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So just what should businesses be doing with Social Media these days? Should they be using Social Media at all?

I typed in “what social media should a business use” at the website of you-know-who (I do not mean Voldemort, I mean the other “we are not evil” entity). Low and behold the first entry was from IBM. IBM, “Big Blue”, the father of business machines. Well duh International Business Machines.

Not only was it the first entry, but it was a paid Ad. So Big Blue thinks social media is important.

The title of the IBM piece was “IBM SOCIAL BUSINESS”, and they have a white paper!

But first there is a form. They want name, work email, phone!,  company name etc. and whether my Country is “US minor outlying islands” and so forth. Now that really was a detailed country list!

It may also have been of note that they wanted to know company size and that their smallest category was 1-500 employees. There were only three other size categories and choice four was “over 10,000”. That tells you something.

They also wanted to know if we wanted information about “Customer Experience Management”, “Social Collaboration”, and of course, “Other IBM Products”.

On to the white paper.

So what does IBM mean by the term “Social Business”?

“Social Business is much more than social media. A social business is an organization whose culture and practices encourage networks of people including employees, partners, customers and other stakeholders, to create business value. They will embed social interactions into core business process and apply analytics to gain insights from network interactions.”

Hmm. That sounds like a combination of networking, recognizing that marketing starts with the receptionist, and using collected data to measure outcomes. None the less, “Social Business” includes “social media”, which is what we are looking for.

I searched for “Twitter” and found apparently the only reference to specific Social Media in the paper. It said: “IBM uses LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to support its external recruiting processes.”

OK moving on, that is not going to answer our question.

Lessons:

  1. IBM, based on its company size groupings, appears to target businesses with one employee and 500 employees the same way, at least as regards this sign-up form.  Are those kinds of business really similar enough to target together?
  2. The paper did not give specific insights regarding how exactly a company should use specific Social Media.
  3. There was no mention of newer Social Media venues, such as Tumblr, Habbo or Ello. Not to mention niche sites such as Epernicus, which one might think are relevant to IBM marketing.

Well, in summary: Old Blue thinks that Social Media is important and that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the players to be considered.

But just how should a company use it? Should a company use it?

More on this next time.


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