This week our experts continued contemplating the customer, both internal and external. While the interactions may be different between the two, we were reminded once again that making things clear, making things simple and providing a clear goal or reward are always appreciated.
A few of our writers were also trying to establish exactly how and where social fits in the enterprise, and if all the beer you drink at SxSWi is a justified business expense (hint: no).
The Internal Customer
Kevin Conroy (@seattlerooster): Do you want social business and collaboration to be seen and valued as more than a fad? Well, focus on productivity! Blunt as it may sound, a social collaboration site better be more than “what’s for lunch.”
This is a big deal in corporations: The social frontier is a new one and for the most part, legal and finance departments have thus far allowed the “Wild West” to happen -- but if there is no value being demonstrated, your time in social paradise will be short.
David Lavenda (@dlavenda): Providing a successful customer experience is hard enough for many organizations, so it’s no wonder creating an equally rewarding and productive experience for employees can seem almost impossible.
Yet, savvy business executives realize that a more collaborative, flexible work environment -- in which people can quickly identify and connect with expert resources, documents and other assets -- is essential to adopting a true social business model.
The External Customer
William Saville (@sharepointux): The argument to provide multi-device and multi-channel support for your website is compelling. Three years ago, desktops made up around 90% of the devices we used to connect to the internet. That percentage has now dropped to around 50%, solely due to the number of smartphones and tablets contented to the internet -- a trend that it’s fair to assume will continue to grow. Anyone that is serious about their web strategy clearly needs to ensure that they can optimize the user experience for mobile users and deliver relevant content across different devices and platforms.
Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern): Support communities, indeed social media in general, is how a potential customer finds out what an organization is really like.
You're buying a car and you've had a wonderful conversation with the sales executive. He goes into his office to get some paperwork and you decide to wander around a bit. You head to the back of the building and you see lots of annoyed and frustrated people.
One of these people comes up to you and complains that they've had a problem with the brakes of the car you are about to buy and that they're still waiting for an answer. Another hears the conversation and says that they have the exact same break problem. Do these conversations make you confident about buying this new car?
Simon Lande: 2012 has been continually claimed as the “year of mobile.” After four (arguably five if you count the 4S) generations of iPhone, three generations of iPad and numerous generations of Android smartphones and tablets, you would think it’s safe to say this is a trend well worth creating a dedicated content and marketing strategy for.
Capturing the Social Zeitgeist
Douglas Heise (@coremedia_news): Social media has completely transformed the way we shop, relax, look for jobs, pursue our hobbies and reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Why hasn't this translated to business?
Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, LinkedIn and Google+ have never been more popular with consumers. According to Nielson's 2011 Social Media Report, social networks and blogs now account for nearly a quarter of the time spent online. Facebook alone reports over 800 million active users. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world!
Marketers and big brands have also embraced social media as a way to reach a broader, more connected audience. Yet despite its exploding consumer popularity, many businesses are not doing enough to leverage it as a tool for connecting with customers, driving conversations around content, and extending their brands online.
Virginia Backaitis: A cloud of confusion fell upon Documentum enthusiasts last month when EMC Information Infrastructure Products President Pat Gelsinger told UK Technology journal v3 that EMC would be focusing its strategy on Cloud and Big Data rather than Social and Mobile.
"Social and mobile are clearly consumer-driven trends and we weren't given consumer DNA,” Gelsinger told the journal. Referring specifically to EMC’s Content Management offering he added, "It's not that Documentum won't participate in the social side but we are just not Facebook.”
James Ainsworth (@sdljames): If social media -- rightly, on occasion -- gets it in the neck for being somewhat of an echo chamber, lost in a battle for hearts and minds or stuck in the contrived toil of crowning content creation versus content curation King, it is perhaps inevitable that the Higgs Boson of social media is the annual pilgrimage of flannel and black-rimmed specs to Austin, Texas for SXSWi.
Nicolás Antonio Jiménez (@nicolasajimenez): There might be no better way to illustrate how important social media is to marketing than the attention that’s been paid to Facebook Pages’ transition to the Timeline format. For better or worse, it’s hard to hear this talked about by professional communicators without getting the sense that the world is being turned upside-down.
The same thing happens any time there’s something sufficiently “new” in social. People freaked when Twitter revamped its layout. They scrambled when YouTube rolled out its new UI.
For those of us in digital asset management (a core tool for many marketers), all the buzz around these products necessarily begs the question, "Where does social fit in DAM?"
Taking Care of Business
Pamela Flora (@puckish222): This is the second in a series designed to show how to use Office 365, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and Windows Phone 7.5 technologies to put together a streamlined, standardized project management system.
Once you’ve created a project site using SharePoint online, use the Microsoft tools found in Office 365 to make project information available to your team. One of the most commonly used features for project teams is the Outlook calendar. Link the calendar on your project site to your Outlook calendar. All team members should have access to this project calendar, and it will appear as a separate calendar on each team member’s Outlook client.
Troy Allen: “Hackers Elect Futurama’s Bender to the Washington DC School Board” -- posted by PCWorld on March 2, 2012.
“STOLEN NASA LAPTOP HAD SPACE STATION CONTROL CODE” -- posted by Discovery News on March 1, 2012.
With headlines like this popping up, it seems a good time to ask the question -- how does your company protect itself from direct hacking or hacking through stolen property?
Next week we'll have have suggestions for how to put SharePoint on the move and there's talk of a revolution. Thanks for checking in with our feature writers.
Title image courtesy of Lonely (Shutterstock).