Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Saudi Arabia Small Restaurant and Social Media

I have discussed earlier some value levers of implementing Web 2.0 in an organization. In this blog post, I would like to examine another example about leveraging Web 2.0 in a small business.

F6or_Faris is a small restaurant specialising in breakfast. The idea was based on Hashtag created by Faris Hani Alturki to share different breakfast ideas that he tried after being sick because he did not consider breakfast as one of the daily meals. He then started to read and view different types of meals and shared his view with this hashtag. He as then surprised with the large amount of people who were interested and attracted by this hashtag, all of which made him decide to open his small restaurant. Even though F6or_Faris has a Facebook account, a Twitter account was the main marketing channel for the business.

Market research and customer insights:

To ensure customer retention, F6or_Faris gathers customer insights and suggestions about products, brands and services to ensure customer satisfaction and even helps them in developing new products. Communicating with customers in a timely manner and listening to their feedback about the product serves as an input for product requirements, design and pricing methodology. Having customer insights influences the outcome of the company and allows them to be proactive with such important feedback.

Marketing Communication/ Interaction:

It was claimed in The Social economy report, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012 that, “recently anyone with a smartphone or computer can become a publisher or share his creative output with the world”. F6or_Faris promotes new products especially using a Twitter account by sharing product information and pictures about the new products, so as to advertise it to the online community, giving them direct communication with customers at a lower cost and highly targeted messages.

Social Commerce:

One of the big value levers for F6or_Faris is that it is based on recommending products to friends. For instance, when I buy something and share the experience in Twitter or Facebook, I might influence my “Friends list” to buy this product and consequently benefit the business itself.

I believe F6or_Faris has successfully adopted Web 2.0 tools and has an excellent start up rate for the business. Now they should introduce new channels to broaden the customer base. For example, they might introduce a blog to give their customers a place to communicate with each other and consequently broaden their business in an effective way. @F6or_Faris  

Do you have similar stories you would like to share with us? 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Calculating Social Media ROI for SeaWorld

Companies today are investing more and more in social technologies to increase their profit margin.  Since Web 2.0 are user driven and the internet users consequently became content creator and distributor which allow them to become more interactive and “social” in such community. The Social economy report, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012 estimated that in 2011, 72% of organizations are adopting social technologies to run their businesses and 90% see business benefits from this adoption. It also has been indicated that customers will benefit from social media providing better products, lower prices, transparency between competitors and faster responses to changing needs. Overall, these benefits will all ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

Unlike any other technologies, calculating social media Return on Investment (ROI) is an overwhelming task because it is challenging to define gains and costs when measuring ROI for social media activities. Most social media benefits are indirect or intangible which makes it difficult to populate the benefits in a balance sheet. However, to be able to calculate ROI, a company should set a clear business strategy to ensure social media initiatives are supporting business goals.

Today, I would like to discuss how the ROI was calculated for a selected case example, SeaWorld San Antonio, one of the three largest parks in the SeaWorld chain in the United States. Before launching their new journey to Atlantis roller coaster, they decided to adopt social media tools by creating a YouTube channel and Flicker account to reach and engage as a wide range of people as they can.

The following three categories enable a better estimation of costs:

ü  Number of people who worked on the campaign, amount of time and their hourly rate.

ü  Setting up different media tools and marketing materials.

ü  Costs for the technology, meaning the implementation for the campaign.

(I made a reasonable assumptions to calculate costs and benefits based on discussions here and here on how to calculate ROI for social media marketing).

Social media program setup
Setup of social media accounts, including employee time
Social media monitoring
Content production, including employee time
Quantity of materials
Employee time
21.5 hours
Hourly rate
Setting up social media marketing campaigns

Total costs for the campaign was around $44,000.


SeaWorld San Antonio conducted a survey to differentiate social media visitors from others. By using a formula to apply a value for each visitor to the park, they determined both tangible and intangible benefits.

Increase sales (i.e. new customers)
Increased communications with customers*
Research value: customer insights
Increased retention rate
Customer satisfaction*

*intangible benefits

 The social media marketing resulted in $2.6 million revenue.

Applying the ROI formula, which is:

 Resulted in

This ROI result indicates that SeaWorld San Antonio successfully benefited from implementing social media solutions in their business while putting their goals and objectives beside their implementation strategy.

What other metrics should SeaWorld San Antonio take into account?

"A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is."
Scott Cook, Co- Founder of Intuit

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Social Networking Strategies - Monitoring with Woolworths

I have discussed earlier the benefits of implementing social media in an organization. More interestingly, companies should establish, in advance, a social media strategy to gain the benefits they are looking for, which can be achieved by monitoring, understanding and response to their social media activities. In today’s post, I would like to explore a range of social media monitoring tools in a selected case organization and to share my insights about their social media behaviour.

Woolworths, one of the leading supermarket businesses in Australia, is now attempting to solve a business challenge by creating a better customer shopping experience and increasing customer loyalty. Woolworths currently has many different kinds of digital platforms and information systems such as social networks, official e-commerce website, and a mobile application.
 As stated in the The Social economy report, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012 , social technology providers have “social Analytics” tools to analyze real time data and make a better use of such tools. This analysis is ultimately used to manage either company or client brand communications and demonstrate a Return on Investment from social media marketing.
Topsy is a tool to search tweets, links, photos, videos and show different kinds of statistics as most social analytical tools do, where you can get the latest news or articles about an organization. Woolworths uses social media tools such as Facebook and YouTube to gain customer insights about their products and how they could improve or even develop new products in the future. These tools also enable Woolworths to more effectively interact with customers and to broaden and deepen their marketing by frequently post their latest news and information and to receive fast and accurate responses. Their collection of responses can provide valid feedback of recent sales promotions. An interesting feature in Tobsy is that it enables the company to gain competitive insights and analyze competitor campaigns and web traffic. It uses precise metrics to model current trends, against competitors, or even predict future outcomes. As it can be seen in the graph below graph, Woolworths is not engaging very well in Twitter compared with its competitor, Aldi, and should then enhance their presence to achieve or overcome competitors.
This analytical tool aggregates information about the company from different resources and most interestingly Woolworths uses most of the social media tools, except Twitter, to ensure it reaches their broader customer base and increase brand loyalty. It additionally customizes social networks as a marketing channel to promote for new products because social media is now able to create a sense of transparency between the customers and lets them influence their “friends list” or at least recommend products to them.
To sum up, a company should listen to what their customers are saying online and respond in a timely manner if they are willing to have a successful social business. Woolworths might integrate some social media features into their existing mobile application to help in the smooth processing of information and allow more customers to communicate effectively with them in a real-time response. @Woolworths
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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Microblogging and Allianz Real Estate

I have discussed some of social media tools that assist productivity in an earlier blog post, particularly by using Wikis and Google Docs. Apart from that, there are other social media tools such as blogs and microblogs. In contrast to the blog, microblogging, as defined by Wikipedia, accept smaller amount of content rather than the normal blog. It allows the users to have a two-way communication, have a small conversations and exchange content such as short sentences, images or even video links where you listen and share ideas with others. In this blog post, I’m going to attempt a microblogging value levers for Allianz Real Estate.

Allianz Real Estate is a well-known holding company that based in Munich and Paris and is considered as one of the world's leading property investment and asset managers. They also expand their business to provide and manage commercial real estate loans in different countries. In addition to their official website, Allianz Real Estate communication also takes place in the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

As indicated in the The Social economy report, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012 that professional services depend on social media to conduct the work and sometimes develop new business which is the biggest opportunity to make interactions in more efficient and effective ways through social technologies such as collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Product Development

Implementing Web 2.0 tools help the organization to develop products or services based on customer preferences. Allianz Real Estate have used Twitter to gain more knowledge and communicate product development information in shaping their products by listening to customers‘ conversations. This also make them being able to comment, answer customer queries and provide feedback to people which was not available in other forms of public interface. Introducing Twitter and other interaction tools such as blogs can support product development and co-creation of new development model which differentiate the company with this competitive advantages.

Communication and Customer Service

Web 2.0 tools provide effective ways to open up conversation with customers. In case of Allianz Real Estate, they focus on improving client experience and offering them with highly customized offers. They can talk directly to customers using Twitter to get feedback, information or any ideas from customers. Having such a communication between companies and their customers establishing credibility for the organization and to attract more people to investigate in the company.

And here is an interesting statistics about different social media tools nowadays.

To sum up, Social media can be a powerful and cost-effective channel for any business that strives to produce new products and build brand awareness and credibility between customers. Allianz Real Estate have successfully interact and communicate with a wide range of customers in a timely and effective ways.
What other strategies can Allianz Real Estate could follow to enhance their business?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Social Media Best Practices for Non-Profit Organizations

As I mentioned in the previous post about the benefits of implementing social media tools to assist organizations reach more people in more efficient and effective ways, some organizations have had great success in implementing Enterprise 2.0 while others, unluckily, have not seen the success they dreamed about.

Today, I would like to discuss the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 for a non-profit organization. Firstly, few of the biggest value levers benefiting non-profits today will be presented, including fundraising, creating and expanding volunteer networks, and how they retain support to give an organization insight into quality touch-points from organization to user.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that aims to “connect people through lending to alleviate poverty”. It allows people leveraging the internet to lend money to people in developing countries. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create an opportunity around the world. Anyone can reach Kiva through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or simply visit their official website to initiate a lend. Additionally, they established a YouTube channel to show the real stories and encourage people to loan others.
Mobilize Resources
As stated in The Social economy..., McKinsey Global Institute, 2012, social technology is an ideal way to find and keep donors to target the people willing to help the organization in achieving their mission.

Leveraging social media in non-profit organization increases fundraising totals by up to 40% making Twitter and Facebook an ideal solution for Kiva to start in the social media. They established a two-way communication by approaching stories in a personal and heart breaking way, and by doing so allow more people to engage in the community and lend to others as the least they can.

Create and expand volunteer network

Kiva was radically changed by social media when they ran the “invite challenge” campaign. They challenged their users to invite others to “try Kiva for free” through their different channels such as Facebook and Twitter. They offered Kiva t-shirts to those who successfully invited five or more friends. More interestingly, in less than 24 hours, more than 8000 people came to their website for the first time to offer loans to borrowers in need all over the world.

Retain support

Social networks help Kiva build awareness and growth in the organization through social media. Kiva, recently, launched KivaZip which creates a direct connection between lenders and borrowers. This transparency in the loan process eventually connects people all over the world with a goal to increase poor people opportunities to have a loan.

Overall, Kiva has successfully implemented Enterprise 2.0 tools to fundraise, expand their volunteer network and retain support.  +Kiva @kiva

What other ways can Kiva consider to achieve their mission and expand their volunteer community?

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Social Media Legal Risks in Enterprise 2.0

In my previous blog post, I discussed some of the major benefits and value levers of implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools in Starbucks. Recently, companies realized that they must use social technologies to cope with the digital era and improve their performance which will eventually increase their profits. However, several concerns have arisen regarding the misuse of social media that should be taken into consideration before implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Firstly, to make things much easier, let’s talk about these legal risks within a context. Every company provides a customer with products or services. Therefore, I am going to examine InfoLawGroup as an example of potential legal risks in social technologies.

InfoLawGroup, which was established in October 2009, provides a wide range of legal services focused on information technology, privacy, data security, advertising and promotions, consumer protection matters, e-commerce and intellectual property.

Secondly, InfoLawGroup lawyers enable the firm to offer clients greatly increased efficiency in providing legal services. They have successfully served a diverse range of clients: from large Fortune 500 multinationals to small start-ups, ad agencies and technology service providers. InfoLawGroup currently using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and one of the Founding Partners of InfoLawGroup LLP claimed that “Facebookers and other social networkers often end up sharing a large amount of personal and professional information over time with friends”.

Being a heavy user of social media, there are hundreds of legal concerns that must pay attention to it. In this post, I would like to discuss three big legal risks in the InfoLawGroup:

Information Security Legal Risk

There are two main legal risks of security-related issues. To begin with, employees are accessing social media from company computers, or from their personal computers connected to company networks, malware and phishing. However, social engineering attacks could result in security breaches and legal liability. Secondly, potential confidential information leakage could result in an adverse business and legal impact when information is comprised by a third party.

Disparagement and Defamation

Social media environments provide a forum for defamatory statements to be made about individuals, and companies’ products and services. Employees may post comments that may not be fully accurate or true about an individual or a competitor’s products or services. This could lead to a potential lawsuit and liability. Furthermore, social media sites that allow comments may also involve such statements made by third parties over which the organization has no control.


Social media provides a platform for an interactive communications between companies and their customers. In turn, companies seek to use this knowledge to sell their products and services back to these customers. Social media platforms enable gathering of information, including sensitive personal information, in ways that were unimaginable few years ago. Companies leveraging social media can gain access to this personal information which eventually raises privacy concerns that could increase legal risks.

How to address these Risks?
So how do companies mitigate social media legal risks? Social media experts advise organizations to create a social media policy (SMP) for their employees that clearly states guidelines and monitor what said about the organization and the business. Using Social Media Policy is one of the best ways to mitigate the legal risks as it is a useful way to set some ground rules for employees with regard to their online activities. It's also a reminder that the content that they post may not belong to them and may ultimately affect the organization negatively.

  • Loss of confidential information;
  • Defamation;
  • False statements or misleading and deceptive conduct;
  • Reputation risk;

Additionally, as Malcolm Burrows demanded that, “Organisations should also ensure that those staff that are involved in social media in an official capacity are aware of the legal risks of participation so that they can respond appropriately when the time comes”. I feel that these risks can be appropriately managed through understanding, monitoring, and providing the guidance necessary to maximize its benefits to the organization by a strong enforcement of the social media policy.

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