Social Business Sandy

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

Month: July 2009 (page 1 of 2)

A new type of community! Introducing BlueWorks!


Communities and social networks are being used more and more by companies to assist their clients on targetted areas.

Yesterday, we continued our work in Social media focusing on a community experience (based on our technology and Cloud) for business users working with their processes.

BlueWorks delivers a community to business users with a set of tools that showcase industry content of best practice processes. For instance, what is the best practice process for opening a new account or gift registry.

Business leaders can begin capturing their strategic intent and link it to their capabilities to ensure that they have the key resources within their organization.

One of the keys to a great community is value that is brought to them.   It is The key thing is that there are over 2000 helpful items for the community from papers, podcasts, webcasts, demos, capability maps, and process maps.  One of the most value one is over 800 Key Performance Indictors from the industry standard body called AQPC.

Try it out!  Tell me what you think!


Update on Gaming in the Social World!


Innvo8 2.0:  Serious Social Gaming

Innvo8 2.0: Serious Social Gaming



We talked about using gaming to train and drive demand in the new world. 

 We piloted an Innov8 gaming strategy (see this post! and have now gone to Innvo8 2.0!   I wanted to share the updates & progress with you on our great IBM gamer Phaedra Boinodiris!

Web Traffic/Metrics

  • Traffic has doubled  since May!   Thousands are playing per week
  • >75% avg clickthrough of eNurture emails (avg in industry is 25%)
  • Over 3.5M gamers used the Proactive LivePerson chat offering more information from the game on our products — an 4000% &  uptick in the use of the tool.

Usage Beyond Web

  • Our Serious Game is now in Widespread use in our Briefing Centers Worldwide
  • Innov8 2.0 is featured in our lobbies
  • We also have heavy standalone usage by our enablement teams in many geos
  • Many of our events feature a Gaming Competition!

I am sold on Serious Gaming.  What are your thoughts?

We wanted to take the serious game and take it outside the web as well.   

BlogHer – My Top 10 as a First Timer!

My first time at BlogHer!

I had the great pleasure to attend BlogHer for the first time this year. How did I get to attend? A perfect storm really. 3 things happened that allowed me to attend: first, a customer had asked me to support them in their session and to talk about how my book on social media helped them with their strategy, second, I spoke with Charlene Li at the WITI conference and she knew the founders and secured me a ticket and then finally, I was asked to speak on how to leverage social media as the only real IBM presence at the conference.

So what is BlogHer?
I pulled this from the BlogHer site. It was founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online and creates opportunities for its members via a community hub (, annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency

The Top 10 Ah Ha’s
1. The Business BlogHer had a lot of great case studies. While not sold out on the business side, I found the case studies innovative and best practices. I have blogged on the specific case studies that I heard … Allstate, Tropicana, Pepsi, Sprint, Coach and many others.

2. Lots of Geek Labs – Hands on! I love the hands on labs. You could set up a new blog here with step by step instructions to learning HTML and PHP.

3. Networking The conference was setup to network. They did speeddating in a new and innovative way, and arranged the sessions and breaks to stimulate discussion.

4. Community keynote I attend a lot of corporate events and shows. Usually the keynoter is the CEO or GM in charge of the work. While powerful, I have not experienced a more moving and powerful keynote that BlogHer did on Friday night. It was a community keynote where bloggers were selected to read their blog entries. It was amazing. I am glad someone who had been here before told me to make sure I didn’t miss it!

5. Swag. Again, going to CeBit or GiTex is an experience and everyone gives away their toys. But I have never seen the swag that was at BlogHer. From products, to free services on site, to designer scarfs, and vendors printers, servers, and phones. If you come, be prepared. This shows me that the vendors view this show as an important way to reach the tippers. One of our competitors was here for Small Business and I saw the bump in blogs on their products in the GB space go up 3x over the last 3 days.

6. Panels. Most of the sessions here were in a set of tracks on Geek Labs, Business, Leadership, Room of your own, Identity and Passions. But most of the sessions were panels. If you don’t learn this way, it may not be the way for you!

7. Q&A’s are LONG! Another culture here at BlogHer is to learn from a Q&A session. The sessions here are meant for learning not gaining exposure. I would say that in the sessions over 1/2 the time was spent answering questions from the audience.

8. Amazing Women in New Media. The BlogHer team brought out the stars. From Lisa Stone to GM of CBS, to Donna Bryne, etc. This is the place for the new adventurers in the social media world!

9. Purpose I was truly impressed by the purpose that I felt from all these women and men. These guys, while looking to monetize, are truly dedicated to their mission. I heard about blogs on the homeless, soberity, raising disabled kids, traveling, shyness, and the list goes on. Everyone I met loved what they blogged on. A great lesson in you do more of what you love — for employers getting people into the right roles.

10. Fun I loved it. It was energeric, and fun. It energized me and showed me that one with a purpose can accomplish more than you can imagine! There were over 1999 parties. That’s right.. suites to teach photography, small busines skills, word of mouth marketing, silk screening, etc.

Next Year:
Next year the conference will be in NYC in August. Will I go? Absolutely.

The Future – Generation C
This is the future. Everything is going online. 53% of women WW are online. Generation C — which I have defined as the next generation who wants to co create, collaboration, and use their creavitiy. They are going to be around for a while. Join the exploration and see what works for you!

BlogHer Keynote — A Group of Self Taught Geeks who are doing amazing things!


The keynote kicked off in Chicago with an amazing group of women!  BlogHer was totally sold out!  In today’s world of travel cut backs, and reduced expenses this is amazing to see over 2K women!

Some of the key points:

  • Women are the majority of internet usage now – 53%
  • Women who are on the internet trust the internet information more than other sources
  • Women Online – Frugalistas and Hard News Junkies.   The tops are those on frugal shopping and politics (the Obama/Clinton campaign took the number of women politics blogs went from 300 to over 2000!)
  • Strongest social users are those who blog.
  • The Economist – The Story of Women Online!  Lisa discussed her decision to leave CNN and start BlogHer.  An amazing insightful decision!
  • BlogHer is about the people!   Velveteen Mind

There are multiple tracks!!!

Business of blogging, Geek Labs, Leadership, Passions, and room of your own!  Oh, also the Mommy bloggers too.

Every major company is here…..Microsoft, HP, Sprint, etc.


Coach — Crowd Sourcing with Social Media – Know of anyother great examples?

The Coach team crowd sourced its product development of a Tote while holding onto to their brand.  I heard from Vanessa Flaherty, Jamie Dicken, and Stephanie Rohlfs on Coach at BlogHer!



A Simple, crowd sourced campaign.

Coach wanted to reach a new and younger market. They wanted to engage the younger generation in a new way. They wanted the consumer to put their DNA onto the next bag. They launch a “design the next Coach tote” contest. It was a completely viral campaign. They received 3200 entries in less than 6 weeks.

People were spending the whole night on designing bags. They replaced focus groups with the natural language. They were about the distribution not the destination. They wanted everyone to use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. It traveled across 8000 URLs in 6 weeks.

BrickFish’s Viral Map:

Key bloggers wrote about the contest. There were over 30 blogs that constantly commented on it . The image was that Coach Cared about what their clients wanted. Brickfish Tracked a viral map of each entry and where all the interactions happened with the brand.

They generated over 6M customer images over 6 weeks! On average people spent 7 minutes on the site and each person influenced over 1,729 people with the viralness of the campaign.

Coach was brave in the way they allowed people interacted with the brand. They ended up on the front page of Google.

They sold out this bag in all stores (small runs!) and the designer’s name is inside the bag itself!

Is this long lasting?

Is this novelty or long lasting? I think that people like to co create. We are now in the Generation C world. Generation C is different than the baby boomers, and gen x. Generation C wants to co create, collaborate, etc. I think this will become more important important in fact, perhaps being the primary form of product development.Others doing this?

Do you know of other co creation case studies?

  • IBM with development of its WebSphere sMash product.
  • NFL football on their advertising.
  • aDiasas on their viral campaign with University students
  • WD40 on their work on a product for women.

Check it out here!

BlogHer — Fiskar’s Use of Fiskateers!!! Great social networking case study!

Fiskars! 360 year old brad is the second case study at BlogHer. Three talented women spoke: Angela Daniels,
Carrie Woodward, and Suzanne Fanning

How did social media start at Fiskars? They started with what do people think of when they think of the brand Fiskars. They wanted to build an emotional bond with Fiskars.

They decided to go after the passion about scrapebooking and sharing their lives. Fiskars used Brains on Fire to find 5 people that are passionate about scrapebooking. It was kind of like like American Idol!

They found 5 top women and brought them up to Fiskar to teach them about Fiskar’s products. They met with all the key folks there and they were able to “play” with the materials for scraping! We got to see our business through their eyes. These women were so excited to see the building, the development, and it was that moment of seeing their excitement that I knew we had done the right thing!

Now, they paid their advocates because of the amount of time they would spend on this project of blogging about the Fiskars products. They paid them for 20 hours, but they loved it so much they did more than 80 hours. They were clear in their disclosure on the blog itself. They are not paid to positively blog about the company. They are paid to plan contests, crafts, and projects.

Interesting point to this case study. They created Fiskar- Teers! They gave these cool and different scissors — so that even when someone didn’t want to talk about the Social Network and Blogs on Fiskar, people would ask…where did you get those scissors? (Note over 60K comments about the coolness of the scissors!!)

The Fiskateer site launched in 2006! They wanted 200 people to talk about their products. They had 200 within the first 24 hours. 1100 by the end of 2006 and today they have over 6417 active Fiskateers — 70 countries and all 50 States!!!

Gallery of pictures gets 11K comments, and 7K uploads of pictures of the work itself.

Fiskar increased their brand image a lot! 600x mentions in other sites outside their own site!!! WOW!

Fiskar started this as a PR action. However, now they use the information in product development, marketing, and service and support.

Another great case study! Stores that had Fiskar participants had 3x the sales for the company!!

They are using as well in some of their other areas. Examples included teacher community but not a special group.

Their best advice…they did this from the grassroots effort. They did a countdown to the FiskarTeer launch! They had 24K visits in the first day! What did they do to get people there? They did a grass roots effort. They reached out to those who were excited about their program.

BlogHer Update! Best practice! AllState’s Lizzie Schreier

Lizzie from AllState

Lizzie from AllState

I am here in Chicago using to Blogging Best practices in 5 Case studies!
Here is case study #1! AllState!

My key take aways
1) Issues in regulated industries. Discussion of liability if someone takes advice from a Allstate message board. Seek advice from legal in these industries.
2) Have a strategy – don’t just “do social media”
3) Advise with others need to “approve” social media stategy. Her example was with legal:
a) First educate them on what social media is
b) Do your homework — know your facts. For instance, Lizzie from AllState went in with guidelines she wanted based on Farmer’s Insurance etc.
c) Show it don’t just tell it. Lizzie showed legal other message boards.
d) Prove, communicate, enhance, and repeat. Update the team!
3) Communications to the entire company — not just marketing is critcial!
4) Take baby steps, and then move forward to next strategy when success in one!
5) Track the results.
6) Lizzie leveraged resource from Blogging Council.

Some cool questions:
a) What’s your resource? One person.
b) What’s your next step beyond the message blog? Texting Tessa! Twitter and Gaming!
c) What are your results? Lizzie gave conversion rates of 50% plus to buy insurance! Online closure is moving higher.
d) How did you start ? They did no internal work first, they went to message board first.
e) How is the overall outlook in the company now? Yes, almost too much so. We do not want to go overboard. We are still an insurance company and we need to do many critical things in traditional ways.
f) What has this progressed? We have an internal board now to share best practices.
g) How do you quantify success? We measure acquisition of new customers and conversion in all tactics. Other groups in AllState are looking at it based on their stategy in terms of brand and loyalty.
h) Do you allow other companies to come in and share best practices? Not yet but I have used Walmart internally to move faster inside Allstate.

Bottom line to me is that regulated industries can use social media like Lizzie did and use her collaborative techniques to gain buyin throughout her company!

From BlogHer’s New Social Media study!

I am in Chicago at the Blogher conference, speaking and meeting with customers and partners!

They shared their latest social media study. Some interesting facts!

* 43M women read/write blogs (from from 35M last year)
* Time shift to social media continues. Women using social media use between 20-40% less TV, papers, etc.
* 75% of women online and using social media use blogging as a tool.
* Bloggers are the most prolific social media users.
* Bloggers perceive themselves as tech savvy, tippers, influencers, and experts. They crave that cross influence.
* Bloggers consider online relationships equal to those offline! Wow!
* Bloggers are twice as likely to turn to their social media source for information.
* 78% are considering their purchases more carefully.
* 25% buy more from companies they “know”

The bottom line is that blogging is growing in importance in influence, size, and fun!

Kaui features Jagged Coast

There is a 15 mile coast in Kaui known as the Na Pali coast!

Much of it is inaccessible due to its sheer cliffs that drop straight down, 1000s of feet into the ocean. But it is beautiful! I went to view it in a helicopter and in a boat to get both views. You can also hike there but they say it is hard but it is well worth the trip!

So, how does this relate to Social Media? The reason people come here is the breathtaking view and the jagged coast. It is not because of smooth lines, and no issues. No, it is because of the balance in edginess and somewhat in the exclusivity in viewing.

This is why I believe that communities that are private or invitation only are going to be the big hit. As Jimmy Wales said “Communities can build amazing things, but you have to be part of that community and you can’t abuse them. You have to be very respectful of what their needs are.”

Think about how many open communities are out there and how much time you have. It is tough to join the many that exist out there today. But communities that are restrictive — like Harley Davidson who has a huge online and offline community but you have to have a VIN number to get in! Or Adobe’s biomedical community that is invitation only. Or even our IBM Software Partner community in LinkedIn that is by acceptance only.

It changes the game. I believe that creating great communities involves a few key points: (taken from “The New Language of Marketing 2.0):

Key elements of the Community
In order to build a B2B Community you need to meet these three key goals:
1. Build an understanding of the needs of the Community and an in-depth understanding of which of those needs are provided by existing organisations and how this Community could provide additional facilities, information and interaction to make it a viable entity
2. Develop a trusted environment; this can be built by engaging with a senior level group of individuals to form the core of the Community
3. Work with the core group to begin to deliver the essential content that will draw members into the Community.

Best practices:
1. It Has to Be Their Community – Not Yours
a. It needs to be independent – there is a massive difference between a company x user group and a Community sponsored by company x.
b. It should have an independent chair recruited from the ranks of the Community who is enabled to run the Community
c. Topics, discussions, etc within the Community must be driven by the members
2. You Need to Answer Their Needs – Not Yours
a. It has to provide the information they want – not the information you want to give them
b. It’s not about your products or services, it’s about building true business intelligence about your Community
3. It Must Be a ‘Trusted’ Environment
a. It must be a trusted environment a place where they feel comfortable they can share their issues with their peers in a closed environment – most high level B2B communities are very restrictive on press and vendor access.
4. B2B Communities Are about People not Technology
a. One of the key differences between B2B and B2C communities are that B2B communities need to be driven, they don’t tend to grow by osmosis so they need dedicated people interacting with the community creating content making sure new things are happening answering members needs etc.
b. Don’t get hung up on technology – yes the platform is important but a Community with poorer technology driven by the right people with drive and empathy for the Community will always be more successful than a community that is dependent on technology alone.

B2B Communities Succeed Because They Do a Number of Things:

1. The Community Empowers the Members
The Community must be run by the members to deliver the services they want.
2. They Give the Members What They Want
Above all, the compelling content will draw members into the Community.
3. They Have Passion
The Community manager needs to develop with the Community a content schedule, conferences, events, panels, webinars, surveys, polls etc. both online and offline that cover the most important issues and generate the passion for the subject matter, the debate and as a result the Community.
4. They Are For People Like Me
Our experience runs counter to the web myth that you should make it as easy as possible to join. In our experience members respect having to qualify and the fact that not everyone can join. In most of the communities in which we are involved over 30 per cent of applications to join are turned down.

This is essential. It says to the Community: ‘This is your group, it is for people like you, and when you join a significant part of the value is that only senior executives like you can take part’. Community members want to be assured they are with people like them.

5. The Community Allows Members to Collaborate
One of the key benefits to members of the Community is the ability to collaborate in two key ways:
1. To resolve common issues. Typically the core group will decide on a monthly basis what the key issues are affecting the Community and ask small groups of people from within the group to collaborate to produce white papers addressing these issues.
In this way all the group members benefit. Not only do members receive help from like-minded executives in other organisations to address the issue most pressing for them but they also receive the benefits of all the other whitepapers addressing key issues that are or probably will affect them. Because of this their productivity is massively enhanced and their perceived ability in their own organisation increases dramatically.
2. To build business together, certain communities benefit enormously from the fact that the community gives them the opportunity and technology to enable them to discover and work in collaboration with other members of the community.
3. Social networking (though in a very restricted way) is another very important element in the success of a B2B community.

Communities Must Offer Multiple Ways to Interact
There is no such thing as an online Community. Very quickly as the group forms they will want to interact in multiple ways both online and offline and it is essential to the success of the Community that this interaction is both enabled and encouraged. The Community must therefore offer multiple ways to interact. So while the on-line element is the ‘glue’ that sticks it all together, B2B communities are based on trust and trust only comes following face to face engagement – so regular meetings and events are vital to the success of a B2B community.

What do you think it takes to drive a great community?

IDC on Social Media!!!

Well– you can’t go too far these days without reading or hearing about Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Facebook, or blogs, and the list goes on.

And it’s fun it seems. But is it for business use? Or is this all a big waste of time?

I’d argue that it’s worth looking at – but there has to be a business case on the use of each.

Let’s have a look at some very recent survey results about how solution providers (VARs, RSIs, ISVs) are using Web 2.0 sites and technologies for business use – both today, and what their plans are in the future. Current Use is in Yellow. Planned Use is in Red. IDC split up the responses so that they were either in Currently using, future using, or neither.

LinkedIn , for networking use has the most users at over 50% of all those surveyed. This makes sense. LinkedIn has become very pervasive in the last few years.

Not for business use in this case – but a good benchmark – is the use of Facebook for personal reasons. Almost 40% of solution providers were using Facebook for personal reasons.

Something that IDC finds is very useful is LinkedIn Groups. A new piece of functionality within LinkedIn that allows people to participate in communities of interest.

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