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Social Technologies & Value Creation

Social technologies “may become the most powerful tools yet developed to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers — the kind of workers who help drive innovation and growth, and who are going to be in increasingly short supply.

This is one of the surprising takeaways from our recent research on the economic impact of social technologies. The business world knows (or thinks it knows) a lot about how social technologies are changing the world. With consumers spending gobs of time in online communities (more than 1.5 billion consumers around the globe have an account on a social networking site and almost one in five online hours is spent on social networks), marketing departments have increasingly shifted their attention to social media. They’re not only advertising and creating their own social sites, they’re engaging with consumers, listening in on unfiltered conversations, and soaking up huge amounts of data on consumer behavior — all of which is producing nifty new insights for fine-tuning product requirements and marketing messages.

It’s powerful stuff that will continue to evolve and change the way that companies market to consumers and B2B customers. But, it turns out that there’s something even more powerful at play: the potential for value creation when social technologies are used to improve collaboration and communication within and across enterprises is twice as big as the value that can be created through all other uses across the value chain.

Via Social Media’s Productivity Payoff

Networking for the Win

Too many people fail at the followup, IMHO.

1. Press the flesh.

The core to networking is meeting people face to face. Except for rare occasions, such as long-distance online romances, all the friends and business colleagues that we trust we’ve met in person. If you think you can be an effective networker solely by engaging in social media, you’re sorely wrong. You have to get out and press the flesh.

4. Always follow up.

This is the core of all networking: following up. If you don’t do it, you might as well never have met the person. I would estimate that one out of 20 people I hand my business card to follows up. Collecting business cards without following up is a wasted engagement. It only takes days for the person to completely forget meeting you. If you follow up with some level of context of your meeting it increases the value and impact of the meeting. To remember that meeting, take notes on the business card.

When you do follow up, be specific about your follow up. Don’t just say, “Nice to have met you,” or, “We should meet for coffee sometime,” because that now puts the onus on the other person to set up the meeting and discuss its purpose. That’s quite a burden. If you want that to happen, you need to set the place, time, and purpose of the discussion.

7. Listen.

Yes, it’s good to be directed about what you’re doing and have focus, but you’ll be a far more effective networker and make better connections if you simply listen to others. If someone else isn’t as much a talker as you are, then ask questions. Pull them out of their shell; that will let you to listen to them. Networking is not an opportunity for you to spout out marketing copy that you hope someone else will absorb. Your job is to listen and create a relationship first.

Via 10 networking tactics that most people screw up

Hi, My Name is Lisa

Surveys asking people to predict behavior are notoriously unreliable, but there’s other data showing the powerful impact of even a modest connection. In my book Brainfluence, I devote a chapter to “schmoozing.” One rather startling finding comes from a study performed by researcher Al Roth.

Roth used The Ultimatum Game, a clever experiment in which one subject must divide a small amount of money, say, $10, between himself and a second subject. If the second subject agrees with the split, both keep their share of the money. If the other person rejects the split, though, nobody gets any money. In its basic form, it shows that humans place a value on fairness. While a totally rational economist would accept even a mere $1 (since that’s better than the alternative of zero for a rejected offer), real people tend to reject splits that heavily favor the first subject. In fact, in the standard game only half of the offers are “fair” – arbitrarily defined as both subjects getting $4-6. About a third of the time, the deal is rejected and nobody gets any money.

Roth tried a variation on the standard game in which he let the subjects chat face to face for ten minutes before playing. This was pure socializing – they didn’t know the rules of the game they’d play, and there was no discussion of strategy. This simple bit of schmoozing had a dramatic impact on the game results. After the face to face chat, 83% of the deals were “fair,” and just 5% – one out of 20 – resulted in rejection and loss of money for both subjects.

Via Schmoozing Still Works!

What Else Would You Like to Talk about?

It’s as if your clients or customers had called you on the phone to tell you how awesome they thought you were, and you said, “Hey thanks!” and then hung up.

In social media, your audience can’t see that you’re actually still standing there waiting for the next engagement volley. “Thanks!” pretty much says, “We’re done here,” so they move on. In order to get them to stick around, it’s up to you to add cues or prompts to your initial answer to keep the conversation moving forward (now, or in the future).

For example these are door opening comments …

Thanks for your comment! What’s the link to the post you wrote on this topic?
LOL! Next time you’re in town, let me know. I’d love to buy you coffee.
That’s a great suggestion. What else can we do to improve our site?
Too true. You have such great insights on this. Ever consider guest blogging?
You can find that info on our website. Are there any questions I could answer for you right now?

Via The Art of Opening Social Conversations

The Platonic Version of the News Tweet

Steadiness — compelling news expressed in straightforward, not hyperbolic, language — is actually a component of maximally shareable content, the algorithm suggests. And this particular tweet is also sent from a credible source, The New York Times, which makes it extra-spreadable. It’s about technology, the most popular, shareable category of news story. It’s engaging without being insistent. And it stars a company — Apple — with high name recognition.

The algorithm comes courtesy of a fascinating paper [pdf] from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs. The researchers Roja Bandari, Sitram Asur, and Bernardo Huberman teamed up to try to predict the popularity — which is to say, the spreadability — of news articles in the social space…

To develop their algorithm, the researchers hypothesized that four factors would determine an article’s social success:

    • The news source that creates and publishes the article
    • The category of news the article belongs to (technology, health, sports)
    • Whether the language in the article was emotional or objective
    • Whether celebrities, famous brands, or other notable institutions are mentioned

Via Why the World’s Most Perfect News Tweet Is Kind of Boring

Identify Your Influencers

Online Social Networks can be Tipped by as Little as 0.8% of their Population

The spreading of a trend or behavior in a social network is a very active area of research.  One very important model of trend spreading is the “tipping” model.  With tipping, an individual in a network adopts a trend if at least half (or some other proportion) of his or her friends have previously done so.  An important problem in viral marketing is to find a “seed set” of individuals in the social network.  If all members of a “seed set” in a social network initially adopt a certain trend, then a cascade initiates through the tipping model which results in the entire population adopting that trend.  So, if a viral marketer wants to provide free samples of a product to certain individuals, a seed set is likely a good place to start.

Facebook’s Future?

After Facebook fails

The amazing thing here is that business keeps trying to improve advertising — and always by making it more personal — as if that’s the only way we can get to Michael’s “sweeping, basic, transformative, and simple way to connect buyer to seller and then get out of the way.” Three problems here:

  1. By its nature advertising — especially “brand” advertising — is not personal.
  2. Making advertising personal changes it into something else that is often less welcome.
  3. There are better ways to get to achieve Michael’s objective — ways that start on the buyer’s side, rather than the seller’s.

…In , which Chris Locke, David Weinberger, Rick Levine and I wrote in 1999, we laid into business — and marketing in particular — for failing to grok the fact that in networked markets, which the Internet gave us, individuals should lead, rather than just follow. So, since business failed to get Cluetrain’s message, I started in mid-2006 at Harvard’s Berkman Center. The idea was to foster development of tools that make customers both independent of vendors, and better able to engage with vendors. That is, for demand to drive supply, personally. (VRM stands for .)

Imagine being able to:

  • name your own terms of service
  • define for yourself what loyalty is, what stores you are loyal to, and how
  • be able to gather and examine your own data
  • advertise (or “intentcast”) your own needs in an anonymous and secure way
  • manage your own relationships with all the vendors and other organizations you deal with
  • … and to do all that either on your own or with the help of that work for you rather than for sellers (as most third parties do)