Sunday, July 29, 2012

Social Media @ Intel – Planet Blue internal social network for Employees

Intel, the world's largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue has an internal social media platform called Planet Blue that was launched in 2009, which is company controlled Facebook styled intranet, where more than 1,00,000 employees can connect with each other, collaborate and share knowledge. Planet blue includes blogs, wikis, status updates, discussion forums and employees can also form groups based on their interests, hobbies, etc. Employees not only communicate and create groups but also use the platform to ideate and innovate which is essential for Intel as there is constant pressure on the company to develop new products. Intel earlier had a wiki based platform for collaboration, called Intelpedia, "the Intel encyclopedia that anyone can edit," was launched in 2006, which employees can edit freely  and had millions of pages and thousands of contributors. Intel had a culture of technology-based information-sharing since early 2003, when employee blogging started predominantly included self-maintained servers under desks and these internal employee blogs gained popularity. Intel CEO Paul Otellini launched his employee blog in 2004 and other top execs and leaders followed throughout 2005 culminating in a fully IT-supported platform that same year. Intel also started its popular developer blogs and wikis for software collaboration called Intel Software Network back in May 2006. In April 2007, Intel created Blogs@Intel as a new business tool for customers and employees to directly communicate and collaborate. In June 2008, Intel added the Digital IQ training program for employees that contained around 60 programs online with certification on how to use these social media tools to increase innovation, communication and collaboration at work.

According to a post titled “How successful is your Enterprise 2.0 strategy?” on Intel communities, “some of the metrics Intel track are related to adoption – such as active users (creators, synthesizers, consumers) and “unique visitors”. However, these indicators may not accurately represent the success indicators of the platform. Quality of discussions, impact of these discussions on the users, problem resolutions, agility in solving issues, ability to find subject matters experts quickly could be different parameters which can really show how successful the platform is.” This highlights that Intel closely monitors its social media styled intranet and hopes that the intranet will fuel social learning among employees and also use it for their career development where they can look for positions and chat about their career progression. Intel created a comprehensive set of social media policies called the Intel Social Media Guidelines that are available in over 35 languages designed to help employees to understand how to manage their social media presence. Intel also created Social Media Center of Excellence, which is a cross functional body of experts from Marketing, PR, legal and Digital Communications, who collaborated to create guidelines, processes, strategies, and skill-building courses for how Intel employees can use social media tools like blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, and social networks around the world. Intel is further looking to improve its Planet Blue and is looking to add voice control features to the content so that employees can use it effectively for their collaboration, communication, learning and knowledge sharing initiatives. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Big Corporations transforming to Social Business through Social Media

According to 2012 FedEx/Ketchum Social Media Benchmarking Study, presented jointly by FedEx and Ketchum, some of the big corporations have moved beyond just being present on various social media platforms and are utilizing the social media platforms to strategically engage and strengthen relationship with various stakeholders that include employees, customers (51%) , general public (52%) and partners & suppliers (40%) to not only increase the brand affinity but also involve them in co-creation which will help them in attaining the business goals. The study is based on quantitative surveys and telephone interviews with a total of 85 executives from companies like IBM, Southwest Airlines, Bank of America, AT&T, Chevron, G.E., Cisco, and Time Warner Cable , etc. and communications “thought leaders.” But for many other big corporations this social business transformation is not yet started despite the fact that Social media tools have radically transformed the way people engage with the world around them and employees are constantly looking for and demanding for such tools within the organizations for use in their day to day work. All the corporations who participated in the study have a strong social media framework and policy in place and are most effectively using social media to enhance brand reputation and awareness, provide customer service and strengthen relationships across key stakeholders. The survey also highlights the fact that 88% of companies keep track of online feedback and conversations, and 80% of companies surveyed agree that they are presently measuring social media, with 84% focused on engagement, 69% on impressions, 53% on influence, and 51% on tone.

The 2012 FedEx/Ketchum Social Media Benchmarking Study also highlighted that not only the external engagement with customers, suppliers, etc. but also internal engagement between the company and its employees, and empowerment of employees to represent the brand externally as they are the most passionate and credible ambassadors of the company’s brand have also significantly improved and resulted in employee retention, engagement and productivity. Internally, 85% of companies surveyed have seen employee participation in social media increase over the last year. In terms of goals, 46% of companies are using social media to strengthen relationships with employees, 44% use it to share expertise and foster collaboration and 38% use it to increase employee participation in programs or initiatives. 64% of participating companies said the structure and roles in the marketing, communications or human resources teams have changed as a result of social business. Companies that participated in the study has realized that educating and empowering employees and customers to operate as brand ambassadors capable of managing the social conversation with the support of social media policies and guidelines will be a definite win-win situation for all. Executive Leadership at these companies understand that social media as an essential component of business success and it has become a strategic part of the decision making and overall strategy formulation. With social media rise both internal and external to organizations, 27% of companies are more concerned about transparency issues, including employee privacy, legal and compliance issues, and addressing misinformation that appears on the Web. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Social Media @ Lenovo - Customer Service to improved presence on Social Media sites

Lenovo social media engagement started post their acquisition of IBM PC business in 2005 when Lenovo found that there is lot of discussion happening on various online discussion forums & blogs and customers were actively engaging and discussing the various product offerings and Lenovo decided that they should take control and own the responsibility for responding to customer queries and feedback which is critical for future business growth and improve the reputation of the company. Lenovo was a small Chinese player and with IBM PC business acquisition they became a global player with significant market share. Not only they felt the need to respond to customers but also thought that the social media customer engagement strategy will help them in making Lenovo brand a global brand. Within Lenovo all the departments from legal to marketing were assigned responsibility of interacting and managing social media presence. Legal department framed policy and guidelines for social media engagement, marketing and sales have launched specific campaigns targeting customers on various social media platforms, Customer service was provided not only by company’s employees but Lenovo also engaged peer-to-peer customer service communities for interacting with the customers and solving their problems and technical issues.

Customer Service Success - Lenovo created interdepartmental collaboration and powerful partnerships within the organization between the marketing, sales, product development and engineering teams for tackling the customer services issues. Lenovo realized in 2005 that social media could help them understand the customer's point-of-view, the major issues with service, product features, functions, delays in shipments and their impact on the global customers. According to Forrester Case Study “How Lenovo Implemented Customer Service Social Media Best Practices” social media alignment of marketing, sales, service and other departments to accelerate changes and improvements to the customer experience has led to a 20% decrease in laptop service call volumes, an increase in customer service agent productivity, a shortened product problem-resolution cycle and an increase their Net Promoter Scores. The net-net is a reduction in customer service support costs and an increase in sales. Social media engagement with customer was even more necessitated due to the fact that customer service costs for personal computing products was rising constantly, putting pressure on margins and since products were becoming complex, the level of expertise for the customer service representatives also had to be improved by constant training which was adding to the costs and effecting margins.

Social Presence on various sites - Lenovo social media program moved from customer service to a larger program where along with customer service the company used the various social media platforms for marketing its products, new launches, and enhance brand reputation. Lenovo’s has an internal social media team which works round the clock to not only develop but also constantly refresh content (text, images and videos) for all of Lenovo social media pages which include Lenovo Vision YouTube Channel ( Around 9000 subscribers & 14 million video views), official Lenovo Facebook page ( Around 10,000 people talking about Lenovo on Facebook & 350,000 Likes), Flickr stream, Lenovo Blog, Lenovo Twitter feed (not to mention various regional feeds & around 5000 tweets & 22,000 followers) and it’s customized social media website, Lenovo Social which  aggregates all the content from different social media sites in one central location to provide an easy and complete view of all things social wise. Lenovo launched its Community forums in 2007 and it has more than 15,000 volunteers and the forum site is visited by millions of users every month. Till early 2012 Lenovo had pursued multiple blogs strategy by publishing many blogs on various topics but the blogging strategy was changed and redesigned to centralize Lenovo's existing blogs and social media in an engaging, navigable, and branded way, using one easily maintainable CMS.

Social Media use at CES 2012 - During International Consumer Electronics Show or CES 2012 held at Las Vegas, Lenovo used various social media tools and its presence on various social media platforms to reach its targeted audience effectively. Gavin O’Hara, Lenovo’s social media editorial lead, gave an in-depth overview of Lenovo’s social numbers as well as measurement tools from CES and a snapshot of the outcome of Lenovo’s social activities during CES, both online and offline were as follows:
  • Twitter: Lenovo CES tweets reached a potential audience of 17 million people
  • Facebook: Lenovo posts reached an audience of 250,000 people while generating more than 1.3 million impressions. For the week, the Lenovo Facebook page received 3,000 likes, 800 comments & 300 “shares” 
  • Flickr: Photos of products, parties and people got more than 25,000 views on the Lenovo photo library
  • Lenovo Blogs: The behind-the-scenes blog posts got more than 25,000 page views
  • YouTube: Lenovo CES-focused videos were watched by more than 50,000 people in a week. An astonishing 25,000 alone watched the Yoga “Hands On” interview. 

Lenovo Social site which aggregates content from the various social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Flickr etc. into one place and also helps customers, volunteers and Lenovo teams effectively navigate and manage the back-end of the site to manage blog content, and each contributing author gets his own account with necessary controls to access the content areas relevant to him. Another unique feature of the site is a new tagging schema that de-compartmentalizes blog topics so that users can find content easily, filter by topics, products, recent, or popularity and users can click through all blog posts in one place. Lenovo had set up a digital & social hub in Singapore in 2011 that centralized digital thinking and strategy planning to support marketing plans in various regions and also execute marketing campaigns, monitor buzz, and form support teams dedicated to answer technical questions on social channels. Lenovo social media strategy is all about engaging with customers, informing them about various products & services, solving customer issues and technical problems, and company is effectively using various social media platforms and has achieved its target of being the Global brand. The recently launched “The Do Network”, a new social media-fueled brand engagement highlights the importance of social media presence and engagement in overall Lenovo future growth strategy.