Tracking and measuring Social media marketing has been of utmost interest to me the last couple of months, with more and more enterprises, SMEs and startups taking to social media marketing with vigor, it becomes important to measure and track results and effectively make data driven decisions to increase revenue / brand awareness.

The first step is of course to listen and monitor. The presentation below is a great place to start understanding the importance of monitoring conversations and buzz around your brand on Social Media.

The 4 step process of Listen -> Plan -> Respond -> Evaluate

seems to be the most effective for tackling problems and quickly closing the loop.

Stayed tuned here for a detailed analysis of Monitoring tools, both free and fee-based which you can use to monitor buzz, sentiment and conversations about your brand.

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What’s your design ?

March 25, 2008

Do you think simplicity is the be all and end all of design ? Is it the panacea that we are all looking for ?

Quite a profound pic that has been floating around on the web.

Steve Job’s take on “What is design ? ”

In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product.

PS: Emphasis mine 🙂

Social networks are quite the buzz in 2007, with more and more people waking up to Facebook and MySpace, as they feel these networks are changing the way they manage and maintain their relationships.

Facebook and MySpace continue are leaders in this segment, and it looks like for the first time Facebook might actually be gaining more popularity.

Facebook vs MySpace

To me, it seems quite obvious why more and more are favoring Facebook. Going beyond the consumer space, it offers much more features to the business community to network and showacse their products.

One of the key aspects of Facebook’s success has been due to their open architecture and the ability for the dev community to create apps on top of Facebook. Facebook currently has an entire category of business applications with over 227 different applications  offered today, none of them built by Facebook itself. This is a new value proposition to corporates, moving from the old paradigm of creating groups or microcosms within a social network for their particular organzation.

Using the new open architecture, companies can actually showcase their products to a wide audience of engaged, tech savy users willing to use some of these biz apps in their everyday life. Life Zoho’s Office suite Facebook app which allows you to access your documents through Facebook. Their is a lot of opportunity for a company like Zoho to leverage this – for instance linking Zoho Calendar into Facebook so that you can link up your events from Facebook into your main Zoho Calendar which you use at your company.

Or probably have contacts imported from Zoho CRM, and network with these contacts on Facebook ?

Business applications for Facebook include offerings from well known companies such as eBay, Zoho, Jobster, and Blue Nile that offer integration with their home sites and data. There are other small business apps which provide To Do lists, appointment management, managing business cards etc. Other popular business apps include virtual stock exchanges, job finding widgets, and small content management packages.

But an interesting trend is that, none of these business apps have a user base which is close enough to other popular Facebook apps. Is this because social networking as a concept has not been understood by corporates or probably they haven’t realized the need for having a Facebook presence. Whatever the case is, Facebook with it’s open architecture is definitely moving us towards the “Web as a platform” era and this holds out a lot of promise for large corporations in advertising, media, CRM, and other departments in traditional businesses.

How do you think Facebook can be better leveraged by the business community ?

For over quite some time now, there has been a great interest in using Web 2.0 concepts withing the enterprise. The whole concept of Web 2.0 has been evolving and has gained iconic status in business and technical worlds alike.

Web 2.0 has many concepts associated with it – blogs, wikis, mashups, social networking, RSS, content tagging and many more. Most of these concepts are based on an user centric approach where the user is the focal point of action/attention. Enterprises are hence realizing that it makes a lot of sense to replicate these concepts within their organization to improve collaboration and communication and hence improve productivity.

However using Web 2.0 concepts within an enterprise requires a drastic mind shift within people. Information is now openly available, and people can easily express their views on the same. This will need to go hand in hand with a good change management and user education process.

Below is a diagram that I find very intuitive about Enterprise 2.0, courtesy Dion Hinchcliffe from ZDNET

Enterpirse Web 2.0

The idea here is look at enterprise 2.0 from two prespectives – Internal facing and extrernal facing. Here’s my take on the most important faces of Enterprise 2.0

  1. Collaboration 2.0 – An unoffical term for the collaboration strategies within the enterpise, this seems to be gaining a lot of traction within enterprises. The ability for multiple people to work on a document and then have preset workflows which get kicked in, are very useful and can play a key role in improving efficiency and productivity. SharePoint (or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) is a product which I think holds a lot of promise in this space and clearly there is a lot of traction around using MOSS 2007 within large enterprises and ISVs.
    Other collaboration tools which are popularly used within enterprises include Wikis, which hold a lot of promise for easy information sharing and editing.
  2. Syndication/RSS feeds – This would enable everyone to keep in touch with items most important to them through notifications, feeds etc
  3. Informal modes of communication  – This has led to the use og instant messaging services, SMS, etc for communication with the enterprise.
  4. Rich User Experience (UX) – This is becoming ever so important in the Enterprise 2.0 era. The ability to engage users and have them get their work done easily is of primary importance. Some examples include Rich Internet applications built on AJAX, Flex, Flash, and Silverlight. Other concepts such as Office Business Applications (OBA) enable pulling in data from Line of business systems and surface them up in portals with a rich user experience.
  5. Employee blogs – Blogs are an ideal channel for employees to showcase their ideas and also put up their questions, opinions etc. Blogs are also being used as marketing tools where companies primarily use their blogs/ employee blogs as showcase pieces or even to break some important news about product releases etc to the world.
  6. Software as a Service (SaaS) – Desktop software is becoming passe` in the web 2.0 world and running softwares on the network (or cloud) is potentially one of the best software models which has a lot of potential.