Study Finds Corporate Social Networks Are A Waste of Money

 Run.. the sky is falling.  All you social media companies that thought this was just a fast sell.. get out.. run for it.

OK.. Now that they are gone, I love this study.. actually I love the ReadWriteWeb's summary... of the Wall street Journal Article on...  Deloitte study. Articles like this don't scare me like people around here seem to think.  They show that this industry is maturing, people are being held accountable, and you need a plan.  Not just for the interactivity of the site.. but who will use it, and why they will use it.   It says a couple of things that I have been saying all along. 

Ask these questions before you plan your community.

  1. Will it be relevant to the people who will be using it?  What works for the web does not work for corporations.  Bells and Whistles are fun, but some of them are things we just point and laugh at. For example, the notion of a flat "Friend list" will fail in a corporation's internal cmmunity since aren't we all supposed to be friends.  We actually built the Awareness platform so you could have many friends lists and use it to define "who" could see "what". Don't copy Facebook and expect people to think it matters.  And for the love-of-god do NOT show them Twitter  to explain the benefit of micro-blogging.  I love concepts in all these apps... but not everything translates into a corporate version.

  2. Who will manage the community?  If its internal, who will redirect energy spent in broadcasting email into a community? Staff will not just clue into the benefits, you need to be clear on the WIIFM (Whats in it for me). Are those benefits clear to the employees.  How will you applaud the ones that use it effectively?  Thanks to  Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang's continued emphasis on the importance of the "Community Manager" role.

  3. Do you have a right to be a "community" for your customers?  The example in the article is priceless.. A corporate sponsored cat litter community.  Hey, I like to engage with people "like me" on more heady topics than controlling my cat's odor.  Actually that site has a tab called community.. but its really just testimonials. Not completely off the mark as a tactic but it feels more like a good old micro-site and a user generated content (UGC) campaign. Those are great starting points to see if there is a demand.  Check out clients   American Heart Association - Go Red For Women and CSV Pharmacy's For All the Ways You Care . Some of these sites should simple be a Fan page in Facebook.

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BY: kevin (7/22/2008 3:12 PM)
COMMENT: Dave are you saying companies can't just throw money at social media and have it work? They have to have a plan? And honestly I don't know how a social media community revolving around my cats second favorite place to do his business besides the neighbor kid's sandbox didn't make it. I guess my plan for the ultimate bunion social community should be tabled for now. Great post in response to all of this. I am going to go read Chicken Little now.

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