Monday, March 10, 2008

sxsw: 3.10.08 Session on Going Social Now

sxsw: 3.10.08 Session on Going Social Now

Bottom line words: business use of social media, social networking, word of mouth, new metrics

Shiv Singh, sponsored session by Avenue A | Razorfish

Shiv Singh has been with Avenue A | Razorfish since 1999 and has worked in its Boston, New York, San Francisco and London offices. He helps clients leverage digital technologies to develop meaningful and value driven customer and employee relationships. As Director, Global Strategic Initiatives, Shiv is tasked with building Avenue A | Razorfish's Social Media capabilities. He recently returned to Avenue A | Razorfish full time after having completed graduate work at the London School of Economics & Political Science where he researched social networks. Prior to that, he founded and led the Global Enterprise Solutions practice at Avenue A | Razorfish.

A very interesting web site can be found at for trends, commentary and news affecting the social media landscape.

If you think social media is all about clever corporate marketing on Facebook or quirky videos on YouTube, you're missing an opportunity to change your company's entire culture and operations, says Shiv. In fact, social media can affect how companies innovate, test ideas, recruit talent, measure performance and interact with all their stakeholders.

Shiv explains how the enterprise can use social media to improve business practices. He talks about the rise of social media has created a new form of marketing altogether, referred to as social influence marketing.

Social influence marketing is about employing social media as part of the entire lifecycle of a marketing campaign, even beyond a campaign.

He says many people want to shop collaboratively now – so how can you create an environment so that a group can plan together. So at Emory we could apply this to shopping for healthcare services or looking for a university.

Compliance: an individual agrees with a point of view.

So the new marketing dimension looks at brand marketing [flooding mailboxes], then direct response, now social influence marketing. Social media is a means to an end.

How can we participate in this? He measures trust in advertising in an elaborate chart that cannot be easily repeated here – but essentially he says social influence is becoming more important than traditional advertising.

So, how does a company launch into this? What about the changes behind the scenes now moving to the next steps? You cannot drag users to a corporate web site any more. People are using web sites that aggregate choices and people discuss them. A corporate web site is just a quick stop in the decision-making process and not that important.

In the traditional world you left this to marketing but you cannot any longer. All departments in an organization have links with the customer – strategy, research, operators, marketing, HR, and corporate communications. It is not about a consistent voice, it is about multiple voices speaking to audiences.

If you are a company, says Shiv, building a blog needs to have a focus – once you know a real purpose for it, then you can move forward.

Today you need to let the customer shape the experiences. Many channels now in addition to your corporate web site.

Do this, says Shiv:
Become your consumer
aggregate information for your consumer
articulate product benefits better
amplify the favorite business stories
participate where your consumer are
don’t do it all at once
Social media has been around a while, so experiment and see what works.

Now to transition and theoretical:

How are online communities changing over time? Social networks matter because there is too much information and it helps to go to your network for filters to find what you want.

The “strength of weak ties” is more powerful than strong ties. Information diffused through weak ties; strong ties are insular; strong ties-weak ties- absent ties [the name is know but that is it] and they are useless.

Now Shiv talks about “centrality” is trying to determine the most influential people – so many people connecting through one person. Also, a person may not need to talk to any one person to gain information. When you talk about social influence, you need to understand who is influential. Now he discusses Singletons, Giant Components and Middle Regions. So how do networks grow over time? There is a large middle group.

Key points: people join networks if they have friends there; behavior is influenced by others; growth occurs in the centrality; people will disseminate information from social networks; trust is essential for information sharing; and user based evaluations are important to collaboration.

Okay, now back to the tactical tips:

Sheraton hotel brand allows user reviews on its web site because people are influenced by others and personal connection.
CNN has re-launched the web site after feedback about it and published all of the feedback on the design for a conversation with consumers ongoing.

Garnier Fructese created a viral campaign using a fake story and had a lot of fun with some ads as entertainment. Humor was important and a series of clips spead across the blogosphere and gained huge attention. Then the NYT covered it. The audience realized that the company had hair products based on this.

What about project runway? Shiv created a online site so users could create their own clothing. It was successful because consumers talked to each other and social influence affected the success.

Shiv gives more examples, but the blog is getting long to read, if you actually made it this far!