IBM’s Vice President of Social Business Evangelism, Sandy Carter spoke to Forbes about. her latest book called Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. In this role, she is responsible for helping to set the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiative. In 2011, Women in Technology inducted Ms. Carter into their Hall of Fame for the impact she had on the social media and Social Business marketplace. You can read her blog or follow her on Twitter @sandy_carter. In this interview, Sandy talks about what social business is, how to build a social strategy, measuring a successful campaign, and more.
Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Evangelism, IBM
How do you define “social business”?
Ten years ago there was a significant shift in the way people interacted with each other: the web came to the workplace and became a serious business tool for organizations in industries of every kind. Today, the evolution continues with the coming of age of Social Business as social computing, policies, governance and cultures are integrated into enterprise design and organizations are focused on socially-enabling business processes.
A Social Business isn’t a company that just has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social Business means that every department, from HR to marketing to product development to customer service to sales, uses social media the way it uses any other tool and channel to do its job. It’s an organization that uses social networking tools fluently to communicate with people inside and outside the company. It’s a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, identify expertise and enable a more effective workforce.
What does the acronym AGENDA stand for and why is it important?
Companies around the world are now focused on becoming Social Businesses, estimated to be a $100B market by 2015. But perhaps the most daunting part of becoming a social business is how to start the journey. That’s where creating an AGENDA plays a vital role. In order to become successful in social business, an organization needs to create its own personalized Social Business Agenda that addresses the company’s culture, trust between management and employees and the organization and its constituencies, engagement behind and outside of the firewall, risk management, and of course, measurement. So what does AGENDA stand for…
A – Aligning your goals and culture to be ready to become more engaging and transparent. Do not underestimate the task ahead of you! Take a look at IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines as a way to get started!
G – “Gain Friends through Social Trust” focuses on finding your fans, friends and followers, and forming best friends from your tippers or most influential clients or outside parties. It dives into what social trust is all about and how you instill it.
E – Engage through experiences focuses on how a company can engage its clients and employees and dives into gaming, virtual gifting, location based, mobile, or other stellar experiences to drive that engagement.
N – Network your processes. Since this is about business, figuring out how to add social to your processes is critical. Think about customer service — adding in Twitter to address your customer’s concerns. Or Crowdsourcing for product innovation, or Communities for incrementing your marketing processes around loyalty.
D – Design for Reputation and Risk Management! This is the #1 areas of focus for the C-level — managing the risk of having your brand online, your employees being your brand advocates, and even your clients becoming your marketing department! I think the value outweighs the risk .. but see how to develop a Disaster Recovery plan as you plan for the worst, and expect the best!
A – Analyze your data! Social analytics are the new black! You need to see the patterns of sentiment, who your tippers are, and listen daily.
How do you measure the success of social media over time? How do you know if you’re doing it right?
Measuring social success depends on how social media serves other campaigns and business processes. Social media’s impact from a marketing perspective has created a lot of buzz and measurement is still being fine tuned. Does having 100,000 Twitter followers help to drive sales? Still a difficult figure to measure.
But, with social business there are several areas where the adoption of social impacts the business and measurement is much less convoluted. For example:
1. Social business increases productivity
Free up sellers’ time to generate revenue
Faster on-boarding of sellers & acquisitions
Process complex deals faster
2. Social business help to enhance innovation
Develop better solutions faster
Reuse assets from best practices
3. Social business reduces cost
Travel, email, phone calls reduced
Reduced system complexity and maintenance
When hiring for your organization, do you look at how many fans/followers someone has and if they are influential? Across the company, does this matter?
It certainly shouldn’t be the only thing an employee is judged on when applying for a new position, but establishing a social reputation is absolutely an important aspect to anyone’s career in today’s business environment. And it’s growing in importance for organizations who are on their social business journey and are encouraging employees to become the voice of the organization like at IBM. It’s important to remember, if you aren’t active over social networks now, it’s never too late to start!
At IBM, we’re dedicated to helping every IBMer engage over social networks and establish their online reputation. This year we launched an internal, interactive, educational and of course, social, resource called Social Business @ IBM on our intranet that educates IBMers about social media and various social initiatives taking place internally while enabling them to participate. We host modules that provide the IBMer with an introduction to the social web. They learn how to use social computing tools to foster collaboration, disseminate and consume news, develop networks, forge closer relationships, and build credibility. As a result, they’re better informed and prepared to take action on behalf of IBM. We’re
providing the tools to help IBMers establish their digital reputation and two-fold, helping to enhance IBM’s brand
What are your thoughts when it comes to employees social network use inside and outside of the office?
It’s a must-have, competitive advantage! Using social media is a requirement in today’s business climate and has become fundamental to getting real work done, to collaborating with colleagues, customers, partners, etc. According to IBM’s 2010 CEO Study, 57% of companies who have invested in social business tools have out performed their peers citing collaboration as having a direct impact on their organization’s growth. In order to compete in today’s business environment, you can’t opt out of social.
Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, a full-servicepersonal branding agency. Dan is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, and publisher ofPersonal Branding Magazine. He has worked with companies such as Google, Time Warner, Symantec, IBM, EMC, and CitiGroup.