Rise of the Social Media Peer Group (SMPG) Is Social Media in the Top Office?
New Harvard Study Says, "The Big Three Social Networks Have Emerged as Professional Networks"
According the the HBR popular social networks are now being used frequently as professional communities with
- More than nine in ten respondents indicated that they use LinkedIn (91%)
- Half reported using Facebook (51%)
- Twitter (41%)
Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% – combined strongly/somewhat trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust). *Jeff Bullas
The era of Social Media Peer Group (SMPG) has arrived and information will travel at a business velocity that has never been seen before enabled by the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies.
Professional decision-making is becoming more social, traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media as decision makers utilize social networks to inform and validate decisions.
The study does a good job of informing the use of social networks for business, but what I am missing, from the study and from Mr. Bullas’ post is about the C-Level executive. Having worked with Michael Dell, I KNOW that he is online and active on many networks, but what about the more traditional CEO or CMO or most importantly the CTO? Where does the "top office executive" spend time online?
I have spent over two years trying to answer this question and the answer is still elusive. And here’s why.
While browsing the web, for Christmas gifts for example, we are all consumers. Even the CTO of Microsoft is a consumer when he is looking to buy a new Wii game for his kids. (Sorry X-Box) And most of the information on social media is driven by metrics. Metrics like Dell used to gather regarding sales and channels and profits and margins and something called CPU and CPT.
It is much more difficult to ID the path to the million dollar Dell sale that was a result of a customer review on Best Buy’s website about the new Latitude Z. Because that site and thus that "hit" is tracked as a consumer-market page view or "influence." Currently we have no way of tracking that "ratings and reviews" endorsement as it travels from the casual browsing of the CTO in "parent" mode to the CTO as major buyer and deal negotiator.
When "pathing" the purchase, we often tried to track the numbers of a big sale to an interaction with the site or the store or some other outside-Dell.com influencer, but we came up with blanks 99% of the time. Why? Because the customer was morphing from consumer to CTO and we had no way to track these outside influences as they powered sales and profits within Dell.com.
So how do we know that the CTO is online? How can we put a value (read: a dollar earned per dollar spent on social media) on our efforts? We are reaching the consumer at point of sale (fancy name for while he is buying we’re putting some influencing advertising and marketing into his line of sight). We can put stickers and teasers and "deals" inside Best Buy’s store. We can put banners and promos inside bestbuy.com to influence ‘that’ sale. And we can track all kinds of information as it passes through those "channels."
What we don’t do so well is finding out what caused the CTO to purchase the Latitude vs. an HP or an Acer. We can ask the corporate customers to tell us, fill out a survey, answer a few post-sale questions. BUT… for the most part, those surveys and responses from business customers are unreliable. If someone did fill out the iPerceptions survey at the end of their Dell.com purchasing experience, they were likely to give us *some* answers, but often they would leave the most valuable questions, or open-ended survey questions blank.
We’ve got to do a better job at tracking the CTO once he becomes the CTO. And we’ve got to do a better job of discovering what influences work with the corporate buyer at the time of purchase. What causes the buyer to choose Dell, for example, and push the BUY NOW button on the 75 systems.
Related: Hunting the CFO Online – uber.la
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