helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By Simon Preece, Senior Consultant, RMM

If 2010 saw organisations really getting to grips with social media for marketing, 2011 might be the year we see them using social media for internal collaboration as the norm.

Successes and failures – but most importantly, experimentation – saw our awareness of what social media can do for organisations become increasingly sophisticated. Smart organisations are beginning to realise that social media can and should be a benefit for employees as well as customers.

But getting employees to be ‘more social’ isn’t just about how comfortable they are with using @ replies on Twitter – it requires a fundamental shift in how they perceive sharing knowledge in the workplace.

An oft-cited US example is IBM, which has taken the conscious decision not to have a corporate blog – instead empowering employees to drive interactions with customers and help shape the brand online. A decentralised approach has also boosted internal collaboration and knowledge sharing, with 100,000 employees making use of internal blogs to share internal expertise.

Nationwide deployed social media technologies across a number of departments, using Yammer to help redefine the way it interacts with employees. Specifically, the organisation uses Yammer to allow employees to send messages to colleagues or teams either online or via mobile. Within ten months, Nationwide had more than 8,500 employees using Yammer, ensuring knowledge and ideas are shared rather than siloed.

While not all organisations will be so technology-focused, these are good examples of getting the workforce to ‘buy into’ social media. Involving employees right at the start is key, rather than imposing rules of engagement pre-defined by those at the top of the organisation.

That isn’t to say there shouldn’t be some pre-determined guidance – rather, organisations should enable employees to feed in their own knowledge about social media best practice. Providing clear starter guidelines and specific, practical examples of how social media can help in employees’ day-to-day jobs will be helpful, but organisations should also assume these will change. Kodak prefaces its online tips for employees in social media simply with: ‘Feel free to edit to suit your needs’.

For businesses exploring this area, getting employees who are already keen to champion social media on board and enthusiastic will help reassure anyone who is feeling uncertain. This kind of grass-roots persuasion will help give employees the guidance and confidence they need to get fully involved with social media.

By Katy Howell, from social media agency immediate future

“relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships” The official Google blog

As a social media agency, we’ve been watching the dynamic relationship between social and search for a while now; and Google’s recent announcement concerning the development of its social search function is indicative of the changing shape of search.

In 2011, search is getting social.

Google has announced that it will now be integrating social results throughout the search engine results pages; noting if friends have shared these links on one of the social media platforms that Google is taking information from (Quora, Twitter or Flickr); and providing users with more control over which of their social media accounts will inform these results.

Google’s social search acknowledges the value of peer recommendation and personal relevance but it depends on a user being logged into their Google account. In other words, it is an add on service or an adjustment to the algorithm.  We think that social is affecting search at a much deeper level. Read more…

By , Communications Executive, IAB

The debate about social media measurement has been running for as long as we in the IAB Social Media Council can remember (which either means that it’s a significant industry issue OR our excessive dependency on social networks has destroyed our long-term memories, I’d go for the former).

The on-going discussions are based on a number of key questions. Can social media activity be evaluated in the same way as other, more traditional techniques? If yes, which aspects should be measured? What measurement tools are available? Is it expensive? How time consuming is it? Once I have these results, what do they even mean? Difficult questions to answer, and perhaps a lesser group might flee at the prospect of attempting to bring some meaning to the measurement debate, but not the IAB.

The IAB social media council measurement sub group have launched their first initiative of 2011 – a guide to social media measurement and intent which addresses some of the hottest topics within the area and providing further insight on the IAB measurement framework, why it was created and how it works. The guide has been put together by council representatives from TMW, COI, Outside Line; We Are Social, NMIncite and Market Sentinel.

The document really emphasises the importance of objectives in social media, and how concrete intents are essential to bring about meaningful measurement. Inside, we offer an explanation on the differences between earned, owned and bought social media activity, the importance of social media monitoring and why you need to take the time to get to know your audience and your competitors. The guide also breaks down different types of social media focusing on the one size DOESN’T fit all ethos and that different brand/campaign objectives can mean there is a need for a different social media strategy approach to fit within these aims.  It also offers a dedicated section on what’s happening within customer services and social networking? offering suggested objectives, benchmarks and metrics to consider before embarking on customer service activity.

The guide has been written for both advertisers and agencies, and like any IAB Social Media Council initiative, we hope it evolves over time, so greatly value your feedback.

By Sarah Wood, Founder & Director, Unruly Media

The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Green Bay Packers in Dallas in the so-called ‘biggest show on Earth’ on Sunday, but the match itself has not been the main topic of discussion – it’s the ads that have dominated discussion, and that’s because the Super Bowl is not only America’s biggest sporting spectacle, it’s also the biggest event in the US advertising calendar. It’s been said that the real winners of the Super Bowl are not necessarily those wearing pads and helmets, but those in the slick suits and skinny ties; however, with a 30-second slot during the main event costing almost £2million, and with over two thirds of America watching, the stakes could not be higher and ad pundits around the world are whipping themselves up into a frenzy right now, eager to predict which big brands will return victorious and which will see their hopes ground into the Dallas dust. Read more…

By Mairi Clark, senior pr and marketing manager, IAB

It may seem incongruous that the doyenne of Seventies’ “high-tech” retailing, Argos, and the Queen Bee of digital, Facebook, have tied up a deal, but in the world of Facebook Deals, this shouldn’t be deemed that unusual.

I’ll declare myself now. I’m a huge fan of Argos. I love its ability to understand consumers and what they want, and how to serve them. To put Facebook Deals to one side, Argos – to me – at least is a retailer who totally embraces the “bricks to clicks” ethos that was bandied about when I first started writing about digital in the mid-nineties.

Argos allows the consumer to decide what they want: order online and wait for delivery, order online and pick up from the store, or check availability and then browse the ubiquitous catalogue in store. Perfect. Allow the consumer to pick how it works with your retail brand, don’t force them to use something they don’t want to.

Will its arrangement work with Facebook Deals? Yes.

Facebook Deals’ biggest challenge it to fight off the Daily Mail’s readers who will dislike the close targeting that this will allow marketers (though it will probably take them a while to work that out).

My barometer will be when Facebook Deals starts to permeate past the Big Boys like Starbucks et al and goes for smaller retailers, or more obscure. Then it will have really lit the touchpaper. But as for the data issue, I’m happy telling people about myself if I get what I use and for cheaper. In these times of austerity, we all have to fly the flag for frugality. Just ask poor Wills and Kate. Bet she’s gutted.