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March 25, 2015

100: From the CeBIT Global Conference: The Role of IT (Information Technology) in Social Media

100: From the CeBIT Global Conference: The Role of IT (Information Technology) in Social Media

This week is a special episode, recorded at the CeBIT Global Conference (CGC) in Hannover, Germany. Neal Schaffer spoke and participated in this great event, and had such a good time sitting down to speak with Ingo Stoll about the role information technology can play in social media. This episode takes a step back from the usual more applicable advice and looks at the bigger picture, including the current state of social media, and the future of the industry.

Key Highlights

[00:25] Introduction to the Interview with CGC Radio

[04:24] The Future of Social Media is Now

[05:36] Evolution of Social Business

[05:58] Social Media is a Two-way Conversation

[09:09] Disruptive Technology

[11:40] The Importance of Keeping Your Employees Happy

[16:05] Change Agent

[18:09] Lessening the Gap Between Consumer and Brand

Notable Quotes

  • So it's less about speaking and getting 1000 questions or about people tweeting you out, but it's more about the audience is extremely influential.
  • So instead of thinking about the future, it's there, it's now people are using these platforms. And if you're not engaging with people there, then maybe your competitors aren't right. And the big social data, it's there to be tapped into.
  • It's less about thinking about the future and really getting busy and hunkering down and creating a strategy and looking at all the potential and figuring out what makes sense for your company to do. 
  • Social business is a place where you know, social media, like the internet, it just sort of overlaps everything your company does, and every department, and companies need to be thinking about that.  When you create a social media strategy, it's critical that you include every department in that strategy, and that every department has a say, and in the future, you know, more and more departments are going to be using social media in more and more different ways. 
  • Social is the public media, it is the ultimate media that represents who we are. And people are not only your customers, but they're your employees, right? So it becomes sort of a, you know, a natural central focus.
  • Social media is bringing departments together, it's breaking down silos, and with employee advocacy, and we'll talk about this tonight at your event, obviously, but it's tapping into who we are as a company, what is our brand?
  • Change is not enough anymore, we need transformation. And that brings it to the point that the changes we see are so substantial, that just adopting things is not enough anymore. It's really disruptive. What happens and it puts great pressure, great chances on the one hand, but great pressure on the leaders, and the managers of the organizations of today. 
  • So when you put it all together, it becomes a great representation. And it changes the organism of a company to a collection of people that work together for a common purpose, which is how it should have been in the first place. 
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social, actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, the Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer.

CGC Radio:

Yeah, we are back at CGC. Radio, and we have a very special guest, Neal Schaffer from maximize your social is with us. Hello, Neil. How are you?

Neal Schaffer:

I am doing awesome. And how are you doing?

CGC Radio:

I'm fine as well. It's my personal pleasure to have you here. Because actually, I feel a little bit engaged and involved in bringing you over to Hannover, so you gave your talk on the open stage already. So what do you think of the see with global conferences?

Neal Schaffer:

Well, first of all, I can go without you, I would not be here. So I want to thank you, for all that you did to help bring me out here. I am about, you know, educating the public on best practices. So to be able to come to Germany to see bits, you know, the largest conference in information technology in the world, it's just a complete honor. So thank you, again, the pleasure is all mine. And you know, it's funny, I wrote a blog post about this about how marketing and technology and information technology are sort of coming together as marketing taps in the big data. And I wanted to look at the role that information technology can play in social media. So whenever I present, I challenge myself to come up with new ideas and new concepts and new insight. And this was the first time I presented this content on, you know, where is social media evolving in 2015? How are companies evolving into social businesses? And then what can the role of information technology play in helping businesses in most cases, marketers make better decisions derive more ROI from what they do? So that was, you know, the content that I presented, I got some great feedback afterwards. And CBT is, and the CBT global conferences, it's very similar. Like, it's different. But it's somewhat like a TED type of talk where you have these global leaders that come and they're providing information insight that is very thought provoking. So it's less about speaking and getting 1000 questions or about people tweeting you out, but it's more about the audience is extremely influential. And I know from looking at them that they are inputting this data, and it's going to lead them to do greater things for their company. So it's very, for me, that's a very exciting place to be. Yeah. And yeah, I already met a number of great people so far that, you know, came up after my speech and what have you, and it's just great to be here. And I know we have, we have rocked the blog tomorrow and a lot more stuff coming. So yeah, I just can't wait for it all.

CGC Radio:

Definitely. And you share the stage with guys like Glenn Greenwald yesterday, talking to Edward Snowden. We've seen Jeremy Rifkin, we're going to see Kevin Mitnick The Most Famous Hacker doing a session later on this day. So yeah, this is this is actually what what this concept is all about really getting a lot of brain input and and trying to be as helpful in considering what to do in the future.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah. And compared to a TED, which are also don't get me wrong, we're excellent. I find with the CBT global conferences, the common theme is the technology. And how does that change? Business? How does that change people. And that's why I mean, every one that you talked about, there's a technology angle. And that's what as as someone that's always worked in high technology, and you know, to have tried to create my own social media tool, and you know, run the social tools Summit. That's what's exciting to me. And that's why I really find myself engaged with the conversation, I'm hearing and find that's really appropriate.

CGC Radio:

So what everybody is interested in is, in your case, the future of social media. And I want to state two sentences, one of your presentation that says, we don't have to talk about the future, the future is now the future of social is now this is sentence number one. And I would pass it along a second one. That is, it's not about social media anymore. It's about social business. When we talk about now, yes. And from the company's point of view, what does it take to manage the social, either media or business successfully?

Neal Schaffer:

Great. Well, let's let's tackle these one at a time. So I have been closing my presentations recently with that slide. As I close today's presentation with the future is now with a boy that sort of looking off into the horizon. And one of the questions that there are two types of questions that I always get asked after I present on social media. Number one, what tools do you recommend? And that's why I'm launching this event. But the other one is, you know, what about the future? What's next? What's going to happen to Facebook who's gonna replace them? And to me, it's completely irrelevant because there's so much that businesses can do to leverage what's already out there and very few that have done it. So unless you know you have done everything that you can on LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Wordpress, YouTube. I mean, nobody has, right because there's so much that you could potentially do. So instead of thinking about the future, it's there, it's now people are using these platforms. And if you're not engaging with people there, then maybe your competitors aren't right. And the big social data, it's there to be tapped into. I mean, I've written an application tapping into the Twitter API trying to, you know, derive intelligence from from, you know, datasets that we see out there, anybody can do it now. So it's less about thinking about the future and really getting busy and hunkering down and creating a strategy and looking at all the potential and figuring out what what makes sense for your company to do. So that leads into this, the social media evolution of social business, which I think we've already seen happening the United States over the last one or two years, I think, you know, Europe is slowly catching on. But, you know, social media begins as this this one way outward communication. You know, consumers are all on social media, our customers are all there, our partners are all there, we need to create a Facebook page on LinkedIn company page, a Twitter account, and just start promoting. But obviously, social media is a two way conversation. So what happens is a lot of companies as they start getting some inbound communication, it's like, you know, I hired a community manager, or maybe, you know, companies don't even start with a community manager, they start with someone in marketing or PR, and all of a sudden, they get all these incoming messages, you know, complaints from customers, or questions or partners, and, and the person managing the social media becomes almost like a, you know, in American football, I'd say a quarterback always trying to figure out where to pass the ball, in soccer, maybe a midfielder who was always trying to distribute the ball at the right place at the right time. So this is the sixth, this is the challenge for whoever is running the social media is that you have all these internal conversations that need to be managed, then you need to respond back to the users. And this is why you know, every department now at large enterprises, almost creating their own sort of social media accounts, or trying to work together. And you have unique social media departments being created. And you have social media centers of excellence being created to distribute social media know how best practices internally at all the different departments. So you have social media and being used for recruiting, you have social media for r&d, you have, you know, legal people, they get involved in social media, because they need to protect the company. And you have people using social media monitoring technology, to monitor mentions of your brand and social, but they're also monitoring what employees are saying. Because of you know, if you're in the financial services, or pharmaceutical or highly regulated industries, you need to make sure that there's certain information, it doesn't get out, right. So you know, social business is a place where you know, social media, like the internet, it just sort of overlaps everything your company does, and every department, and companies need to be thinking about that. So in maximize your social and in what I was talking about today, when you create a social media strategy, it's critical that you include every department in that strategy, and that every department has a say, and in the future, you know, more and more departments are going to be using social media in more and more different ways. And that's really the evolution of social businesses. Not only do departments, you know, enterprise wide use social media, but it actually begins to influence how you do business, what types of products you make, how you engage with your customers, the customer experience journey, and when have you become to be influenced, because social is the public media, it is the ultimate media that represents who we are. And people are not only your customers, but they're your employees, right? So it becomes sort of a, you know, a natural central focus. And I think those companies that are more engaged and in tune with social media are more engaged with becoming more human as a brand. And we know that companies need to do this in order to be successful in social media. So I went over a whole range of concepts. They're not not to confuse you, but but those are the things that companies, you know, the customer experience journey, and how social media maps into its social business, social business, ROI, humanizing the brand. These are things that, you know, companies in the United States today are are all talking about looking for solutions.

CGC Radio:

Would you agree if I say that the social element is somehow bringing disruption to each and every organization and each and every company, so that what we see on the big scales with the Ubers, and Airbnb s, and so on, is happening in each and every organization?

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, great question. Great point. There's been a lot of talk about disruptive technology here at CB global conference. And I don't really talk a lot about it. But it's very, very easy for startups to generate a very robust social media presence and go from being a no one to someone. And it's the same disruption that the Amazons of the world did with the Internet. And now that we're seeing with the Airbnb ease, and you know, cutting out the middleman, but the internet is the technology that makes it possible. And social media is that technology, and where the users are that help spread that information and propagate it and that people share their experiences. So it is a very, very powerful, disruptive force that can disrupt industries, you know, manufacturing hardware, now it's cheap. It's easy to do. It's the software. It's the artistry that cannot be emulated. So companies with great ideas and great art History. And if they're good at social media can really tap into this and really go from like I said, Being someone to no one and, and capturing a certain I don't know how much market share you can get in a small amount of time but capturing mindshare, and shifting the conversation away from more established players, to new players. And I think we've seen this in a lot of different industries. There's also disruption internally, because once you start on this road, to becoming a social business, and more and more departments use social media, it starts to break down the silos. So today, I talked about the relationship between information technology and marketing, you have social selling, that's redefining how marketing and sales work together. For LinkedIn company page management, you have marketers talking to HR about how do we, you know, employment branding, and things that marketers just don't have never thought about. But HR is invested in. So social media is bringing departments together, it's breaking down silos, and with employee advocacy, and we'll talk about this tonight at your event, obviously, but it's tapping into who we are as a company, what is our brand? Who are the people that work for us? What is the true culture of our company, and that is something that's very exciting, it's very hard for old stodgy conservative companies to to handle for newer companies, it's a lot easier. And I think that they're going to be a lot more successful in their advocacy efforts. I mean, it challenges companies, both outwardly in their industry, as well as internally. And it's very exciting, if you are a startup, or if you're a company like Zappos that has a very, very engaging, and, you know, a great culture at the end of the day, you know, we'll we'll talk about this tonight, but with employee advocacy, are your employees satisfied at your company, because if they're not, they're not going to talk about your company in social or they may say bad things about your company, right. So if you want people to represent your company, as a brand ambassador, who doesn't, they have to be happy employees. And this is what people forget, right? If you have a bad product, social media doesn't help improve it, it amplifies the message. So if you have a really bad product, you know, social media just going to help public perception of your product getting worse. So if you have a company with disengaged employees, social media is also going to have this effect. As people talk about where they work naturally, it's gonna have potentially negative effects. So these are the cultural changing elements, that companies just rush into becoming a social business without even thinking that now they face. And I don't think there's, you know, unless your company has a chief cultural officer, which very few companies do, it's something that, you know, like I said, I present on all this as if, you know, these are the solutions. But these are all the challenges that there's no easy solution for it's going to be different for every company all have a different culture. And there's no easy solution, either, because it involves people and people don't change very easily. And it's going to require a lot of, you know, I bring out the artistry. And that comes from seeing Seth Godin speak, or Seth Godin, I never know how to pronounce his name. But at the end of the day, because of hardware and service, and all these things are so easy to create on the internet or a manufacturer, it comes down to the final outward facing elements. And often these are people, the person on the phone at customer service, the person behind the you know, the desk, at the hotel or at a store, and it comes down to the artistry of this person and how they relate to other people. And I think that for social media, it's much the same, it comes down to the artistry in your organization, of building a culture, of outwardly engaging as well as inwardly engaging, that is going to be the challenge. And I don't know how many companies are, are prepared for that challenge. And that's why I think, you know, I know that you work at an agency and you've always worked on creative, creative juices, creative energy, and those are the those are the juices that companies need more and more right now, I believe.

CGC Radio:

Well, communication is definitely a key because to put it in the words of the great get Leonardo, a friend of mine, a futurist, he said, change is not enough anymore, we need transformation. And that that brings it to the point that the changes we see are so substantial, that just adopting things is not enough anymore. It's really disruptive. What happens and it puts great pressure, great chances on the one hand, but great pressure on the leaders, and the managers of the organizations of today. Because it's not only that you have to realize the technological potential and the shift for your production. We're talking about industry 4.0, for example, here, we'll see what it means changing of the way the relationships are handled between your customers, your suppliers, the way you have to communicate with your employees, the way you see yourself as as a leader, it's not having a section and being the one you know, deciding what happens. There are some beautiful documentaries coming up and probably know this, this this book, freeing so like liberating organizations means cutting off the middleman as well. Yes. So giving responsibility to the teams letting the organize themselves so the So, so many things that I don't know what you think of it, I sometimes get the impression that when companies established companies start with social media, and maybe they think at the beginning, it's just about setting up a Facebook page, sending our Twitter channel or whatever, then they think, first of all about content, what do we what do we publish? What can we say? And then they challenge, they are challenged with the feedbacks, dealing with customers dealing with questions coming up feedback coming up. And suddenly they need community management, they haven't thought of it at the beginning, right? And they tearing down the old drawers, the silos, as you say, they don't work anymore, then when they start to need collaborative tools, to organize the workflows, organize the content flows, and so on. So on the to me, it's like a Trojan horse somehow, if you bring in social media, from the market point of view, which mainly happens, it starts to change or transform the whole organization. And there's no way to tear a bear.

Neal Schaffer:

I agree it for those organizations that not only adopt it, but once they see the ROI, they want to do more and more. Yes, it absolutely is, I guess you can call it a change agent, right? If there's something that was going on, and not just change, but transform, it truly has an amine, what it's done is what I believe is it actually is strengthening the culture of companies that use it, it is giving everyone a voice in an ideal world, you know, with with advocacy, there's some companies that are so far long that they're now sourcing, you know, and I talked about sourcing photo images from your employees, but of sourcing blog posts from you know, people that just work in a company that have never been asked to represent their company. You know, when you think of traditional companies, you think of like a triangle, you have the people at the top, and they're very far removed from the people at the bottom, this experiment. Yeah, this gives the people the bottom a chance to be part of something big, and they're very proud of that. And it's a very, very powerful force, it really does provide that spark of change for companies that realize it. And it really is sort of the future that that we are people, and socialise are medium and social was made for people, not for companies. So when you put it all together, it becomes a great representation. And it changes the organism of a company to a collection of people that work together for a common purpose, which is how it should have been in the first place. Yeah, you know, like I said, it's hard for a lot of companies, you know, a lot of traditional corporate infrastructure is about remaining in control, and controlling the brand, which was never in our control to begin with. And it's even more out of control now with with the technology. But yeah, that, you know, the technology, and the platforms have given everyone a say. And you know, it's time for companies, I won't say to completely reorganize, but to begin that transformation to be to begin thinking about how can we get our employees involved? How do we get a feedback mechanism internally, and really put that to use to help bridge this gap, you know, brands have always had the gap between the brand and the public eye worked with a lot of celebrities, they still have this gap, you know, I am a celebrity, I need to have a certain distance with the audience. And I understand that from a celebrity perspective, because people don't scale but but from a consumer perspective, you want to try to lessen this gap between the brand and the user, you want to bring them together. This is what the successful companies are doing. And I think you know, you also want to bring your

CGC Radio:

just talked about Airbnb, they say they, they started off bringing 1000 hosts together. And Airbnb is organizing the meeting. So letting the hosts become more part of the product, part of the idea, establish a community they tried to do this this year, and they will in Paris, with more than 6000 hosts. Wow. So I mean, this is a systematic process of making not only the own organization, more part of the product and organize them community wise, but trying to make everybody in the supply chain become part of the community.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, it's a great idea. I mean, I talked to companies a lot. And you know, some companies have it, but not every company. It's it's a and I say that some response to CEOs who say I'm worried about what they're gonna say about me and social media, well, they're gonna say in any way, whether you're there or not. So you know, you need to tap into that. And what's going to happen is as you begin your social media journey, you're gonna have fans out there. You want to create I call like a VIP panel, whatever you want to call it, but you want to create a committee of your big fans on social media who are also your brand advocates who are also big users of your product, and you want to bring them together regularly. And not only are these going to be the people that you tap into, should there be a social media fire, but the people to tap into to help you create a better product to help you better run your company and it's once again it's bridging this gap right? And really getting insights and feedback from your users. They should become one with you. So I think that Airbnb is doing I mean that's a great idea. And I think that with social media, it allows you to you know, if your Airbnb and you have hosts, you can you know, send them an email and stuff, but you may not know who your biggest ads are out there, but the data is there. If you tap into the data you can find, you may have celebrities that are talking about your company without you knowing about it. That may be some of your biggest fans tap into these people reach out to them. People are always surprised and pleasantly when companies reach out to them and say, You know what we value what you think. So these are concepts where social media provides us the technology and the platform and the user base to be able to tap into easily. But the concept goes beyond social media into just plain old good business. But social media will help accelerate those things. And those are the exciting things. That's how social can really provide so much positive transformation to businesses so easily.

CGC Radio:

To the end of this, of this podcast, I would like to ask you about what you think of a great vision. What do you heard about all this transformation happening? Now, we hear a lot about technology evolving and moving further on. So let's have a look to the future and say, many of the jobs that people are doing today will be done by algorithms, or robots in future, you know, some accounting jobs, they already feel like working like a robot, you know, crunching numbers all the day, we have the IBM Watson's, or what have you doing the stupid, repetitive work, getting more time to be social, getting more time to care about the customers getting more time to be human? So is this a future that you you can imagine?

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, I mean, I think it's already happening in advanced nations where a lot of the manufacturing is already outsourced. So already have a lot of blue collar jobs turned into the white collar jobs and you already have with the cloud, and with algorithms and with the Watson's in the technology, you already have a lot of that that. Yeah, you're right. And like I said, companies are also using the outsourcing so you know, first world developed countries are have that advantage. But yeah, I think it comes down to with that extra time of becoming a better communicator, becoming a better, you know, becoming more human, as a company, and really developing more product and product these days isn't like a hardware, right? It's a software, it's maybe or it's software as a service. Right? So yeah, it's it's really tapping into that. And really, you know, the vision is, how can we help you if you're a b2c or business to consumer, you're helping people, if you're a b2b, you're helping me? How can we help consumers or businesses more? How can we help them better, that's really the vision and a lot of that insight into how you can do it comes into the communication to asking, and having conversations that we're having today. And in using the intellectual capacity of the human brain, of analyzing situations and finding unique insight, and then being able to leverage that internally. And that's why it's, you know, you need to be creative, you need to be an artist, you need to be intelligent. And these are skills that often were for artists or scholars or you know, what have you, but I think these are skills that are going to be more necessary for businesses to tap into. And I think we're gonna see a lot of interesting collaborations in the future. That's, that's, for me, the exciting thing is, you know, the future is now there's so much you can do in social media, but also the human brain, when we take the menial tasks out of our work. There is so much power that we can leverage that we haven't yet. And those places that have been leveraging, you know, the universities, the research tanks, maybe some of that can be leveraged inside the enterprise and inside the company, as well. So I think that's a very exciting future that will lead to greater advance of the human race. And but we've really gotten into some advanced esoterical talks here, because I like to stay in the practical social media, but, but there's also just a huge transformation going on. I love that quote. It's not about change. It's about transformation. And I think those companies are on that path to transformation. The more they get involved, the more value they see, the more they naturally will become transformed over time.

CGC Radio:

Yeah, we're looking forward to that future. And Nia Scheffer, thanks for being our guest at the CBRE global conferences. Thanks.

Neal Schaffer:

Thank you as well. And I wish everybody listen to this. If you didn't make it this year, definitely make it out the next year civic global conference. It's a very special place, fueled by conversations like we're having now. And looking forward to rock the blog and everything else and go thank you so much. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil's first social media event, the social tools Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12th. Thanks again and make it a social day.