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I was catching up on my reading after a vacation.  Generally I just move on to new content, however an article caught my eye in eWeek from way back on March 2nd, 2009.  It was an article called priority list.  They take a senior exec and get them to talk about their priorities for 2009.  Michael Hickey the President of Pitney Bowes Business Insight listed the following as his top 5 priorities.  You can read the full text here

  1. Embrace Web 2.0
  2. Target Customer Communications
  3. Ensure Customer Data Quality
  4. Increase SAAS Adoption
  5. Think Globally
I think the first 4 relate directly to social media marketing. Let me explain.
Embracing Web 2.0 is the most obvious one. No matter how you define Web 2.0, transparency and openess are a big part.  Social Media done right puts the technology and kicks off the culture to make that happen.
Target Customer Communications - With a community in place you are in a better position to have smarter, more relevant conversations with customers. Where and how your customer participate in the community will identify the watering holes that they hang out in.  In the real world when you enter a customer meeting, you let the customer speak first, you listen, then you position your offering.  Social Media is the online equivalent.  Listen, then respond.  You do not need to do deep analysis to figure this out.
Ensure customer data quality - Customer are sharing more andmore information about themselves when they participate. They do this 2 ways.  Explicitly, by the information they add to their profile, and Implicitely by their behavioir.   For example, I may tell you that politics does not interst me, but the places I comment and participate may tell a different story. Good social media give you both sides of that.  Its worth mentioning that customer don't give you this information so you can target them.  They share it with the company , AND the other members of the community so everyone has more context when conversing. Big brands should not be creating social media communities just for the pure feel good.  The assett is the customer relationship, the data the customer shares, and how they participate.  Its hugely valuable.
Increase SAAS adoption - Here's where I am a little biased.  Social media is happening now.  If you aren't building a relationship with your customer, someone else is.  Web 2.0 is fluid.  New watering holes are popping up, and it evolves constantly.  If you plan to build and manange in house, you need tomake sure you have the bandwidth to manage change, and brod participation.  In most cases IT has their hands full with CRM, and other mission critical apps.  Community is the best place to implment a SAAS vendor.  Its solves the cost, immediacy, evolution, and support and does not need to ompact your infranstructure.  That being said, its also a good time to investigate Federated identity, so these systems appear seemless to the end customer.

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We're starting this New Year with a bang, launching a new online community for Sony Electronics .
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We're excited about our submission for this year's Groundswell awards.  It's a company called Sg2 that has some very innovative ideas for how to leverage social media in their business. We submitted it in the "supporting" category, but I actually think it extends also into areas such as "energizing" and "listening" (a lot of social media sites have multiple business benefits).  We launched their community in Q1 of this year, and we are already working with them on some cool new ideas for improvements.

When Sg2 called us they said they wanted to create a "virtual meeting place" for health care industry professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, including strategic, operational, clinical, academic, technological and financial. Sg2's goal was to create the world's largest and most influential online community specific to health care.

One of the things we found especially interesting in their vision was that they didn't just want to augment their public website -- they wanted to replace it with a community.  That's pretty forward-thinking.

The Sg2 online community provides an interactive forum for professionals to network and share leading practices with each other, as well as access the latest in health care research. The community enables members to interact with one another, submit questions to experts, and search through Sg2's vast library of research and resources.

Within 6 months of the launch of the site (launch date: March 10, 2022), almost 10,000 health care professionals are registered members of the community, representing over 1,100 hospitals and health care organizations from 12 countries. Nearly 700 of the site users are non-Sg2 clients, which underscores the online community's broad appeal and tremendous value to stakeholders throughout the health care community.

The site has a public face, but the majority of the content is reserved for members.  Here are some screen shots of the private areas that only those members can access.

Here's the home page:

Members in the community benefit from being able to have dialogues with other members as well as experts from Sg2.   Here's a screen shot of postings from members as well as Sg2 experts:

There are lots of examples of very content-rich exchanges between members.  Here's one:

Members also get valuable information from the experts at Sg2.  Here's an example of that type of post:

Every member -- and there are almost 10,000 of them -- has a profile that contains their information and automatic links to all the content they've contributed.  Here's an screen shot of some of the Sg2 people in the community:

As I said, we're very excited about our partnership with Sg2 and what they are doing.

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