Thursday, July 31, 2008

Corporate Blogging Series VI-Indian Corporate Blogs

The latest addition to corporate blogs in India, after Infosys ,Tata Interactive Systems Ltd., and Frito Layis the Indian auto giant Mahindra and Mahindra.

Named the Mahindra Universe, the blog revolves around 4 thought processes-
Customer Centricity

With respect to Customer Centricity, the blog says-

Mahindra aims for a long-term engagement with its customers and encourages customer loyalty and advocacy by responding to their changing needs and expectations speedily, courteously and effectively. Engaged customers ensure a business of sustained and profitable growth.

With about 30 posts in a 3 month time span, it will be interesting to follow the usage of the blog by the organisation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Emergent Social Software Platforms-The list of FAQs

Professor Andrew McAfee at Harvard Business School has compiled an exhaustive list of the frequent causes of organisational dilemmas towards adoption of emerging social software platforms.Primarily relevant to the set of organisational setups who are still very skeptical about the possible chances of misuse of these platforms by employees.

A must read-
Some questions you might get asked

Professor Mc Afee's research on enterprise 2.0 is a reference place for organisations attempting to weave these social software innovations into the corporate setup.

Further reading-
Web 2.0 in the enterpriseby Michael Platt from Microsoft.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Corporate Blogging Series V-8 reasons why organisations should blog.

Andrew Rudin's post at Customerthink raises a pertinent question with respect to an ideal social media tool for salespeople.

My take on this-

Social media is a good tool to track prospects through social networking sites and highlight product benefits. The negative implication obviously lies in this being a short term solution.To work on that, salespeople can team up and form online communities which can also help reduce post purchase dissonance or doubts and at the same time help the organisational customer centric strategies by allowing a peep into the consumer mind through analysis of the member conversations.

My view on the right social media tool for the job is an organisational blog.There are too many shiny new web 2.0 objects,and social networking sites can help form groups faster(so a good short term approach) but i still think that a blog may make more sense.

1.The blog can serve as a virtual brand communication tool and selected salespeople can join hands and benefit from each other's posts and consumer comments.It is easier to update than the organisational website.

2.By posting content relevant to the consumer organisations can give them a reason to revisit the site.

3.A blog post will optimise better on search engines.

4.It will equally serve the purpose of a community.

5.Ownership of an employee contribution on the organisational blog lies with the organisation.

6.Blog audiences appear to be more focussed- so discussions will be more meaningful.

7.The organisation can link back to all consumer evangelists blogging about the organisational products and hence try to reign in the consumer generated media to some degree.

8.The organisation can participate in the online dialogue that consumers or the relevant industry as a whole is involved in.

9.Tracking and monitoring consumer sentiment becomes easier.

As I researched varied types of content on organisational blog posts, I was able to identify at least 25 different types of the same. A factor analysis should help categorise the same into relevant content categories.

Somewhere this appears a more subtle, more relationship marketing way of getting a customer...doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Forbes Business and Financial Blog Network

Last month my mail inbox had an email with the following subject-
Business and Financial Blog Network: an invitation to join:

The text ran something like this-

"You are invited to join the new community of the high quality business and financial bloggers from Our community, the Business and Financial Blog Network, was launched in March, 2008.We chanced upon your blog in a google search........

The Blog Network’s content will focus on senior business decision makers and high-net-worth investors. Topics will be relevant to the banking, trading, hedge fund management, affluent investing, and senior business decision-making communities. Participation in the network is by invitation only, and all blogs are vetted by editors for appropriate content, and to ensure that they are in keeping with the Forbes editorial brand.
Your blog will be promoted to our roster of blue-chip advertisers and we will only run campaigns that are appropriate for the audience. "

I joined the network and for all those bloggers who would like to do the same, click on the network ads located in the right margin or in the footer and then let forbes take a call....
For those interested in hosting ads on your blogs, look up Google adsense.Google AdSense matches ads to your site's content, and you earn money whenever your visitors click on them.

Happy blogging!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Corporate Blogging Series IV:Content Attractiveness and the Consumer.

Debbie Weil’s post on tools to measure the success of a corporate bloghighlights the usage of Google Analytics to measure statistics, page views, unique visits, time on site, maximum page views and feedburner to track RSS.

She also talks about inbound links to the corporate blog. Technorati rankings make sense, but I still feel that Technorati Authority will be a better measure. The take on comments is relevant, as comments appear to be a better measure of consumer interest than no. of unique page visits and time spent by a user on an exploratory search, who happened to land onto the particular webpage. Though useful from a long term point of view for generating brand impact, of greater interest to an organisation is a somewhat ‘engaged’ user who is significantly emotional about the brand enough to comment on an organisational post. What is more interesting here, than the kind of post which garnered the maximum views is the kind of post which garnered the maximum comments!!

Blogs attempt to change the flow and balance of information and try to shape perceptions by presenting a unified mass market branding image which can be confronted by a counter flow of dissenting opinions, alternative sources of information and messages.It is these opinions which are reflected through the user comments that are significant.

In this context, a user perception survey for content on a corporate blog can help categorise content into different categories. Further, ascertaining no. of comments per post in each category separately and statistically analysing the same can add value to the process of generating accountability for a blog.

Content attractiveness may well hold the key to building consumer engagement through social media.After all, a post responding to a brand related controversy may generate far more consumer interest than one about the organisation's CSR initiatives!!!