Category Archives: web 2.0

HR technology trending in a Web 2.0 direction

More companies are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking tools, blogs and webcasts for internal communications and as part of their overall technology mix, according to Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey.

Some key findings:

  • Since the economic downturn began, 72% of employers have increased their use of an intranet and 61% have increased their use of email to communicate with employees.
  • Newer technologies have made a strong entrance, finding that 32% of companies increased their use of webcasts, 13% have increased their use of social netowrking tools and 12% have increased their use of blogs for communication.
  • Many organizations continue to use manual processes for talent management, including succession planning (53%), career development (48%) and workforce planning (55%).
  • More than half (56%) of organizations are planning to increase their use of talent management technology over the next two years.
  • Companies are most rapidly adopting role-based employee portals (personalized to the user). Survey results show 41% of companies have already deployed or are piloting role-based employee portals and 24% are planning to adopt them in the next 24 months.

“Web 2.0 technologies work well, in most instances, for targeting specific employee and manager groups, and companies are using them in appropriate situations,” said Jon Osborne, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt.

“Using tools such as role-based portals, internal blogs and webcasts ensures that both managers and employees can send and receive tailored messages in an engaging format. This is useful for improving productivity and maintaining employee morale and engagement, particularly in this difficult economic time.”

Twitter to swim with the big fishes in business marketing

Most of the Twitter users who use it to promote their small business expect their company’s use of the popular microblogging tool to increase during the next six months, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs.

The informal survey revealed that the practice of using Twitter as a business tool is gaining acceptance as an important piece of social media marketing. According to the MarketingProfs survey, 84% of respondents say their company’s use of Twitter will increase, with 46% saying the increase will be by a “significant” margin.

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Compared to other social media tools, Twitter ranks second only to company blogs in perceived value. Company blogs and Twitter still rank ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook.

“This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool, but as something that can provide real value for their company or business,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs. “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.” Additional Twitter research from MarketingProfs revealed that Twitter users are primarily motivated by the learning and immediacy components of the application. (MarketingCharts)

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

If the Pope can 2.0, so can you

Pope2you

Pope2you

Think your company is too top-down, too conservative or too traditional to get involved in social media? Think again.

You’re never too anything to get involved in the conversation.

Seriously, if the Pope can do it, so can you. On the Pope’s new web site (http://pope2you.net), visitors can connect with other followers using his Facebook application, wiki, iPhone app and even the Vatican’s YouTube channel.

Get out there and answer the social phone, because your customers are talking about you whether you like it or not.

(Thanks to Workplace Learning Today for bringing it to our attention.)

Challenge #1: Proving the ROI of social media

As marketers, we’re under constant pressure to prove that our tactics are working. In order to show that what we’re doing is effective, we need numbers – cold, hard, measurable numbers to back up a high return on investment.

Unfortunately, when it comes to social media, finding those measurable numbers can be  quite challenging.

Marketers cited the “inability to measure ROI” as one of the largest barriers to adopting social media tactics by their company, according to MarketingSherpa research.

“This barrier is more of a perception than a reality because social media often requires qualitative measurement rather than the quantitative metrics that online marketers have become accustomed to,” say the Sherpas.

In order to measure ROI, you need two numbers: an investment cost and income returned. The easier you can find these two factors, the easier it is to measure your tactic and show that what you’re doing is working (or not).

MarketingSherpa’s most recent Chart of the Week reveals the social media tactics marketers find to be the most accurately measurable.

Proving the ROI of social media

Proving the ROI of social media

The top three most measurable tactics include advertising on blogs or social networks, online news release distribution and user reviews or ratings.

Instead of throwing out the bottom tactics – forums or discussion groups, blogging on a company blog, creating profiles on social networks – the Sherpas suggest factoring in more qualitative values into your perceived ROI.

“Those who don’t include qualitative factors in the planning of their social media programs may find themselves employing much less effective tactics, simply for the sake of perceived measurability, resulting in a loss of confidence in performance.”

They’re talking about you, like it or not

I ran across some great advice today at the B2B Marketing Blog that needed to be passed along. In today’s post, Brian Courtney delivers some wise words:

“People will be talking about your brand with or without you. You may as well take part in the conversation.”

And he warns that there’s a new type of ROI out there – the Risk Of Ignoring.

Even if you thing you’re doing it wrong, just being a part of social media is the right way to go.

Read the full B2B Marketing Blog post.

More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.

B2B agencies showing “gloom and doom” the door

Business-to-business ad agencies had it tough last year, with total ad spending down 2.6% from 2007, according to Nielson Monitor-Plus.

Though advertising took a hit, many b-to-b agencies were able to grow their business last year, with some reporting their most profitable years ever.

How did they do it?

According to a BtoB Online Special Report, those businesses found success by focusing on three major areas:

  1. Understanding their clients;
  2. Developing relevant, compelling creative
  3. Expanding into new areas such as green marketing and social media

Winners from this year’s Top Agencies Special Report added that in order to succeed in today’s market, B2B businesses will need a healthy dose of “optimism, boldness and creative thinking.”

“If you are smart, you get lifted up by the recession, not pulled down by it,” said Rick Segal, CEO of HSR Business to Business, Cincinnati, winner of the midsize category. “It is an opportunity to grow and become more profitable in terms of building your business and bringing new ideas to clients, even if they’re not asking for them.”

With an increase in revenue by 30%, 2008 was HSR’s best year on record. The agency explored new opportunities in online video and social media, even with some of the company’s most traditional clients like John Deere & Co.

“We live in a time of extraordinary change—change that will be amplified and accelerated by the recession, ushering in perhaps a new age of business transformation,” said John Favalo, managing partner-group B2B at Eric Mower & Associates, runner-up in the midsize category. “Business models, marketing and communications will transform, and successful agencies will be instrumental in helping clients through the dramatic changes.”

Read the full BtoB Online article.

How has your organization responded to the changing market? Are you using new media, including online video and social media to improve your chances of success?