Corporate America and its Social Media Embrace

Ran across this interesting article written by David Sarno and Alana Semuels of the LATimes in which they cover corporate America’s surprising and rather clumsy embrace of social media. Using the CNN, Dominos and Amazon case as a studies, the article claims that, when the three major brands engaged with their Web-savvy fans and critics in separate incidents in recent weeks, their responses demonstrated how corporations are still learning how to control their messages — and reputations — in a fast-twitch online world. Take the time and read the article for yourself, do you agree with their assumptions of the relationship between social media and corporate America?

Corporate America’s messy embrace of new media comes with pain

Microsoft’s Tellme Unveiling Upgrades In Speech Services

According to, Microsoft’s Tellme service just had the operation’s best quarter because its functionality saves businesses time and money when it comes to customer service. On Wednesday, the company announced new enhancements to the system including improvements to its speech recognition and customer assistance technologies. “There’s lots of opportunity for better customer service and better caller experience, and that combined with decreasing costs is a very compelling value proposition,” said Jamie Bertasi, senior director of Tellme business solutions.

How have you seen Tellme become a success? Does its implementation in a company’s customer service infrastructure really save time and money? We’d like to hear your thoughts.

Free Web Seminar by SPSS – End User Analysis: The Power of Collaboration

Here’s a free webinar that is being presented by Jennifer Galvan, manager of sales engineering for SPSS Inc. The webinar will demonstrate how users of SPSS Inc. software can easily create their own analysis and reports, and then share these results through a Web browser.

For organizations facing tight budgets and limited resources, this webcast offers valuable strategies for operating more efficiently and effectively.

Register below, make sure to mention priority code MWS0023BLOG

Volunteers for customer service?

Verizon Wireless is finding help from customer service in one of the most unusual places….a volunteer. The New York Times recently wrote a report on how certain companies are looking to their super-users for help in customer service. Verizon Wireless found help from Justin McMurry, a user of the online communities, who, in turn, helps out other who have questions about Verizon Wireless and their services and enjoys participating. Read the full story here.

Golf, anyone?

According to the Great Lakes IT Report, A new social networking site has been developed just for golfers. Golfers Unite will feature message boards, personal profiles, photo galleries and other ways of collaborating with other members of the golf communities.

Jeff Stanislow, the creator of this community, said:
“Golfers recognize the value of social media and building out an online community aligns my experience and passion,” said Jeff Stanislow, principal of Golfers Unite and president of Motor City Interactive. “Our community will include content which appeals to enthusiasts of all types from beginners to season pros, and much more.’

Cloud Computing and Customer Service

According to James Urquhart of CNET, cloud computing and customer service go hand in hand, for instance he feels:
In my mind’s eye, it should be simple for the average Joe to:

  • collect data when a problem occurs
  • report the problem with a click of a button
  • have a “self-service” case created with fields where customers can track the progress they are making against issue resolution–and which can be “mined” by the vendor’s support organization to discover trending bugs, etc.
  • search documentation for workarounds or solutions without having to jump through hoops
  • have the option to jump to a chat session or forum where he or she might get some help
  • have the option to select a one-time premium support option if a case warrants it

Has your organization implemented cloud computing for customer service? What benefits do you see with adding cloud computing to your existing customer service architecture?

Please click here for the original article referenced for this post.

The Speakers of Community 2.0: Beth Murphy

This week we’re speaking with Beth Murphy the Head of Marketing & Communications at Digg. Beth will be participating in the panel discussion ‘Don’t Just Survive, Thrive. Tips & Techniques for Sustaining Your Community’ on Tuesday, May 12.

Listen to the podcast here:

And as a reader of the Community 2.0 blog, we’d like to invite you to join us at Community 2.0 from May 11-13, 2009, in San Francisco. We’re offering you an exclusive 25% discount when you register for the conference using the code XM2105Link. We hope to see you there!

Community 2.0:

Join us at Community 2.0:

Face Person or a Community Manager

By Dawn Lacallade, Community Manager at SolarWinds

Someone recently asked me what qualities you should look for in someone to run your Corporate Community. While this is a great question, first you have to decide if you are looking for a ‘face person’ or a ‘community manager’. Let me explain’

First, what is a “face person”? (yes, I totally made that term up) A face person is generally a highly visible representative of the company that closely resembles the target demographic of the community. Examples of these people would include: Whurley, aka William Hurley, of BMC; Lionel Menchaca at Dell; Robert Scoble formerly of Microsoft and SolarWinds own Josh Stephens (the head geek). These people connect with the audience because they are someone the audience knows. They are experts in their area and can ‘talk shop’ with the best. These people could be experts in Community or Digital Media strategy, or not.

What to look for in a face person:
1. They have to expertise in the subjects within the community (faking this DOES NOT work)
2. They have to be real and be able to connect with the community (this includes sharing personal information and showing their personality)
3. They need to be accessible and comfortable with the online space. (ready to travel in this role- ie. conferences)
4. They need to have insights or opinions to share (or there is nothing to write about).

Do you know Sean O’Driscoll or Rachel Makool or Vida Killian? Chances are you don’t, even though they run some of the biggest communities (Microsoft, eBay & Ideastorm). While you don’t know them, be certain that the members of their communities do. A community manager is much more a practitioner that is focuses on the understanding of business goals and the steps to accomplish. Often this person will take a back seat role on the community focused more on gathering community feedback and interacting with members on community topics and less focused on having their voice heard. This person does not have to be an expert in your industry to successfully drive your community.

What to look for in a community manager:
1. They have to expertise in digital media and community management experience
2. Ability to craft a custom strategy for your community
3. Analytics skills to craft and demonstrate the ROI
4. Negotiation and collaboration skills to sell the ideas and secure support

So this begs the question: Can you find one person to be both? Absolutely you can, you just don’t have to.