#smfail, Why Social Media Fails: The Experts Weigh In @ #w2e

Thank you to @sagenet for turning me on to the #smfail twitter thread that was streaming out of today’s Why Social Media Marketing Fails  – and how to fix it panel at the Web 2.0 Expo.  Industry thought leaders – Peter Kim (Dachis Corporation), Charlene Li (Altimeter Group), and Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research) led the discussion.  UPDATE:  Thanks to Peter, Charlene & Jeremiah for linking to this post.

My comment on a post by @miaD on her Marketing Mystic blog has turned into this post here.

Mia reported “Keeping true to the spirit of social media, Peter Kim invited input for this session before the show, on his blog where folks respond to what they wanted to see at this session. Not surprisingly, it was standing room only for this brilliant panel of former and current Forrester analysts.”

Here are my thoughts along the themes established by the panel:

1. How to get culture to adopt & get C level buy in:

Demonstrate the link between corporate value & social media the way that the link between brand & corporate value was established in the late ’80s.  Brand value is now the 3rd most monitored benchmarks by CEOs (can someone help me find the link to where I read this factoid?).

2. How to make “campaigns” work:

I agree with the panel, the campaign model is wrong.  It leads to the wrong metrics (CPMs, web analytics), wrong strategy, etc.  However, cycles of activity tied to a good strategy are required.  “Campaigns” will work if they are part of corporations mobilizing their internal & external networks toward the creation & defense of enduring value … not about going viral, not about views or meaningless registrations.

3.  What Measures Matter (are right for social media):

Measures should be derived from the academic work that has been done in quantifying social capital.  Nan Lin’s network theory of social capital is a good place to start for a definition.  Social network analysis is also an important place to look for meaningful measures (see @barrywellman and INSNA for more).

4. Does social media matter?

Oh yes.  It is very critical.  That is like asking is it important that major American corporations maintain market share that is disproptionate to population as China, India and the developing world begin to project their power into global culture.  The shift to common perception shaped by broadband empowered networks is accelerating (as opposed to broadcast networks).   Broadband connectivity is set to triple every six months and it is the key driver.  The broadband trend, along with mobile communications & GPS integration is eliminating the boundary between the virtual worlds & the so-called real world, establishing the link between broadband empowered people and stable future earnings.  Ultimately the ability to maintain margins is dependent on a shared perception of sustainable difference between price and costs.  So yes – social media matters, very much, to every publicly traded corporation … in fact to everyone & it will only continue to increase in importance.

Here are some of the other recaps of the panel …

And Kate Brodock did a good wrap up of the Business of Community Networking conference where we covered similar issues last week in Boston.

Enterprise 2.0 and Innovation

I discovered this slideshare presentation by the folks at Acando via a tweet by WeaRo. Its a good one …

Following Robin Teigland … Leveraging Social Networks for Results

I just started following Dr. Robin Teigland on Twitter.  Get ready to be blown away … check out her slide share presentations.

She is an Associate Professor at the Center for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) in Sweden.  For more than ten years, she has researched and lectured on social networks and their relationship with strategy and performance.

You MUST take your time and view this presentation.

I just posted her presentation of Fad or Future: Second Life & Virtual Worlds over at www.memeticbrand.com.  It is spot on.

Where is the Value? Google Friend Connect

I think that this is another sign that the technologies involved are quickly becoming a commodity.  The real value is in the network.

The Economist has a little piece about Facebook’s play along these same lines.

Rafe Needleham at CNET thinks Facebook will win out over Google Connect because it is a marketing channel.

IAM or “Social Media Man”

One of the central concepts of Social Capital Value Add is the Individual as Medium (IAM).  I also considered using the more anthropological “Social Media Man” but wanted readers to steer past the buzz words and/or gender concerns.

Which one do you like better?  I don’t care what you call it, as long as the dog brings back the bone.

I am realizing that the IAM concept may not come across very strongly in the e-book.  I dripped references to IAM throughout the e-book.  Let me try to draw them together in this post.

Perception is reality.

Shared perception requires some form of media.  I.e., thoughts must be communicated through some form of artifact whether fleeting or more resilient.  Examples include gestures, words, text, audio and visual … anything that can be sensed among parties.

For most of history, our ability to communicate was relatively geo-spatially limited.  We could communicate as far as our voices could be heard (town criers) or our eyes could see (smoke signals). Perception was very locally oriented.

Then along came technologies that Marshall McLuhan taught us to understand as Extensions of Man.  The printing press, radio and television are a few of the biggies.  These are essentially one way, broadcast forms of media. The telephone is another biggie, it is interactive & reaches far, but does not scale well to large audiences and requires synchronous connection.

McLuhan explained to us that “the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.”

He also said, “Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the ‘content’ of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind. The effect of the medium is made strong and intense just because it is given another medium as ‘content’. The content of a movie is a novel or a play or an opera. The effect of the movie form is not related to its program content. The ‘content’ of writing or print is speech, but the reader is almost entirely unaware either of print or speech.”

When digital media started to really emerge with the introduction of the browser in the mid-1990s, it naturally incorporated many previous forms media.  But bandwidth, computing power and storage were still scarce and expensive.  A lot has changed since Netscape came along.

We have arrived at a point in history where the effect of IAM has been made the strongest and most intense form of media we experience because it has been given all other media as its content. The movie, the play, the opera, the newspaper, the television, the radio, commercial music, print and photographs, even the brand (a broadcast concept), have all been given over to the Individual to be reincarnated as the YouTube video, the prosumer indie, the blog, the blog comment, the forum, the Tweet, the IM chat, rating & review, the Flickr album, the podcast, the viral email and the mashup.

Real world social networks (and social network applications like email and MySpace that facilitate) are the infrastructure of these new forms of media that emit from the Individual.

SCVA argues that the effect is a new scale of social capital that marks a point of inflection for business and it is this new scaled-up version of social capital that SCVA is determined to highlight the value of.

Whereas, the network infrastructure to shape shared perception could be rented with great flexibility in the broadcast era (i.e. the 30 second spot), access to social networks is a function of social capital.

This new scale social capital is a critical corporate asset.

I spent the first half of the e-book illustrating how these entirely new scales of social capital are evidenced by new scales of the intrinsic elements of social capital which are individual assets (remember, the corporation is a form of individual).  These include: information flow, exertion of influence, certifications of social credentials and reinforcement of identity and recognition.  These are observations that are consistent with Nan Lin’s network theory of social capital, whose approach enables us to link the thinking to social network analysis and economics.

Technologies have evolved and mapped so tightly to the way humans transact, form relationships and create self-identity that it is time for business management to adopt the thinking of leaders in social network theory, such as the University of Chicago’s Ronald Burt.

Like it or not, the shift from broadcast media to IAM has implications throughout the corporate ecosystem.

Almost all of the changes highlighted in the illustration above have occurred exponentially, which is why we experience them as a sudden shift.  The “more of the same”, “everything that changes, stays the same” mentality will not derive competitive advantage from change like this.  It may not even survive change like this.

Does it not seem natural? Project and scale up the power of the individual, and that value of human connection of which we are all so instinctively aware, emerges in amplified forms as well.

In addition to the new scales of intrinsic social capital elements examined in the e-book, I would like to study further the extrinsic variables of social capital that aggregate into collective assets such as trust and network structure.  I am sure that there is similar evidence of new scale that would shed more light on social capital formation, access and use.

I Digg Valdis Krebs, please follow me

I just dugg a post on the Wired Blog Network about Valdis Krebs.  I think you should too.

Here is what The WOMMA Word had to say about the Wired piece yesterday:

Finding the Common Ground Between Steroids and Online Social Networks

Valdis Krebs, a social networks researcher who will be presenting at the annual PopTech conference in Camden, ME this week will be presenting a perhaps, non-intuitive similarity: steroid usage and Facebook. Krebs finds commonalities between the two resulting from the ability to quantify everything as a social network. His view is steroid usage in baseball disseminated quickly because of a closed network of higher performance seekers, players who insulated themselves from outside influence and opinions because they sought company only of those similar individuals. Facebook, MySpace, et al, are all platforms which foster the same insulated contact. We seek those like us, with similar interests, and the result is social networks are created in the same way Major League Baseball’s steroid network was formed.

More from Wired (10/23) | Permalink

Social Capital Value Add is all about linking the work of leaders like Valdis to value based management, so that their value proposition is more easily articulated in global boardrooms.  I think it can help do the same thing for the work of PR and social media practitioners.

Here is what my e-book Introducing Social Capital Value Add has to say about Valdis and a few of the others who are pioneering methods to add value through networks:

“There are many inspiring examples of companies taking a structural approach to strategy, including the work of Wendi Backler at Boston Consulting Group (a fellow alum of mine, and someone I admire) and the clients of Valdis Krebs and John Maloney.  The International Network for Social Network Analysis, founded in 1978 by Barry Wellman, brings together about 1000 members, primarily academics, many of whom consult with corporations.

Popular book and blog author Seth Godin has observed a class of a few million “Digerati” who are dedicated to “using the learning tools built into the Net to get smarter, faster” (Godin, 2005) and he himself evangelizes marketing methods aligned with SCVA. However Godin also notes the minority status of these examples. He describes a new digital divide separating such early adopters from the rest of business’ investors and managers.

SCVA is an attempt to appeal to the sensibilities of the early majority, shift attention away from brand in business circles and bring attention and investment to radically new methods of value creation. There is not much here that will impress the Digerati. Thomas Friedman has attempted to drive bottom-up adoption with a gigantic metaphor and educational effort targeted at individuals in The World is Flat. Malcolm Gladwell picks up on associated tactical marketing communications dynamics in The Tipping Point and Duncan Watts is provocative at the level of product/idea positioning and design.

SCVA would like to facilitate this crossing of the chasm by placing the typically unseen structural sources of corporate control in the networked age directly on the boardroom table using the carrot of increases in corporate value and the stick of performance metrics (along with a Wizard of Oz metaphor to keep the marketing folks awake!).”

Thank you! Reviews of Social Capital Value Add & Memetic Brand

Ideas need people to tell their story.

Thanks to everyone, including the many twitterers, who are helping to improve and spread Social Capital Value Add and Memetic Brand.  I flipped when I saw this tweet.

I would love to add your review to these examples, please send me a link …

Word of Mouth Marketing Association of America based in Chicago:

http://www.womma.org/blog/2008/10/seth-godin-works-in-mysterious-ways

Canadian Marketing Association based in Toronto:

http://www.canadianmarketingblog.com/archives/2008/09/social_capital_value_add_chang_1.html

ValueNetworks.com based in San Francisco:

http://valuenetworks.com/public/item/213118

Kim Kobza, CEO, Neighborhood America, based in Florida:

http://web.mac.com/kpkobza/Inflection_Blocks:_3_minute_podcasts/Inflection_Blocks/Inflection_Blocks.html

Rochelle Grayson, COO, Donat Group, based in Vancouver:

http://rochelle.ca/2008/10/13/beyond-brand-valuation-social-capital-valuation

Jay Deragon, Social Media Strategist & Author of The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

http://twitter.com/JDeragon/statuses/973894442

Geoff Whitlock, President, Life Capture Interactive, based in Toronto

http://www.lifecaptureinc.com/blog/social/2008/09/using-social-media-to-better-your-business

Tim Kitchin, Co-Founder, Glasshouse Partnership based in London, England:

http://www.glasshousepartnership.com/blog/social-capital-value-add

Jordan Willms, Sumolabs blogger, based in Vancouver:

http://www.sumolabs.com/blog/buzz-social-capital-value-add-and-your-company039s-social-capital-opportunity

Canada Blog Friends based in Toronto:

http://www.canadablogfriends.ca/2008/09/social-capital-value-add

The Daily Grind, based in Toronto:

http://dailygrind.brandinfiltration.com/?p=235

John Dumbrille, based on Bowin Island, B.C.:

http://jdumbrille.blogspot.com/2008/09/social-capital-value-add.html

Examples of Social Media

Peter Kim is curating a great list of corporate examples of social media.  Please pass your examples on to him at his blog.

If you are responsible for or are adding a great example to the list and you and/or your client would like me to include fuller case studies of the example in some of my future publications, please get in touch.

Here is a replica of the list at October 14, 2008:

>> Last update: 8 October 2008
>> Total brands: 239

Examples of companies using and being used by social media marketing:

How did this dog get in the boardroom?

A dog has been set loose in your boardroom to bark at you about how business management has changed since 2004.  The story of how it got there is a great little case study in how valuable ideas move from inception anywhere in the world to you in the networked age.

It started with a need and a Google search.

After slugging it out in the social media startup world for years, I was ready for a glass of wine.  So we packed up the family and headed to Paris.  I looked at my MBA program there as an opportunity to put to rest a nagging set of ideas about Web 2.0.  The way in which business value is created and defended has fundamentally changed, but most of the “conversation” about social media is not designed for investors and “C” level corporate management.  From an academic perspective, I was a relative amateur.

Enter a few Google searches …

I discovered a local conference on Social Networks.  Then found myself in a room of about 10 top social network theorists.  I was waaaaay out of my league, but fortunately I was able to connect with Olav Sorenson and Matt Jackson.

Olav took the time to direct my reading.  Google helped me discover additional key pieces.  Matt was encouraging and challenging.  When I finished the paper, I sent it to almost everyone whose work I had read during the formulation, looking for credible feedback.

I received encouraging notes back.  One from Al Ries, co-author of Positioning, which is a book most consider to be a marketing bible.  Top blogger Matt Ingram said the work was “valuable.”  Then Seth Godin, author of the world’s most popular marketing blog and the best selling business books over the last decade, suggested that I submit the idea to www.changethis.com, a Digg-like site for ideas that he co-founded (but no longer runs).

The editorial board at ChangeThis selected the proposal and that is when its fate moved from the hands of a few key “influentials” into the “wild.”

To be published by ChangeThis, the idea had to compete against about a dozen others and be voted to the top.  Social Capital Value Add did not become the 8th most demanded proposal in ChangeThis history because I am a famous author.  I asked my friends and colleagues to support it.  Social capital went to work.  Through a combination of support from close connections and blog entries from looser links,  the idea gets a blast to 20,000 people who care about this sort of thing as part of the 50th issue of ChangeThis (along with the great ideas of John Kotter, Seth Godin, Andrew Abela, Vince Poscente and Jonathan Baskin).

At some point along the way, the momentum has changed.  I started out trying to take this idea as far as I could.  Now I am trying to keep up with it for as long as I can.

My search has changed how information flows around me.  After months of trying to find information, information finds me through connections far and wide. Four people on three different continents alerted me to Mike Arrington’s related post.  I have wandered or been invited into online groups like Seth’s “Triiibes” where Adam Helweh and dozens of others have instantly offered their help just as quick as I can ask.

Paul Wilmott has invited me to write something to introduce SCVA in his small but influential magazine that serves the quantitative finance community and I have connected with the right folks at Dell and Procter & Gamble about reporting on how the principals in SCVA are showing up in their businesses.  I am not sure how these initiatives are going to work out yet, but they are encouraging.

UPDATE: In February 2009, SCVA was selected as a finalist among almost 400 “game changing” ideas from 48 countries in the WeMedia/Ashoka Power of Us: Reimagine Media co-petition.

Social Capital Value Add (SCVA) is an idea that started in the social media startup trenches and was connected by a Google search to experts and influentials.  Wrapped up in a Wizard of Oz metaphor and signaled by a nameless dog, SCVA is powered by the social capital of a few concerned groups and now it has made its way to you from a trusted source.  It is a management and valuation approach that has been developed as a framework to help companies understand and track the impact that communications technology is having on their ability to create and defend value.  Woof, woof.

UPDATE: The SCVA ChangeThis manifesto has been released:

http://www.changethis.com/50.05.SocialCapital

Signal of Altruistic Type and Corporate Motivations

Collin Douma, the real Johnny Cash of social media, started this train of thought rolling with a worthy request. He is a great guy and his sister is doing something cool. Check it out!

I explored memetic branding and altruism in this post over at www.memeticbrand.com.

UPDATE: More on memetic branding & altruism … Memetic Pepsi.

UPDATE 2: My best post on altruism and new economic model.

But the implications of signal of intention are not limited to the branding of a corporation and/or product or service in this era of broadband empowered individuals.

Adoption of Social Capital Value Add ushers in the possibility of new motives for corporate social responsibility. Not only will the corporation be asked to be more accountable for its actions, perhaps the corporation can be encouraged to invest in ways for its social connections – consumers, suppliers, employees, investors, owners, analysts and value added resellers, etc – to move beyond feel-good CSR tactics towards a relationship in which the opportunity is seized by each forging identities based upon greater social contribution.

As I have noted before, there are implications throughout the corporate ecosystem.

“Clarity of shared purpose and principle”, “mission statement” (which is a term that has been around for a while), community values … there are many ways of describing the need for self-organisation through unity of purpose that is characteristic of the era that we live in.

Dee Hock, former CEO of Visa has elaborated the vision of Chaordic Organizations which I think is aligned with this view in his book One From Many. I have not read the book but I did check out this outline. (thanks to John Ringland for bringing this reference to us).

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