Monday, November 29, 2010

Notes from TSIA presentation: The State of Social Media and Support

Earlier this month I attending a fantastic webinar presented by TSIA on the State of Social Media and Support. You can click here to see it for yourself. John Ragsdale from TSIA presented the results of the 2010 TSIA social media survey and talked about common questions, issues, and misconceptions about enterprise social networking.
The webinar also featured David James from Salesforce talking about their service cloud and their focus to integrate twitter with their other tools. the most spending is going towards social service-expanding the reach of support into social media.

The survey results were enlightening. The full report is available on the TSIA website.

Overall, attendees learned, not surprisingly, that social media use in business is growing. But the more nuanced details showed some interesting shifts in the placement of these activities.

1. Organizationally, social media is shifting from Marketing to Customer Service

Respondents showed a shift from marketing over to customer service:

2009 - 44 percent;
2010 - 31 percent

Customer Service: 2009- 14 percent,
2010- 22 percent

John found this worrying, because he believes that much of the content will need to be branded. If it is customer support people providing content and they are not aligned to the PR messages they might undermine the brand. He thinks it is a risky trend that responsibility is shifting towards customer service if they are not properly training on marketing priorities.

2. While social media activity grows, the investment in this focus has been tiny.

There is a lot of use of all social media tools: facebook, wiki, blogs, forums, and video

And yet, staffing of FT employees in social media is still almost nonexistent:

-It went from very low (64% had 0 FT in 2009)
-to slightly better (54% had 0 in 2010)
Lastly, and in my mind, most importantly, John pointed out room for much needed growth:

3. Social Media is not getting the support that it should from the rest of the organization.
It is slowly becoming more integrated with the corporate website, but it is still only 24%, there is no integration with CRM, ways for people to see how customers are interacting with social media, becoming based in the history. Federated search of knowledge base and forum info is not put together so that an issue can be searched.

They have seen many opportunities for leveraging internal customer communities. Xerox is saving millions per year by sharing technical issues globally. Professional services are creating usable libraries of code and sharing that information.2011 will see examples of enterprises using internal communities.

The information TSIA has gathered is enlightening, especially when looking at the two years of data and beginning to define trends in enterprise social networking. The location of social media activity within the organization is a fascinating question, and I would say that there are pros and cons that one must balance no matter where this focus ends up calling home.

In my community management of Saba Customer Community, I live in the support organization.

We use our new collaboration software Saba Live to create a community that functions on many levels, and support is a large part of its mission and its value for Saba customers and employees.
But it is also easy to draw connections to other areas within Saba. Saba Live is software we offer to our customers, to create their own internal communities to enhance collaboration, performance management, and all aspects of people management.

Customers who already use our Centra Web Conferencing tool can use the Saba Customer Community as an integral part of their purchasing decision if they are considering implementing Saba Live.

So, even in my own experience, social media is a black sheep-
certainly not JUST marketing, JUST support, JUST PR, JUST IT, but a little bit of all of the above.

The question remains, where do you put such a creature? Who do they report to? How do you manage them, measure them and their success or failure? This we will have to answer together, and perhaps we will see in increase in the Social Media FT employees in TSIA's 2011 survey offering.

Where are you situated? What is social media's role in your organization? And what would you venture the future holds?

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