Archives for May 2013

Google+: immediate payback

Momentum

Growth for Google+ has suddenly spiked. Google+ is on track to overtake Twitter as the world’s second largest social media site. If there’s anything that marketing’s taught us, it’s that you always want to be ahead of the curve – and right now the curve is favoring Google+.

Growth

Mashable reports that Google+ is also seeing an increase of time spent on the site. Users are now spending twice as much time on Google Plus than they did in February 2013 and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing.

Authorship
Google testing tool

A new tool to test for Google Authorship

Having a Google+ Account allows you to claim authorship of your content. This keeps unique and original content valuable and accredited to you. Google+ means that links and referrals will be weighted based on who they come from instead of where they’re posted. Authorship gives you credibility and power. You can test for Authorship with this Google Webmaster Tool.

Search engine recognition

A strong Google+ presence directly correlates to stronger search engine recognition. While it can’t replace an SEO strategy, why not enhance your efforts?

Flexibility

Whether you want to host G+ Hangouts or filter posts for your Circles, Google+ provides flexibility options that many of the other platforms don’t. By taking advantage of these features, you can differentiate your product or service through online features.

Profile links

Unlike other social platforms, you can link to other sites throughout your Google+ Profile, contributing towards a sales process. As more people share and giving your posts a +1, your Profile links will suddenly become very powerful. Having an optimised Google+ Page is much easier to rank than a standalone website. You can also benefit from Google’s bias in quickly indexing posts that have received a+1.

The social matrix and ten IT-enabled business trends

Blue pill, red pill? What is the social matrix?

An article in the McKinsey Quarterly by Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika, Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead, describes ten key digital information trends looming large on management agendas.

These ten trends are listed below but the most relevant is the first: joining the social matrix. The social matrix is not just relevant to big business. Anyone with a stake in an organisation needs to be aware of how these trends are going to affect how they conduct business.

The social matrix is much more than social media: it connects many organisations internally, and increasingly externally, to reach audiences, like suppliers and customers. The social matrix also extends beyond the co-creation of products and organisational networks. It is now the environment in which more and more business is conducted.

Many organisations rely on networked problem-solving, using the thinking power of a number of people inside and outside the company for new ideas and solutions. The pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim, for instance, sponsored a competition on Kaggle (a platform for data-analysis contests) to predict the likelihood that a new drug molecule would cause genetic mutations. The winning team, from among nearly 9,000 competitors, combined experience in insurance, physics and neuroscience and its analysis beat existing predictive methods by more than 25 percent.

Blue pill, red pill

This is your last chance…after this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe…

Searching for information, reading and responding to e-mails and collaborating with colleagues can take up about 60 percent of knowledge workers’ time: they could become up to 25 percent more productive through the use of social technologies. IT-services supplier Atos has pledged to become a zero e-mail company by 2014, aiming to boost employee productivity by replacing e-mail with a social networking platform.

Companies also are becoming more open, ready to communicate across traditional functions and assemble teams with the specific knowledge required for a project. Kraft Foods, for example, has invested in a more powerful social technology platform that supports microblogging, content tagging and the creation and maintenance of specialised communities. Benefits include accelerated knowledge-sharing, shorter product-development cycles and faster competitive response times.

Enterprises still have plenty of room to improve: only ten percent of the executives surveyed last year said their organisations were realising substantial value from the use of social technologies to connect all stakeholders: customers, employees, and business partners.

Social features, meanwhile, can become part of any digital communication or transaction — embedded in products, markets and business systems. Business users can like things and may soon be able to register what they want, enabling new means of registering preferences and, as a by-product, inceasing motivation.

Department-store chain Macy’s has used Facebook Likes to decide on colors for upcoming apparel lines, while Wal-Mart Stores chooses its weekly toy specials through input from user panels powered by social media. In broadcasting, RTL Group is using social media to create viewer feedback loops for popular shows such as X Factor: a steady stream of reactions from fans allows RTL to fine-tune episodes.

The ten trends from the research and article are:

1.  Joining the social matrix.

2.  Competing with ‘big data’ and advanced analytics: three years ago, McKinsey described new opportunities to experiment with and segment consumer markets using big data. As with the social matrix, the firm now sees data and analytics as part of a new foundation for competitiveness.

3.  Deploying the Internet-of-All-Things: tiny sensors and actuators, proliferating at astounding rates, are expected to explode in number over the next decade.

4.  Offering anything as a service: the buying and selling of services derived from physical products is a business-model shift that’s gaining steam: a prominent example of this shift is the embrace of cloud-based IT services.

5.  Automating knowledge work.

6.  Engaging the next 3 billion digital citizens.

7.  Charting experiences where digital meets physical: real-life activities, from shopping to factory work, become rich with digital information and as the mobile internet and advances in natural user interfaces give the physical world digital characteristics.

8.  ‘Freeing’ your business model through Internet-inspired personalisation and simplification: customers expect services to be free, personalised and easy to use without instructions.

9.  Buying and selling as digital commerce leaps ahead: reducing barriers to entry across a wide swath of economic activity.

10. Transforming government, healthcare, and education: technology-enabled productivity growth could help reduce the cost burden while improving the quality of services and outcomes, as well as boosting long-term global-growth prospects.

Homage to Web 1.0 and the handwritten word

As Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company, said recently, it’s “helpful to return to a time when the world’s information didn’t move quite so fast, when we had more time to think without the need to check more than a handful of email accounts and social networks and before we were drinking from a firehose of information”.

Somehow, our paper-based information has to meld with our digital data and work together. I’ve been caught once or twice with a discharged iPhone or a laptop without its charging lead. Paper has its uses.

Thank-you note

In the land of the digital, the handwritten note is king.

The more we communicate digitally, the more that crafted, paper communiques stand out. I still carry a mini-Filofax and a paper journal/notebook and been able to do useful work even when power was down and there was no wifi or mobile signal. I use a fountain pen, pencils and sketching paper.

Hand-written notes, cards and letters now have real value and differentiate themselves from the cacophony of email, texts, messages and posts. And those other senses, touch and smell are amply rewarded by written media.