This week I attended the Enterprise Social 2.0 conference in Brussels. Organization of the event was done by KGS Global. It was the second edition after the first in Amsterdam last year.
The theme of the conference was ‘Building Customer Relationships through Social Media’ and had international speakers from different blue chip companies such as KLM, AB Inbev, BMW, Toyota, 3M, Lego… A nice list of experts in the Social Media industry was lined up.
Overall the conference showed good cases of how social media is used in these companies. To my opinion, the focus was too much on using social media as a new way of communication, a new channel. Not enough on how companies can use the technology to make your company a customer centric company and really build relationships, long term.
Some speakers touched more than communication and showed that transferring to a customer centric approach is the way to go.
Cross presentations I gathered some conclusions:
- No one really has the magic formula on how to define the ROI of the Social Media investments. Nevertheless, some try to measure it beyond the classic followers, retweets, … KPI’s.
Jef Vandecruys, AB Inbev, for example is measuring return on efforts by Brand Health, thinking long term, both strategy and budget wise. In their formula they include a fan index score that has influence on brand equity and engagement.
Christopher Wellbelove, BT, turned the question around and asked what the cost would be of not being present.
- The importance of the management buy-in and employee involvement was another point some of the speakers mentioned as a challenge but important dimension.
Having the top management of the company behind you is important to avoid the ROI question each time you do something, because a lot of companies are still learning and experimenting. Also the culture of the company, the involvement of more than just a central team was stressed.
A nice case is the Roger Smith Hotel, a small hotel in New York that was successfully putting money in social media. They estimate 20% of their bookings to be influenced by Social Marketing in 2011.
- A lot of companies are experimenting, or at a certain point, forced to learn. ‘Learning’ and ‘trail-and-error’ was mentioned in a lot of cases. Learn by doing is common practice.
Crisis or specific events are used to learn. Some companies presenting, such as Toyota, were forced to use Social Media and learn on the go, while others took the opportunity of an ash cloud (KLM) or an earthquake (MSF) to use social media.
- Go beyond the basics. A lot of cases were, as said, rather basic in terms of using social media. Or very short term, installing a digital infrastructure, a must have presence.
Some already see the opportunity of going beyond basics and focus less on platforms but more on the message, as the BT speaker mentioned. 3M also explained how they use social media in a broader way such as market research, co-creation, … And Lego is a classic example of how to use social media to co-create with your fans.
Some interesting highlights:
- Peter Espersen, Lego, had an interesting presentation on how they use social media to liaise with the users of their products. Lego has a fan relations department which shows how they value the importance of building relations. AFOL is the Adult Fans Of Lego community, a very important fan group of Lego.
At Lego they have set up an ambassador program. Each ambassador has contact with a local group of fans. They engage the ambassadors in project rooms online to communicate about what goes on. According to Peter the Lego network of ambassadors picks up things faster than monitoring tools.
Besides facilitating the conversations they also believe that monitoring what goes on among the fans is more important than what Lego seeds in the community.
And not everything is online. Lego employees, including executives, try to attend offline events regularly. Offline events, which gathered 2.6 million fans over the world in 2010.
- Adam Wallace, The Roger Smith Hotel, gave a very interesting view on how a small (130 rooms) hotel can benefit from a good digital strategy. The key message he gave was, go beyond the basics. Most hotels focus on a static website with pictures of the rooms, while this hotel created a video based blog.
Adam talked about some key dimension in their strategy, among others:
– create shareable content, illustrated by this video httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL-G_y8Q_qc
– use real faces of employees, show who you are
– build presence for specific communities/partnerships
– let others sell for you
– be accessible, show that you care
- BT, represented by Chris Wellbelove, was an intresting B2B case. Some takeaways from this presentation:
– stop thinking about platforms, think messages.
Engage, interactively, in a two way communication.
- Intergrate your SM efforts & blog in your website.
- Use video, preferably around 3 minutes.
– When you communicate, think about what the consumer
wants to talk about and not what you want to say. Turn that around.
When it comes to a social media policy within the company, BT looks at it this way:
‘your people are important, they are an army of ambassadors. See them as an opportunity’
The policy at BT is focusing on what employees should do, and not what they shouldn’t do. Wellbelove says a policy should be used as guidance, encouragement and a sign of trust.