Social Business is not Dead: New charts and data reveal the real evolution of social businesses

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In recent times, I’ve noticed a rise in discussions around the “death of social business” and also an increase in alternative “fill in the blank but don’t use the word social” businesses. Some of those discussions have been hosted here recently. There’s strong merit to the discussions of course, especially those I’ve hosted (be sure to read the comments). But as an analyst tracking the evolution of social businesses and equally the cause and effect of digital transformation overall, I’m learning that the most advanced organizations see social not as a technology movement but instead one of culture and philosophy. Openness, collaboration, transparency, communication…these aren’t buzz words. Among those leading change, these words represent a way of business and it all starts with vision and the ability to see how relationships and experiences with customers and employees can improve or accomplish new and greater goals.

Along the way, I’ve also learned that pushing for social adoption because of technology misses the point of change. The true catalyst isn’t whatever the latest trend in social media is this week. That’s reactive and almost impossible to leapfrog. The truth is that change is fueled by the affect that social media, mobile, and other forms of disruptive technologies have on customer behavior. Whether it’s B2B, B2C, B2B2C, or whatever model you prefer, as long as we’re talking about connected human beings, you can bet that social and digital in general are influencing discovery, decision-making, and impressions in every moment of truth.

The evolution of social business as we know it today traces back to The Cluetrain Manifesto in the late 1990s, where its authors predicted that markets would become conversations. Here we are at the cusp of 2014, and businesses, and the strategists who lead social efforts, continue to struggle with sparking executive understanding, adoption, and leadership. The real story is about what’s happening beneath all that we see or think we see.

So what’s obstructing the evolution of social business?

Part of the problem is that social media and how it differs from traditional channels remains largely misconstrued. As a result, new opportunities, and the strategies, systems, and processes that support them, are either nascent or overlooked.

A social business is more than an organization that invests in a positive global footprint to overcome the world’s biggest problems, such as inequality and poverty. The term has developed to now also represent companies that are more open, transparent, and participatory in conversations and activity that defines markets. But the challenge is that social media strategists may actually be hampering its potential by not helping executives see the bigger picture beyond the technology.

Last month, Charlene Li and I published our latest Altimeter Group report, “The State of Social Business 2013.” In our research, we were surprised that businesses were still unsure of the role social media played enterprise-wide, beyond marketing and communications. Many, we found, were limited in scope and not universal in engagement with customers, employees, suppliers, partners, community, et al. Specifically, we learned that…

- Only half (52%) of companies say that their executives are informed, engaged, and aligned with the enterprise social strategy

- A mere 26% of organizations self-describe as being “holistic” in their social media approach, where business functions operate against an enterprise-level vision and strategy

- Just 17% of organizations self-described as being truly “strategic” in the execution of their social strategies

This month, Charlene and I are releasing the data charts from our latest report, plus additional material, to help strategists learn how to amplify or accelerate their social business strategy. The charts are available as stand-alone images on Flickr or as a complete deck via Slideshare. As always, this information is made available freely as part of Altimeter’s open research program. Please feel free to use the images or slides at work, in posts, on stage, or whichever way that helps you make a point or case.

Along with highlighting major issues (and opportunities) through this survey data, the presentation includes perspectives and inspirational quotes from executives and strategists at Sephora, Adobe, ARAMARK, Ford, Fidelity, Royal Dutch Shell, Wells Fargo among others.

We hope that you’ll find the slides in this presentation useful as resource and background material, as you continue to make your business case for social business.

[Source: Brian Solis]

10 must-know digital marketing statistics from 2013

In this post, I round-up some of the significant stats from 2013 which show the big trends in consumer behaviour across different digital platforms and channels that will help you question your priorities in 2014.

Social media marketing

Q. Which social networks should we focus on?

With limited time you need to focus your participation on the social networks which are growing fastest and have the most participation amongst your audience. This data from Global WebIndex shows the growth in the main networks across different age groups. You need to check how you’re performing compared to competitors too.

2014-social-media-stats

Q. Which social networks encourage sharing?

Our post asking which social network drives the most visits used social sharing data from Gigya to help answer this question.  These are the top sources of sharing at a top-level.

Social-sharing-stats

Of course, sharing will vary by market, so check your sharing against your direct competitors. Here we can see that Ecommerce sharing is quite different – with Pinterest very popular, particularly in the US.

Google Chrome

Q. Should we offer social sign-in?

The same data source also shows the relative popularity of the social networks for social sign-in. Data is available specifically for Ecommerce companies and publishers too.

Social-sign-in

Search

Q. How popular is mobile search and how effective is our mobile SEO?

With the increase in consumer adoption of mobile, you should focus more on visits from mobile SEO. See how the proportion of mobile visits vary in importance compared to other traffic sources to see whether you potentially have a problem.

Despite the growth in popularity of social media many of us still turn first to a search engine, although this new data from Google’s new Mobile Path to Purchase guide shows us that mobile apps and brand sites are important sources too according to consumers.

Mobile search popularity 2014

Q. How do I review the effectiveness of my SEO given the growth in Not Provided?

We have alerted readers to how Google has progessively removed referring keywords in its reports during 2013, so making reporting on SEO more challenging, although we have shown there are decent alternatives.

As if you needed a reminder, this is how significant Not Provided is now…

NotProvided

Ecommerce and conversion rate optimisation

Q. What is our potential improvement in conversion rates?

Although overall conversion rates for Ecommerce can help us benchmark, as Dan Barker said in this post average conversion rates are near-meaningless.

So what you need to review is the variation in conversion. This will vary by device, country, referrer and of course product category on the site as suggested by this benchmark from Monetate.  Only by analysing variation and understanding which interactions on category and product pages and customer online shopping concerns which affect conversion will you be able to improve conversion.

Mobile conversion

Q. Which channels drive conversion and value – beyond last click to assists

We’ve regularly written on the importance of channel attribution to understand which media influence sales over the increasingly complex customer journey. This new data from Adobe shows, for example that social media and search can be more valuable when assists are taken into account. It also highlights the importance of comparing channels on revenue per visit.

Google Chrome

Email marketing

Q. How seriously should I treat mobile email?

You probably know the answer to this already! The answer is “very seriously”. Litmus does an excellent job in in documenting the growing rise of mobile email.

Within email opened on mobile devices, checking your iPhone and iPad rendering is most important, although Android is rising fast.

[Source: Smart Insights]

Facebook Stories: Year in Review 2013

Today, we’re taking a look back at the people, moments and places that mattered most on Facebook in 2013.

Conversations happening all over Facebook offer a unique snapshot of the world, and this year was no different. Every day, people post about the topics and milestones that are important to them – everything from announcing an engagement, to discussing breaking news, or even celebrating a favorite athlete or sports team.

We analyzed the past year’s worth of these posts to reveal the top global trends of 2013:

Top Life Events 
Check out the life events people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013.

1. Added a relationship, got engaged or got married
2. Traveled
3. Moved
4. Ended a relationship
5. First met a friend
6. Added a family member, expecting a baby or had a baby
7. Got a pet
8. Lost a loved one
9. Got a piercing
10. Quit a habit

Top Check-Ins Around The World
Explore the places around the world with the most check-ins (excluding transportation hubs).

Argentina: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), East Melbourne, Victoria
Brazil: Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
Canada: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
France: Disneyland Paris, Marne La Vallée
Germany: Reeperbahn, Hamburg
Hong Kong: 香港迪士尼樂園 | Hong Kong Disneyland
Iceland: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Iceland
India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
Italy: Piazza San Marco, Venice
Japan: 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), Tokyo
Mexico: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City
Nigeria: Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Poland: Temat Rzeka, Warsaw
Russia: Центральный парк культуры и отдыха им. Горького | Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure
Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
South Africa: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
Spain: Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia
Sweden: Friends Arena, Solna
Taiwan: 花園夜市Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City
Turkey: Taksim Square, Istanbul
United Kingdom: The 02, London
United States: Disneyland, Anaheim, California

Most Talked About Topics
Take a look at the most mentioned people and events of 2013, which point to some of the most popular topics around the world.

1. Pope Francis
2. Election
3. Royal Baby
4. Typhoon
5. Margaret Thatcher
6. Harlem Shake
7. Miley Cyrus
8. Boston Marathon
9. Tour de France
10. Nelson Mandela

While some of the people or topics featured on this year’s global list need no introduction, like Pope Francis, others prompted us to dig a little deeper. “Election” appeared in many languages, and was the second most mentioned term on Facebook worldwide in 2013. With high-profile national elections in countries like India, Kenya, Iran and Italy year, it’s not a surprise to see it near the top of our list.

We also took the pulse of regional conversations in 16 different countries to give people a look at the most talked about topics near them.

These lists are available on Facebook Stories at FacebookStories.com/2013, or you can download them.

fb-trends-640x418

Methodology
Top life events and check-ins: We looked at which life events and places generated the most posts and check-ins in 2013, and then used the data to create global and country-level rankings.
Most talked about topics: We measured how many Facebook posts in 2013 mentioned a specific topic and then ranked those topics based on the overall number of mentions to create each list. Mentions include both the term itself and related hashtags. For example, both “Here at the #inauguration” and “Proud to be at the presidential inauguration” would be calculated as part of the buzz related to a single event.

The U.S. Year in Review
In addition to our global data, we’ve also curated lists about activity on Facebook specific to the U.S.

Most Talked About Topics in the U.S.
1. Super Bowl
2. Government Shutdown
3. Boston Marathon
4. Syria Crisis
5. Harlem Shake
6. Pope Francis
7. George Zimmerman
8. Royal Baby
9. Nelson Mandela
10. Presidential Inauguration
11. NBA Finals
12. Kim Kardashian
13. Miley Cyrus
14. James Gandolfini
15. Meteor Sighting

Most Talked About By Topic in the U.S. 
Sports – Super Bowl
Movies – The Conjuring
TV Shows – Scandal
Music – Get Lucky by Daft Punk*
Books – “Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander” by Phil Robertson
Games – Criminal Case by Pretty Simple Games
Public Figures – Peyton Manning
Politics – Government Shutdown
Technology – Instagram
Viral Moments – Harlem Shake
Internet Memes – Giraffe
*Most Played on Facebook via Spotify

Top Check-Ins in the U.S.
1. Disneyland & Disney California Adventure (Anaheim, CA)
2. Times Square (New York, NY)
3. Epcot – Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
4. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
5. AT&T Park (San Francisco, CA)
6. Rangers Ballpark (Arlington, TX)
7. Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City, CA)
8. Fenway Park (Boston, MA)
9. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas, NV)
10. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (Houston, TX)

Top Life Events in the U.S.
1. Added a Relationship
2. Got Married
3. Got Engaged
4. Traveled
5. Moved
6. Ended a Relationship
7. Had a Baby
8. Expecting a Baby
9. First Met
10. Lost a Loved One

[Source: Facebook Stories - Year in Review 2013]

Portable Gaming Report Q3 2013

In partnership with International Data Corporation (IDC), App Annie released the third quarter 2013 edition of the ongoing App Annie & IDC Portable Gaming Report.  Viewers will gain insights into the continuing shift in consumer spending from gaming-optimized handhelds to mobile devices. Included are a variety of charts and analysis of the changes seen in smartphone market share, as well as the overall performance of apps by downloads and revenues on mobile devices as they relate to games.

Below are 3 key takeaways from the Q3 2013 Portable Gaming Report (download our full report for the full analysis):

  • Amazon’s Kindle Fire was more popular than Android tablets that use Google Play as a mobile/handheld gaming device in the US

  • Android was not too far behind Apple’s popularity as US gamers’ favorite mobile/handheld gaming device, but iOS generated 3x Google Play’s game revenue in the US

  • App categories other than games outpaced games in worldwide revenue growth from Q2 2013 to Q3 2013 on iOS

[Source: App Annie & IDC Portable Gaming Report Q3 2013]

Navigating Social Media Infographic

In honor of its upcoming book launch, online education and marketing firm 9Clouds has released a teaser for the full-length field guide to social media in the form of a handy infographic.

The graphic includes key stats, target markets, audiences, the time commitment for each network, a general overview designed to help you figure out which networks are best for you and why.

As for Twitter, the infographic cleverly calls it a “party line phone” and purports that Twitter takes 2+ hours of your time per week. That’s the same as Facebook in the infographic, but more than the time recommended to be spent on Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.

I definitely spend way more than 2 hours per week on Twitter, but that’s because I make my living in social media. Although judging by the quantity of people I see scrolling through their Twitter feeds on the subway, in line, and walking down the street, I’d guess a lot of people spend a lot more than 2 hours per week tweeting or reading tweets.

It’s also interesting that the infographic categorizes Twitter as good for finding new customers, versus Facebook being a good tool for current customers. I think every major social network can be utilized for lead generation, but I don’t know if I’d categorically define Twitter as better for it than Facebook. It definitely depends on whether you’re spending or not, and your content strategy on each network.

Navigating Social Media Infographic | 9 Clouds

[Source: 9 Clouds]

[Daily Notable OT] Ministry Of Sounds “DECADE” Mashup by Robin Skouteris 2000 – 2009

Call it commerical but… it rocks! Well no… it dances!

An Official Promo mix, to promote the new compilation “DECADE” by Ministry Of Sound, which includes Club classics from the years 2000-2009. Out now! Remix & Video edit by Robin Skouteris.http://www.robinskouteris.com

Buy album on CD: http://po.st/DECADE
Buy album on iTunes: http://po.st/DECADEiTUNES

The ultimate collection of 60 club anthems from THE decade of dance! Featuring the likes of Eric Prydz, Armand Van Helden, Axwell, Fedde Le Grand, David Guetta, Bodyrox, Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi + many more!

Listen to the slightly Extended Version of the mashup, here:http://snd.sc/1eGTEMB
Remixer’s Official Fanpage for news & updates:http://www.facebook.com/robinskouteri…

Tracks included in the Mashup:
Benny Benassi – Satisfaction
Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up (For Detroit)
Kid Cudi Vs. Crookers – Day ‘N’ Night
Tom Novo – Your Body
Axwell – I Found U (Feat. Max’C)
Steve Angello & Laidback Luke – Show Me Love (Feat. Robin S)
Alex Gaudino – Destination Calabria (Feat. Crystal Waters)
Supermode – Tell Me Why
Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400
David Guetta Vs. The Egg – Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)
Freaks – The Creeps (Get On the Dancefloor)
Infernal – From Paris to Berlin
Ida Corr vs Fedde Le Grand – Let Me Think About It
Eric Prydz – Pjanoo
Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)
Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers (Feat. Armand Van Helden)
Eric Prydz – Call On Me
Boogie Pimps – Somebody To Love

http://www.ministryofsound.com/

This mashup is not part of the album. For promotional purposes only.

The Ultimate Moment of Truth and The Art of Digital Engagement

In 2012, Google along with Jim Lecinski published a fantastic book that explored how digital customers made decisions in what Google refers to as “The Zero Moment of Truth.” The ZMOT as it’s abbreviated, helps strategists discover relevant strategies and tactics on how to show up at the right place, at the right time and with the right content in a digital ecosystem.

In a world where consumers “Google it” to begin their digital journey, ZMOT revealed that brands need to re-think the connected experience and the resulting click path. But what happens when the web sites that appear in traditional Google search results no longer suffice for someone so connected that impatience becomes a virtue? This is after all someone who begins the journey on a smart phone or tablet tapping review sites and social networks to make information come to them before conducting formal research. Some call it the lazy web. Others refer to it as the social web. In the end, it’s just how people make information come to them. Once they do, it becomes the norm.

Even though web sites technically work on smaller screens thanks to adaptive and responsive design, they’re still web sites. In the very least, they go against the very nature of how someone interacts with the screen and what it’s designed to make possible. Here, it’s less about clicks and scrolls and more about pinching and swipes. That’s not all of course. The intention of a web page is called into question, or should be, in a time of connected consumerism. Step back and think about it for a moment. The information included on web sites isn’t written for you and me, it’s written for the person approving it. When you consider context in addition to the screen in the Zero Moment of Truth, you learn that people aren’t seeking marketing copy, they’re seeking the experiences of others to help humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations. Let that sink in because I’ll wager it’s not where a majority of your investments are allocated right now.

So, the truth unfolds…

In my latest book, “What’s the Future of Business”, I introduced the Ultimate Moment of Truth, that moment where people who convert an experience into discoverable content in any one of the countless social platforms people use to stay connected these days. And in this connected economy, the Ultimate Moment of Truth, or UMOT, becomes the next person’s Zero Moment of Truth, over and over again.

In addition to web sites, landing pages and corresponding SEO and SEM strategies, businesses now must consider how to create experiences in every moment of truth that aren’t just meaningful or remarkable, but also shareable. The future of brands now lies in how UMOT meets ZMOT throughout the customer life cycle. See, without design, these experiences are left to chance. Instead, marketers must begin to architect, foster and optimize positive experiences in each moment that’s native to each screen, efficient in steps, and tied to desirable outcomes.

When Google learned of my work around UMOT, the team reached out to consider how me might work together to help marketers better connect the dots to enhance the ZMOT. Our first collaboration resulted in a whitepaper that’s free to download, “Give Them Something to Talk About: Brian Solis on the Art of Engagement.” I’ve included parts of our discussion below.

Give Them Something to Talk About

What does engagement mean for you?

Engagement is really about Actions, Reactions and Transactions; something that I refer to as A.R.T. Engagement, for me, is something that locks in an interaction or exchange. Thinking about engagement in that way inspires a different approach for content creation; you want somebody to feel something, not just see it.

If you think about engagement in this way, is it measurable?

Absolutely. You define your desired outcome and that outcome becomes what you measure. It’s the relationship between cause and effect. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t consider the outcome to be more than some low-level engagement measure — a ‘Like’, a ‘Share,’ a comment — when in fact you could introduce an emotion. If you love something, you share it. This isn’t just about impressions; this is about expressions. You want people to share it and do something and that should be designed into your engagement strategy.

Give_Them_Something_to_Talk_About__Brian_Solis_on_the_Art_of_Engagement_–_Think_Insights_–_Google

How can you enlist ‘shares’ to support a campaign objective?

No content should be designed today that isn’t inherently shareable. Take the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX commercial on YouTube. It comes from that same thinking that goes into Super Bowl commercials, where you stop and go, ‘Oh my god, that is the best commercial I’ve ever seen!’ For some reason marketers only get that creative once a year, but YouTube and the social web are unlocking that type of thinking. Everything you introduce to the social web should have the same caliber of creativity that goes into a Super Bowl commercial.

Is there a tendency for marketers to feel so overwhelmed by technology that they lose sight of their basic instinct for how consumers behave?

Look, I’m a consumer, you’re a consumer. When we talk about the brands we love, it’s very human and natural. But when we try to talk to people like us, we blank out and turn into ‘Marketing Man.’ We lose that human nature, that empathy. If you take a technology perspective, you are forever reacting. The minute you take a step back and say, “What’s the bigger mission?” you start to realize what you are trying to do is change behavior. This relationship between cause and effect is very human. Once you articulate that vision, technology becomes an enabler. It starts to work for you.

Consumers share brand experiences, whether the brand is listening or not. Do brands listen enough to those conversations?

Author Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Take Twitter, Facebook, YouTube — what is shared is experiences. Somebody is eating a delicious dinner; that picture is published and shared. Somebody spots a product that makes them feel fantastic; it too becomes a shared experience. There are shared experiences that represent every step of the customer journey. These conversations existed before technology, but now they are searchable, retrievable and building on each other. Shared experiences, in aggregate, become the brand.

What happens when a brand’s marketing doesn’t reflect its image among consumers?

You may say: “This is our brand, this is what it represents, this is what we want you to feel, say, share.” But always ask yourself: “What is the collective experience that is published across the social web?” If you compare the two, many times there’s a disconnect between promise and real world experiences. I refer to this as the ‘experience divide.’ In many experiments I’ve found the brand promise and the experiences that are felt and shared are not even close to being aligned. That’s a problem.

How can brands close that gap?

If we spent less time ‘talking’ about our brand and brand promise and more time designing how we bring it to life, the experience divide would naturally narrow.

What can brands do when online consumers’ first impressions are being shaped by other consumers’ experiences?

These conversations — these shared experiences — they don’t self destruct. They build upon each other, creating a collective index. Search engines plug into this cloud of shared experiences and that Ultimate Moment of Truth, or UMOT for short, of shared experiences becomes the next person’s ZMOT. Experiences form impressions. Impressions become expressions as they’re shared. Expressions form new impressions. The link between UMOT and ZMOT is the future of branding and relationships.

This is a new way of thinking. As a brand you have to create the experiences you want people to have and share, and reinforce that through positive conditioning, so those are the things people find — over and over again. To get people to share more positive things, you have to first make sure they have a positive experience. This is a renaissance opportunity for brands to look back: ‘Why did we start this company? What are we trying to do?’ Because in the social web, it is those experiences that become your brand.

[Source: The Ultimate Moment of Truth and The Art of Digital Engagement - Brian Solis]