Social Business Sandy

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

Month: April 2010

SocialStar Digest #4! Steve Lazarus dishes on Impact and Social Media!


Here’s our next SocialStar Digest and the readership is continuing to go up!  I’d like to highlight Steve Lazarus and the great social media best practices at IBM’s IMPACT conference!

Steve, welcome and tell us a bit about your role and when IMPACT 2010 is!  Currently my role is Lead Strategist, Social Media & Interactive for SOA, BPM, Smart Work and WebSphere Software for IBM. Social media is a very important part of our success and adds tremendous value to our events. By building out and engaging with our communities around these topic areas, we are able to help connect Business Partners, Customers and IBMers and enable allow them to participate and share information through various communities.

This year IBM Impact is May 2-7, 2010 at the Venetian in Las Vegas, NV.

Steve, as you know, I love the IMPACT conference — partially due to the power of Social Media used there!  Can you provide us some factoids from last year?   I know you guys really blew it away!

Initially, IBM’s Impact 2009 faced multiple challenges:  1) the global recession discouraged many clients from attending events;  2) swine flu hit the wire the week prior to the event, making the U.S. potentially a dangerous destination. Even against those odds we had:

Over 5,000 attendees from 50 countries registered thru Impact site Bloggers community efforts catapulted the buzz w/@SmartSOA followers increasing 2.5X.  A 72-hr Twitter & Linked in promo secured additional registrants.

Attendees energized the event thru 700+ tweets over 4 days.  Client speakers enjoyed instant feedback on their presentations from Twitter, & its ability to interact w/audience in real time. One on-site brief alone generated 10 unique blog post & 130 tweets (90% positive).

Social Networking sessions at Impact ranked among the best attended.  150 participants competed in the Social Media game. Clients, analysts & press networked at 3 Tweet Ups. Blogference produced 3+ favorable articles on event’s social media usage. And a client’s visit to the Social Media ped helped seal a $100K deal. 

1,200+ views of our Smart Work client & partner videos, energizing regional lead generating events.  Major insurance companies selected Innov8 to emulate Farmers’ success announced at Impact & promoted via social media.  

Can you tell me about the top 3 new social media areas you guys are driving for 2010?

The first is our newly launched social media aggregator ‘Social at Impact 2010’ ( If you want to know what people are saying about IBM Impact 2010 when they’re saying it, there’s an easy way to find out. In one easy-to-navigate site, users can find anything and everything attendees are blogging, tweeting and posting about IBM Impact 2010. And because the site filters out the noise of unrelated posts, users will find just what they need without the distractions. Some of the features include: all tweets using our event hashtag #ibmimpact, blog posts, pictures and videos from the event, and trending topics. This tool also helps facilitates networking by allowing users to register their social profiles and blog feeds, allowing users to connect with them through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and more through this tool. (More features like reply, retweet and share will be live 4/30)

We also just launched our new Impact event blog ( where we will be blogging and posting information before, during and after the event. We have interviews with Business Partners and Customers, official news and announcements from Impact and will also have guests live-blogging from Impact.

And the third major initiative is our communities. We have now launched both internal and external bloggers communities where we identify and invite bloggers to quarterly ‘invite-only’ calls with our IBM execs to talk about news and announcements, upcoming products, and other happenings in the social media space. (If you are an IBMer or external blogger, please contact or @slazarus for more information on how you can be involved)

What’s your favorite social media highlight from your work?

It is hard to pick just one, so I will settle on two, one from Impact and one more recent. The first is the launch of our new event aggregator, Social at Impact 2010 ( This is a great way for us to showcase all of the great voices of IBMers and bloggers around the event. We talk about networking at events and now with social media, this tool allows us to help facilitate those relationships and help showcase all of the great conversations around these topics. It is not just about blogging and tweeting, but having insightful conversations around important topics, which in the end allows individuals to make better business decisions.

The second was from Impact last year. It was such a great experience to speak with all of the Business Partners and customers and hear how they are using social media today and how they can be better connected with customers and IBMers. We were also sharing with them all of the ways they could engage with us through various social communities, i.e. Twitter, DeveloperWorks, etc. After the event had ended, one of our sales reps reached out to me and told me that because of those conversations, they had closed a new deal and the number 1 reason for that deal was because of those conversations we had. It feels great to tell your customers that you are listening to them and them show them. That customer is now a follower of mine.

 How can people be engaged at Impact?

The best way to stay informed is to visit the event aggregator, event blog or Whether people are attending the event in person or virtually, they can follow the official ID on twitter @ibmimpact ( or follow those conversations using the tag #ibmimpact.

Use the Hashtag: #ibmimpact

Event Blog:

Event Aggregator:





Linkedin Group:

SocialStar #3! Michael Chin from Deep Focus

Wow!  Thanks for the great feedback on our Social Media Interviews!  Today’s featured guest is Michael Chin VP, Strategy and Client Services Deep Focus (

1. Mike, can you describe your company and role?

I work at an interactive agency in New York City called Deep Focus. We specialize in engagement-centric marketing, meaning we develop strategies and tactics that help our clients connect and have conversations with their customers, and vice versa. Social media has naturally played a large part in what we’re doing these days.

I head up our Strategy and Client Services departments. Together with our Creative, Technology, Media Buying and Planning, and Digital Communications and PR departments, we’re able to offer an integrated approach for our clients. I joined Deep Focus about a month ago from KickApps. KickApps is one of the leading providers of social software that enables brands and publishers to turn their web sites into social experiences.

2. Great and congratulations on the new role! What do you see as the 3 big opportunities for Social Media in this new role.

I believe that Engagement Marketing will ultimately become the central way in which brands communicate with their clients–it’s proving to be more effective and efficient than traditional marketing in many cases. Social Media has fast become a core to enabling engagement with customers. The challenge right now is that it’s still very new and we’re still learning about all the possibilities and limits, for example, as an industry, we’re trying to figure out how it scales and how to measure it.

As for the big opportunities for Social Media, I think that brands, and marketers, will begin to think much more strategically about how they’re engaging online with their customers and how they’re using social media. The past few years have seen brands dabbling with social media and there’s been a lot of experimentation. More often than not, you hear things like, “We need to be on Facebook,” or “We need to be on Twitter.”

Prior to that we heard things like, “We need a blog.”

Often junior members on their teams were assigned the task of setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, and no one bothers to ask the important questions of:

 – Why are we doing this?

 – How does this impact our business?

– What do we expect out of this?

Worse, the people at agencies or the so-called experts they hire don’t ask these questions or simply don’t have the ability to help their clients answer them. This year will see a big change in this as brands begin to dedicate more budgets and resources to social media and engagement marketing. It’ll be driven by the effectiveness that they’re seeing in early experiments by their own teams but they’ll also feel pressure from their competitors to do so.

Hopefully it will yield more creativity in the types of things brands do on the social web. Ideally we’ll see more sophisticated uses of some of the new features and functionality that larger companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are introducing, but also from young and innovative startups. We’ll also start to see marketers realize that you can’t just re-purpose traditional marketing thinking on the social web. The smart ones will start to understand conversations work best and talking at customers rarely makes for a long and successful relationship.

The smarter ones will figure out how to do this well. This doesn’t mean that ‘advertising’ will go away. Quite the opposite. We just need to realize that advertising has it’s role and use it for it’s great at. At Deep Focus we’ve been able to use media planning and buying to scale much of what we on the social web. Yes, things can happen organically but you can also give it a shot in the arm. When done right, it’s a very powerful thing. A term that I’ve borrow from you actually is, “Perpetual Campaigns.” You used it in your presentation at one of the KickApps seminars that I organized.

That term perfectly describes the opportunity and the way people need to start thinking about marketing. Marketers need to treat communications with customers as a relationship and ongoing conversation and much as as one off campaigns. We’ve got to get much smarter about how we keep the conversation going, how one topic (campaign) rolls into the next. I think there’s a lot that marketers can learn from the media in this respect. We need to think of our campaign development in terms of editorial programming.

How do we keep our customers coming back to watch, read, play, talk, share, like, rate, comment, BUY, etc.? Our friends in the world of media have perfected this over the decades. We need to stop perfecting micro-sites and start learning about Perpetual Campaigning.

3. In your career, what are your top 3 social marketing tactics that you and your team have implemented?

a. At KickApps we built a community of users. In KickApps’ case it’s a community of web site developers. When done right, these customers become your most loyal customers that help you decide which products to place resources on, and they become a very important customer service channel. By being transparent with your customers in this way, you let them in and you start thinking about them as not just customers but members of your team.

b. Linking online and real world tactics and events. I’ve hosted and participated in lots of real world events that end when they’re done. I know that sounds silly but to me that’s a huge lost opportunity as a marketer. Extending that using social media has reaped tremendous benefits for me, even if it’s a simple blog or discussion board that you use to continue the conversations. The key of course is to keep the momentum going when there’s sdfsdsdfa lot of noise and competition for peoples’ time.

That’s where the editorial programming and thinking ahead of time plays a big part. It’s not just content though, it’s also activities–especially true when reaching consumers. Done right, it’s the ultimate multi-channel perpetual campaign. Reach people online, in real life, in their homes, out of home, etc.

c. This one isn’t a tactic that I’ve implemented, it’s one that I use as an example of to help illustrate the power of social media. Threadless makes and sells t-shirts that feature graphics and art designed by a community of artists. Their community of fans and customer vote on which shirts they like and Threadless produces the shirts with the designs that garner the most votes.

This is genius! They’ve never not had a hit product. The integration of social media, online community and product development speaks volumes about how businesses should think differently about customers.

Sandy, thanks for inviting me to this conversation. I hope you’ve found our conversation interesting