Under the new Growth Through Skills partners wanting to sell the company’s software, must get two technical certifications plus one sales certification for each of 14 different product lines that they want to resell.

Dressing up Social Media. Check them out @ IBM IMPACT 2009

My Virtual Model enables consumers to “try on” clothes online and this is a business model after my own heart! For companies, using My Virtual Model technology improves their bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues while cutting costs. As an IBM SOA business partner, MVM will be at IMPACT 2009.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise Guay, the MVM co-founder and wanted to share her insight!

Sandy: This year will be your first trip to IMPACT! What are you most looking forward to?
Louise: I hope that I will have the chance to share our experience of social centrality and target advertising with the participants. The moneytisation of the social shopping and networking is “le sujet de l’heure” and we have an experience conducive to it! We can provide in the core of the shopping experience of merchants a usage of social media (Show me me how people like me wear this product!) and how the users can buy the entire look with a buy all button. Once the users register their profiles (their 3D models of themselves with a picture of their faces), ads can be targeted to them via banners or in emails or when they make their model appear on a product page. We have also an amazing network driving new clients to our merchant clients.

Sandy: I know that My Virtual Model has incorporated Social Media within the online shopping experience for Sears, Cosmopolitan and others. What is the reaction from customers and users?
Louise: Merchants are anxious to make a sound usage of social media. From a merchant perspective these times command a strong metrics oriented results, we also know that users trust more and more their peers comments. Imagine if they can see their peers wearing what they like and would wear also. They can choose seeing it on similar peers body types or same ethnicity or any physical affinity they have with peers! It influences their purchases and drives strong recommendations. It is an effective outfitting approach. Publishers want to go from mass media to personalized media. My Virtual Model brings each and everyone of their readers to literally try on their fashion picks and hints and all the trends presented regularly in their magazines.

Users are more and more visual and very involved in the process. They already rate products. If they can see the products on themselves and on others people similar to them it has a direct impact on their decision to purchase. It boosts their confidence in their styles, their looks and their tastes and preferences. Confirmed in their personalities they feel good to go and get what makes them look great. When we install our product on a publisher/media site like Cosmopolitan, users read fashion tips and trends and are always wandering what it will look like on them and where can they get it? These questions are answered by the virtual models of the users and the comments of other users on their models.

Sandy: What are some of the more popular elements of social media that users have really loved within the new My Virtual Model experience?
Louise: Users enjoy discovering their personal styles. They also develop friendships, affinities of interests and support the efforts of others. Many great talents appear and are encouraged by the Community. Users love to create looks, publish them on their public page and get rated by other users. They also appear in the most recent and popular looks of the Community and rate other users looks. They love to click the “Try On Outfit” button and wear on their model an outfit created by another user. It is a great way to shop and buy outfits. It is quick and highly efficient. They love to describe their looks and tell a story about their looks. They also love to see how each item of their looks is worn by other users utilizing the feature “More looks featuring this item “

Sandy: Why did you choose to base this on WebSphere Commerce?
Louise: WebSphere is well know for it’s foundational excellence and architecture of openness to integrate 3rd party applications that are user centric. By choosing WebSphere we were able to concentrate on what we do best, and leverage a powerful and robust ecommerce platform to create an innovative and solid shopping experience.
This is exciting and thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights! I am looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month @IBM IMPACT 2009

Messaging with the boss much? You should be!

From Business Week

Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (NYSE:IBM – News) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The research, released this week, even assigns a dollar value to e-mail interaction with an employee’s managers. Among the group studied, several thousand consultants at IBM, those with strong links to a manager produced an average of $588 of revenue per month over the norm.

The results represent an early attempt to understand the value of the broadening variety of personal connections afforded by the Web. Users of social media rack up LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers by the hundreds, if not thousands. But figuring out how big a difference all those contacts make in a person’s life, financial or otherwise, is a far murkier matter.

[The article goes on … ]

The actual study is here …