Social Business Sandy

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

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Join me July 31st on GET BOLD for Social Business!

Today, everyone is talking about social.  You hear about politicians, movie stars, and everyone in between talking about social, using social with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. 

But you’re a business.  What does all this mean to you? 

Sure, your business has a website, and it probably has a social media executive responsible for posting and /or monitoring comments about your company that might be posted on Twitter or Facebook by customers.  But ask yourself….is your company a social business company?  Are you leveraging social to be more customer-driven?  Are your employees engaged with social in their jobs?  Are you really utilizing the tools and techniques that social offers to improve your business and take advantage of opportunities for growth?

Join me on Wednesday, July 31, on the Victory Circle Radio hour as I talk about my book, “Get Bold”, in which I provide a framework for social.

I’ll also share some case studies of companies who have successfully used social technology to connect with customers, helping them create communities and experiences they need.  According to a recent study, some 60% of customers use social media to discover new brands and products; 46% of customers use it to strongly influence their purchase decisions; and 40% check social media before making purchase decisions.  Your customers are already connecting and talking about your brand.  Are you connecting with them so they can become brand advocates?  I’ll share examples of customers who have successfully used social technologies to listen to and respond to their customers.

Becoming a social business is about more than simply building a social network.  It’s about offering information and services that your customers and partners need.  There are companies who have successfully used social technologies and offered meaningful services to their customers, while gaining critical feedback from the customers.  It’s about collecting and understanding the data that’s available on the various networks.  About 81% of purchasers get product purchase advice from social networks.  You need to know who is saying what, and know how to tap into the conversation. 

Today, it’s an economic reality that social is here to stay.  According to an IBM study, during the next 5 years, 95% of standout organizations will focus on getting closer to the customer.  Join me on Victory Circle Radio on July 31 and hear how my social framework can help you become a social business.

Sogeti is a Social Business!

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great Father’s day!

Here’s Sogeti telling their Social Business story!

3 Cool Social Products!

I discovered these interesting products on social.

I’d love ones that you’ve seen!

  1. Higi –It like a Klout score that combines your  eating and activity habits, all the while ranking your score, scoring pictures of food for calories and protein , etc.   They have ‘stations’ set up in drugstores so that you can weigh in, test your blood pressure, etc while combining your “community”  or friends into your overall score.  VERY cool!
  2. Virtual Receptionist / Concierge  — So you are a smaller or medium company and you cannot afford an assistant, see this video that allows you to have a virtual and smart assistant.   Very furturist — I just landed at an airport and I was directed by an virtual concierge!
  3. Cuelight Pool Table – Yes, gaming!  Cuelight allows you to transform any pool table into a digitally-enhanced video experience. High-definition imagery responds in real-time to every shot. User-selectable themes yield infinite possibilities.   It is real and is already in the Paradise Tower Penthouse, Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoTM, Las Vegas and the Esquire SoHo apartment.  Check it out!

Social is Personal. My story. It is powerful.

The power of social is everywhere.

But no where as relevant than in personal life.

My dad was placed in the hospital for emergency brain surgery.   I got the news while in Vegas, and booked the first flight out.  I had to wait for the plane for over 6 hours — hoping to get home in time.

I was going crazy in the wait — and really needed to talk to someone.

So I did something I usually don’t do — I posted something very personal on Facebook about my dad.  Much to my surprise, within minutes I had response from friends all over the world.   The outpouring was overwhelming — over 500 comments plus dozens of calls.

  • I had calls from friends that I had not heard from since High School.
  • Prayers poured in
  • Comments of encouragement came in texts, comments, tweets
  • And I didn’t feel alone

No one gave up either — days and weeks went by ….. and the love flowed in through twitter, facebook and beyond.

I talk about the power of social in business — and the power there is very strong and real.  But this personal impact — priceless.

Social Tip of the Week! Turn off Retweets!

Do you follow somebody on twitter who publishes great content but also tends to retweet anything (like anyone who thanks them), thus making it really hard for you to spot the interesting pieces in the mass of tweets? Than try this useful function: To turn off a person’s retweets, go on their profile, click on the little person icon next to the following button and select “Turn off retweets”. One exception: This only works for retweets sent by using the retweet button, not for those with RT at the beginning of the tweet.

Video blog from Social Business Coffee Break Series! Social Selling!

Happy Monday!

Today in our Social Business Coffee Break series we will focus in on the value of using social in your sales process.

I’d love your thoughts as well!

Social Business Governance: Relationship over Rules

I have been meeting with a lot of clients and see a lot of discussion around governance and structure required.   In a survey done in 1Q 2013, we see 2.7X the focus on developing social business governance. 
Because there is no natural organizational owner of “social,” an effective governance structure must balance  responsiveness and inclusiveness. 

Being inclusive means engaging stakeholders early and broadly to build shared understandings and expectations.  Responsiveness provides for clear accountability and speed in decision making.  The  challenge is to build governance structures and processes that accomplish both.

Having a relationship with your employees not just rules makes a huge difference in how successful you are!

Achieving the transformative value of becoming a Social Business involves connecting all parts of the organization (including channels, partners and customers) in new ways.  It often requires quite new ways of managing people, flatter organizations, and significant cultural change.  While becoming social provides individual flexibility, it’s important that the change achieves the unifying value for the company  of the new goals and culture. 

A strong governance program facilitates coordinated change.  The governance is led by two complementary leadership groups who’s members include the major “organizational structures” (e.g., LOBs, Finance, Supply Chain, HR, Channel Management,  …). 

The first, the Executive Sponsor Group, defines the strategic linkage and goals   of becoming a social business.  Members are leaders across the organization.  The second is a Digital Council.  These are executives who are responsible for the organization-wide, execution creation of the Social Business plan.  The representatives are often the social business leaders in their respective LOBs and functional areas, which ensures focus on the vertical and horizontal needs.


The Digital Council focuses on the key areas of a social program:

  • Community Management – Provides a common approach to drive change and adoption at and across the LOB and functional level.  It includes actions like community management, Content Management, community analytics, and best practices.  While the focus is value at the  LOB / functional level, the governance processes has a Center of Excellent that shares best practices to create a common social voice and approach across and outside the organization. 
  • Metrics and Measurement –  Covers all elements of data and measurement.  Starts with analytics / listening to guide the where and how to engage socially.  This includes internal analytics of social networks, expertise, and projects, as well as the external listening and analytics.  This group also is responsible for creating and automating the overall program measurements to track success, progress on the plan, and social return.
  • Reputation and Risk Management – Focuses on 3 main areas:  1. regulatory risk and compliance(if relevant),  social record retention for general discovery, and other legal and financial risks;    2. policies, guidelines and processes for the organization and associates to participate in social media (for example, IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines); and    3. proactively managing the organization’s reputation and having a defined plan to respond to various levels of negative media or emergencies.
  • Standards – This group focuses on process and technical standards for a social business.  While LOBs, major business functions, etc. require the freedom to build their social programs tailored to their needs, the Standards group ensures that the overall company can be nimble in connecting across boundaries in ways not always anticipated.  Standards for brand and ways of connecting with partners, channels, clients, etc. ensure that the company is viewed as coordinated and focused on needs vs. a “collection of parts.”   On the technical side, a common social business framework enables the new ways of working.




Social Business Adoption Best Practice #9: Brand Army!

Happy Monday and grab that coffee!!!

Today’s Social Business Coffee Break is about forming that important Brand Army!

Let me know your thoughts!

Sandy’s #SXSW Social Dining Picks – #socbiz #ibmsocialbiz

Sandy’s SXSW Social Dining Picks.

As many of you know, I am in the business of Social Business. There is nothing more social than face to face and breaking bread with a friend, a colleague, a customer or someone new.

While at SXSW, I know many of you will be getting social on a daily basis. With Austin exploding as a foodie town in its own right, there more places to choose from that any one person could fathom. People have dedicated books and blogs, tweets, time, tours and television shows to share the culinary experience that is Austin.

Here are my picks for places you might want to check out during SXSW.

BBQ. It should be considered the state food of Texas.

  • La Barbecue – South First BBQ trailer. They have free beer and live music. Try the pork ribs and sausage. They are some of the best in the city.  @la_Barbecue
  • Live Oak Barbecue & Beer – This one year old, great east side location, is a hidden gem. They smoke all their meats, even the sausage. You will find yourself wanting to return the next day.  @liveoakbbq
  • Rudy’s – Get some gasoline and BBQ in one visit. Serves up no-nonsense good oak smoked BBQ on butcher paper with their own “Sause.” Try the ribs! Great place for the whole family.  @rudysbbq

Breakfast tacos. It’s breakfast! It’s a taco! What more could you want? An Austin tradition.

  • Juan in a Million – The owner, Juan, greets you with a handshake as if you are a regular (even on your first visit). The Don Juan El Taco Grande for $3.80 comes with three tortillas and is enough to feed two people.  @DonJuanTaco
  • La Mexicana Bakery Panaderia – They have breakfast tacos starting at $1.30. Try the cactus and egg or the chorizo with egg and potato. They are open 24 hours and have a Mexican bakery case sure to tempt most sweets lover. @PanDulceee
  • mi Madre’s Restaurant – Serving up some of best breakfast tacos in Austin with healthy portions and prices that won’t break the bank. Eat them there or take them to go. Salsa is pretty spicy, so go easy until you know how hot is too hot for you.  @mimadres

Burgers. We all love them. You can find them everywhere, but no two burgers are created equal.

  • Counter Café – One of the last of the great American diners. They do local and organic from scratch cooking. The Counter Burger was ranked #2 on the Texas Monthly’s 50 Greatest Hamburgers in Texas. The beef is perfectly seasoned and the burger is perfection. P.S., try their scratch made biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  #CounterCafe
  • Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes – They source their meat from certified small ranchers and grind it fresh daily at the restaurant. It’s a no nonsense burger. Wash it down with one of their hand dipped shakes or a hand-squeezed strawberry lemonade.  @mightyfinetx
  • Wholly Cow Burgers – This little gem has wholesome, all natural, grass fed beef and makes their burger to order with a whole list of toppings to choose from. They do as much organic as possible and cook up a heavenly burger that is well seasoned. Try it with the sweet potato fries.  @WhollyCowATX

Food trailers. You cannot truly experience Austin, without eating from a trailer. There are guides, books, festivals, Meetups and food tours dedicated to this culinary revolution. While I cannot do it justice, I have mentioned some in my other category picks. Below are a few notable trailers worth mentioning.

Also, be sure also to check out SouthBites, on the corner of Driskill and Rainey Street. This is a collection of food trailers selected by Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Season 9. Be sure to follow #SouthBites to keep up to date with their lineup. Also, follow #SXSWtrailer for any changes on trailer hours, locations and events.

  • Hey… You Gonna Eat or What? – These are not your mama’s sandwiches. Try the Shiner Bock beer-battered Monte Cristo and prepare for angels singing. It is well worth the calories. You really cannot go wrong with anything on their menu. @UGonnaEatOrWhat
  • Kebabalicious – Fresh Turkish-style wraps made from scratch. Vegetarians and Meat eaters can coexist in harmony, as there are choices for all. The spicy items will pack a kick. Try the Meat/Lamb Kebab and be careful not to drip the sauce all over you. It is a messy and delicious dining adventure. @kebabalicious
  • Three Little Pigs – Located outside of East End Wines, you can have your pork and wine too. Pick up a bottle, walk outside and you have BYOB. Try the Pork Belly Sliders, Bacon Wrapped Craklin’ Meatloaf and the Brussels Sprouts. @3LittlPigs

Happy Hour. Being a university town, for some, Happy Hour is the most important meal of the day. Cheap food and beverages on a budget are the way many afford both their dinner and socializing. Happy Hours are mentioned throughout this list. Below are a few more worth checking out.

  • Contigo – Enjoy happy hour inside or on their spacious dog-friendly patio, Monday-Friday from 5-7pm. They offer reduced price bar snacks, $1 off draft beer/wine by the glass and a $6 selection of cocktails. All charcuterie and condiments are made from scratch. Try the pigs in a blanket and the white bean dip.  @contigoaustin
  • Salty Sow – They bill themselves has Swine + Wine + Beer, but you don’t have to be a pork lover to enjoy their fare. They have a $4 Happy Hour menu, 7 days a week, from 4:30-6:30pm. Try the Brussels sprouts and the deviled eggs. They are also known for their Truffle Duck Fat Fries.  @saltysow
  • Ten Oak – This Bourbon house has more than just bourbon. With a full bar and some great food, they have Happy Hour 7 days a week from 4-7pm. You can choose from $5 for specialty cocktails and select menu options including Pulled Pork Sliders and Chicken Pizzetta.  @TenOakAustin

Mexican food. Say Cheese… it’s Tex-Mex. Say Interior, it’s Mexican. No matter how you say it – we have it all.

  • Curra’s Grill –Avocado Margarita is a must try and if they are not too busy, ask for a sauce sampler so you can determine your favorite before ordering. More interior Mexican than Tex-Mex, they make their own corn tortillas. Try the red chili corn tortilla in your taco. Get some to-go.  @CurrasGrill
  • El Alma – Great rooftop patio to watch the sunset. The Queso Fundido is delicious and half price during Happy Hour. Try the Duck Enmoladas or the Duck Relleno… you won’t be disappointed.  @ElAlma_ATX
  • Maudie’s – Don’t wait for the cheese, get the Queso. Try it with some taco meat and pico de gallo (Diablo sol food). Wash it down with their regular house margarita for just $3.50 at Happy Hour (Monday 3pm-close, Tuesday – Friday 3-6:30pm).  @MaudiesTXMex

Off the beaten path, but worth the trek. These places will require transportation, but are definitely worth the trip

  • Jack Allen’s Kitchen – Locally sourced fare. Best Pimento Cheese (oh yes they do) in Austin. $15.99 Sunday brunch buffet. Happy hour, 7 days a week, starting at 3pm, with half price appetizers and assorted drink specials. Try the Bacon Wrapped Texas Quail appetizer.  @jackallens
  • The Oasis on Lake Travis – Definitely a big tourist draw but the perfect spot to watch the sunset with a margarita. They specialize in high volume, so order up some chips and salsa and wander next door to Soleil or another spot for your dinner. This way, you get the best of all worlds.  @OasisLakeTravis
  • Trattoria Lisina – This is Damian Mandola’s perfectly executed, little piece of Tuscany in the Texas hill country. Their authentic Italian food is complemented by the Duchman Family Winery next door which offers wine tasting and tours next door. Reservations are helpful. Enjoy live outdoor music with plenty of places to sit, relax and enjoy a bottle or glass of wine.  @TrattoriaLisina

Pizza. From thin crust, thick crust, cheese, pepperoni, all the toppings and the convenience of delivery, it is hard to get through a SXSW without indulging in a slice of Pizza.

  • Austin’s Pizza – With locations around Austin, gluten-free and thin crust options and delivery, they are sure to be a lifesaver for the hungry. Try the sausage pizza.  @AustinsPizza
  • Roppolo’s – New York-style pizza and a downtown Austin staple, they’ve been selling pizza in their trucks for years. Now you can enjoy a slice in their newer store front on E 6th or catch one of their food trucks about town. They sell it by the pizza or the slice. Try the Italian Mex or the Rosalie.  @roppolos
  • VIA 313 – Detroit-style pizza made in auto parts pans and baked to perfection, VIA 313 brings a little bit of Motown fare to the Live Music Capital. Try the Cadillac Pizza and enjoy the cheesy caramelized edges on every slice.  @Via313Pizza

Wine bars. The wine scene is alive and well in this town. With Austin being the home to well known Sommeliers, it is easy to find a wine bar with a creative affordable selection of solid wines.

  • Apothecary Café & Wine Bar – Their wine selection changes up, and is guaranteed to suit most any palate. Not into wine, they serve up a selection of Texas beers and have a full espresso bar. The menu is seasonal and inventive and includes a weekend Brunch menu. They have Happy Hour specials from 4-7pm every day and all day on Sundays & Mondays, including $10 off bottles.  @apothecaryatx
  • House Wine – Cozy and uniquely Austin. It is an actual house turned wine bar with perfect outdoor seating. On Sunday’s, all their open bottles sell by the glass for ½ price until they are gone. Curl up in any spot with a glass, and it feels like home.  @HouseWine
  • The Red Room Lounge – This speak easy ambiance is the perfect beginning or night cap to an evening in Austin. Texas’ Best Sommelier 2011, Bill Elsey, has artfully selected top notch yet affordable wines. Their list will satisfy the lover of the common to the obscure varietals. BYO Food is encouraged, as they only serve wine.  @RedRoomATX
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