Summary of Lecture 2 – Part 2, 14/08/2012

In part 1 of the summary, I briefly discussed the case study on SAP. In this part I will focus on 5 Cs of social media – community, conversations, content, channels, and collaboration (co-creation).

Before I describe the 5 Cs, I should clarify that these 5 elements of social media are neither original nor all-encompassing. There are, of course, several other aspects of social media strategy that one should take into account. However, as a guideline these five suffice in most cases.

There isn’t a clearcut mapping from the traditional 4 Ps of marketing–product, price, promotion, and place (distribution)–to the 5 Cs of social media marketing. Social media marketing gives a lot more importance to the community. It is partly because in many cases a community is already in existence and the businesses want to join it. This differs from the traditional “segmentation analysis.” A community is not a segment with characteristics of its members statistically identified by a marketer. Instead a community is a much more cohesive group of individuals who have some common intrinsic motivation for being a part of the community. Such communities can be described just by this motivation and nothing else. No other identifying characteristic may be attributed to them. For example, the popular financial blog is an example of a completely anonymous community. Most of the blog posts are written under the pseudonym ‘Tyler Durden’–the unforgettable and legendary ‘Fight Club’ community leader played by Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club. (If you haven’t watched this movie, the only advice I can give you is “Stop reading this blog and watch Fight Club, now!”) I was never an active member of Zero Hedge but I used to read their posts and the comments by members very regularly. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, we were all driven by the same motivation–to read about and discuss the corruption on Wall Street and the dirty nexus between the banks, government officials, and politicians in the USA. Beyond that there was nothing you could know about us. This underscores the problem faced by a traditional marketer in the digital world.

A risky solution is to create your own community. That’s what SAP did. It’s risky because you would never know whether it will capture the attention of your target members, whether they will participate, engage, and contribute, and whether they will spread the word to grow your community. It takes a lot of time and effort (and also a great bit of luck) to organize and manage a successful online community.

The next 4 Cs–conversations, content, channels, and collaboration–will be discussed in detail as we progress in the course. Conversations are a must in social media marketing. The question is how you do it. There is always that temptation to get carried away and be condescending, witty, smart, and sometimes brutal because brands think that they are the leaders. But that’s the recipe for disaster. The conversations must be driven by empathy and honesty. In my opinion, these are the only two things that make conversations meaningful, thereby leading to long-lasting relationships.  Channels consist of different platforms and services on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Foursquare. Again, I will talk more about this when in Lecture 5 and 6 we start working with the tools directly. Content is an essential part of social media marketing. In case of SAP, the content was the blogs by the developers and SAP employees, as well as the presentations created by SAP. They hold tremendous value for the community members. On August 23, we will dissect content strategy of an Indian business Ayojak in a case study (read the 4th abstract). Finally, collaboration (and co-creation) is the final component of social media strategy. More on this in lecture 3 summary. I had asked students to read ‘Unselfish Gene‘ and 1st chapter from book ‘Share This!

Composition of Corporate Social Media Team

I referred students to the survey results published by Altimeter. According to Altimeter, the typical size of a corporate social media team is 11 employees. Out of these 3 are the heart of the team–the community managers–who engage with customers. Their primary objectives are to create brand awareness, acquire customers, retain them, create the bran culture, and provide customer service. The social strategist, who is sitting at the top of the hierarchy, makes sure that the performance of the entire team is in line with the objectives set by top management. You can read more about the role of corporate social strategist here. The two guys on the left side of the chart, the education manager and the business unit liaison, hold inward looking positions. They chiefly interact with various business units internally, train people, and make sure that everyone uses a consistent strategy. Social media manager is in-charge of the operations. He/she decides the nature of interaction, gamification, what offers to provide, etc. Web developer is a part-time role and technical in nature. Finally, social analyst tracks various social media metrics. The last part of my course is focused on the metrics and crises management issues.

For a small business, 11 social media team members are meaningless. The suggestion from Altimeter is to use the proportions from their compositions. For example, is you want to devote 40 hours for social media in a week, roughly 11 hours (40 x 3/11) should be assigned to community management. Of course, if you hire one person it is impossible for that person to do everything. A person who is good at managing a community not necessarily will be good at doing analytics. A solution is to train your existing workforce to carry out part of these jobs. A person who is good with numbers could be trained to be social media analyst. Further, some of these functions could be automated or outsourced. You may not require an in-house web developer, for example.

Data: Composition of a Corporate Social Media Team


Summary of Lecture 2 – Part 1, 14/08/2012

We had back to back lectures on first two days. The readings for the second session were divided into a short case study on SAP (SAP – A Company Transforms Itself Through Social Media [PDF]) and a relatively more academic article “Social Media? Get Serious!” There was also the IBM CMO study, but a lot in that report doesn’t directly correlate to my course. The important takeaway from IBM study was that social media now appear among the top two challenges faced by most chief marketing officers (CMO)! I think that the combination of business analytics and social media is perhaps even more challenging. This graph here shows the under-preparedness of the CMOs. (On a side note, surprisingly they are relatively less unprepared in ROI accountability. More on this later on my other blog Marketing Equity)

Data explosion and social media are the top two areas of CMO under-preparedness

SAP Case

SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. According to its ADR trading on the NYSE, the firm’s equity is valued at $76 billion with annual revenues of close to $19 billion. Chances are that you may not have heard about this German company because they operate in B2B segment. It is instructive to study how SAP decided to build an online developer community in order to become a software platform.

Wikipedia has an entry about what a platform is. Very broadly it is a foundation on which independent developers build their services. For example, Windows operating system has been perhaps the largest software platform in the world. Several third-party software are build on it. Similarly Apple’s iOS–the mobile operating system which powers iPhone and iPad–is another example of a platform where a multitude of third-party apps are built on the basic framework provided by Apple. A true platform creates network effects (see my post about Apple’s network effects), leading to locked-in customers who remain on the platform for years. They don’t switch easily. SAP was targeting to become a platform. An obvious question is how could it convince its developers to design applications for SAP.

The solution was to create an online community of developers, bring them together, engage with them, and share content. Such knowledge creation in Enterprise 2.0 is highly valuable. First, SAP created a space where developers could exchange ideas, resolve issues, and support each other. Second, SAP created and shared content such as powerpoint presentations with the developer community. Third, they encouraged active participation from the developers in creating content such as blogs. Fourth, SAP used a point system to enable earning reputation in the community. Finally, it possibly helped SAP to reach small businesses who were thus far wary of working with a software behemoth with a closed system. SAP, in other words, repositioned itself.

The lessons from SAP case are many. However, for brevity, I focus on a couple. First, big enterprises can benefit from opening up. There is always the threat from getting exposed to competitors and hackers. But when you know about these threats ex ante, safeguards can be put in place to mitigate them. SAP took a bold step of opening itself to the world, and it was richly rewarded. At the time of writing the case, they had a thriving community of half a million developers! SAP could add premium content to the community at a price, thereby using (sort of) a freemium model–providing stuff free to bulk of the people and value added stuff at a price to a few. Such opening up let SAP experiment with the pricing. It also created an opportunity to connect to numerous small businesses. Second lesson is that social media marketing is not limited to B2C firms. SAP showed that you can run and grow successfully an online community of developers. Such examples provide evidence that with careful consideration and unrelented effort, B2B social media strategy can be crafted.

[To be continued…]

Targeting Eligible “Indians” – A Poll

In the screenshot below, you will see an ad for Indian Dating website appearing next to an article about native Americans, i.e., the mislabeled “Indians”! Please take the poll at the end of this post. The poll asks who you think is responsible for this misplacement of the advertisement.

Indian dating website’s ad was shown next to an article about native Americans

Embedding PDF in Facebook Fan Page

Embedding PDF documents in Facebook is not straightforward as there is no native application in Facebook that allows us to do it. However, such a capability is crucial for fan page administrators to disseminate information. For example, I would like to share my course syllabus directly from the Social Media Marketing course page rather than from my personal Website.

In this post, with the help of two videos, I explain how to use and a Facebook app Static HTML. This app handles iframe codes. I am exploiting the ability of Issuu to generate an iframe document embed code, which we can add to the Static HTML app and create a Facebook tab.  Before you proceed to watch the videos, please read the following steps.

  1. Create an account with Issuu. This is a free document management service similar to the more popular Scribd. I am not sure whether Scribd generates iframe embed code; I did not find it.
  2. Upload your document on Issuu. This is straightforward and their instructions are easy.
  3. Log in to your personal Facebook account (DON’T switch to your fan page as an administrator yet!)
  4. Search for “Static HTML: iframe tabs” app and visit their app page.

Once you complete the above steps, you are now ready to watch the following videos.

(I have divided the tutorial in two parts because my screen capture service TechSmith Jing allows for only 5-minute videos at a time.)

Embedding PDF in Facebook Part I

Embedding PDF in Facebook Part II

What Are Facebook Page Insights?

Facebook Page is getting more popular than Facebook Groups. First of all, companies have ownership to the Page. This means that you have better control over what you can share. Also, you can assign multiple administrators to the Page. The feature I found cool, however, is “Insights.” At the heart I am an econometrician and when I see data, I get excited! Insights give the administrator of the Page a fair idea about how the fan page is performing. It has two basic units of analysis – users and interactions.

One very nice thing is that Facebook lets you download these data as an Excel sheet! If you thought that makes life easier then wait, there is more. Facebook shows you graphs and charts which are much easier to look at rather than the raw numbers. You can copy and paste those in your presentations without any problem; they look professional.

I decided to make a couple of videos to show you how the insights look. Enjoy!

Facebook Page Part I

Facebook Page Part II

Making Twitter Collaborative Using CoTweet

Today we learned how to use Twitter and various related cites. Since my students work in groups, I wanted them to create a Twitter account that can be used by all the group members. Now, it turns out that it is not straightforward! In, one group member could  create a blog and then add the group mates with administrative rights. This way, they can collaborate on blogs. However, Twitter has not yet publicly introduced a multiple-user Twitter account.

I found that is a web-based Twitter client that lets you add multiple users to one Twitter account! Here is a screenshot of how you do it.

Once you add your group members, they can access the Twitter account on their own.


How will you know who has been tweeting? Luckily Cotweet has thought about that. You can create cotags for each group members. The tweet will then contain that cotag which will identify the group member. For example, my cotag can be ^AM, just 3 character long, which will be added to the tweet. Here is a screenshot–

Tweet Scheduling

The coolest feature of Cotweet is that it lets you schedule your tweets! For businesses it is a very important feature because many promotions are planned in advance and you may want to schedule those tweets beforehand. Besides that, Cotweet provides you with a URL shortener too. Here is a screenshot

Overall, I think that CoTweet is a very useful Twitter client. Try it and let me know what you think!