Making Knowledge Work

August 13, 2012


Filed under: Knowledge and Information Management, Knowledge Networking, LIKE, Social Media — virginiahenry @ 6:13 pm

The Aim

In the weeks running up to LIKE’s first Conference (on 29th June), we asked people we met “how do you judge a successful professional event?”  Of all the answers – from seasoned conference-goers to occasional event attendees – three signs of success featured most prominently:

  • If I’ve learned something worthwhile
  • If I’ve met and talked to interesting people
  • If the presentations have been relevant to my work and interests

Of course there were numerous other responses, including the quality of the freebies, the lavishness of the venue, the quantity and excellence of the food and refreshments….  But most people we spoke to were more interested in the content of the overall programme than the content of their glass or their  goodie bag.

As organisers of LIKE Ideas 2012 we found that reassuring, because our aim was to run a conference that fellow professionals would find both enjoyable and worthwhile.  When you ask people to invest some money and half a day of their time, you don’t want them to feel in any way short-changed.

The Event

We knew the focus of the conference – The Business of Social Media – was relevant and timely:  Increasingly we’re using social media tools and platforms to engage with our colleagues and clients, and we’re eager to learn from others’ experience about innovations and best practice.

And, in LIKE, we’re incredibly fortunate.  Not only do we have talented, imaginative members able to plan the conference programme (and design the logo, write the literature, scout for the venues, co-ordinate the team workload etc…) – we’ve also got an enviable network of knowledge to tap into:  half of the expert practitioners we asked to speak at the conference were already LIKE members (and since the conference, most of the others have joined!).

We were very fortunate, too, in the support we were given by our sponsors.  Many of them are also LIKE members, and they wanted to help us ensure the event was consistent with LIKE’s ethos – affordable, informative, relaxed and enjoyable.

When the day came, we believed we’d fulfilled our aim.  But we knew that confirmation could only come from the people who attended LIKE Ideas 2012.

The Attendees

48 of the 100 attendees completed feedback forms.  And we were delighted to discover that for more than half of them, this was their first LIKE event.

Interestingly, social media played an important role in alerting people to the conference – more than half had learned about it on Linked In or Twitter:

How Did You Hear About LIKE Ideas 2012?


And, as we’d hoped, the topic was a big draw:

What Most Attracted You To The Event?


Their Verdict

In spite of some on-the-day disasters, such as the main ladies toilets being out of action, the venue’s WiFi dying and the projector’s cooler fan providing unwelcomed sound effects  – the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

More than half of our respondents thought the venue was, overall, a good choice.  The refreshments were rated as good by most people too.  And, when asked their opinion of the speakers, the verdict was a universal thumbs up:

How Would You Rate The Speakers?


Great news for the team, who’d worked hard to select and brief a range of speakers they believed would deliver excellent sessions.  And the responses to the feedback form’s last question were equally heartening:

 How Would You Rate The Conference Overall?


We’re grateful to those who took the time to answer our post-conference questions – and come up with so many excellent suggestions for future LIKE events and conferences.

 LIKE is run by its members for its members.  So we will, of course, be following up on those suggestions and using them to inspire our future event and conference programme.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored, supported, presented at and attended our first LIKE Ideas Conference.

An especially BIG  thank you to Emma Steenson, Sarah Wolfenden, Emma Davidson, Nova Dobb, Lena Rowland, Nicola McGinty, Jennifer Smith and Ben Summers – for turning a LIKE Idea into a successful reality.

Oh – and the content of the conference bags and the wine glasses?  We did well with those too: quality quaff and much-coveted goodie bags!

June 5, 2012

LIKE Ideas Conference: The Business of Social Media

Filed under: Knowledge Networking, LIKE, Social Media — virginiahenry @ 2:53 pm

Did you know there’s an Institute for Social Media?  Well, some enterprising Australian Soc Med evangelists have started one.  And they point out  that “Social Media is not about platforms, paradigms, tools, or a contemporary stage of the ongoing development of the Internet. Social Media is a Movement!”

LIKE has been part of the movement for a few years.  Early in 2009 we set up our London Information & Knowledge Exchange group on Linked In and announced our first meet-ups. Thanks to social media – through word-of-web – we’ve run dozens of successful information exchange events, and have grown to a membership of nearly 900.   Each year we use web applications to survey our members, and tailor our events programme to match demand.

So when they asked for a conference, the obvious focus for the event was The Business of Social Media.  On the afternoon of 29th June a hundred or so professionals will gather in Clerkenwell’s Old Sessions House for sessions examining the practical, business-building uses of social media.  We’ll learn about ways to use social media for external engagement and to support research. We’ll hear first-hand experiences of making business social, and get some straight-talking legal advice on safeguarding reputation when using social media.  And we’ll explore the future of social media in business.

In the spirit of LIKE we’ll enjoy each others’ company (and continue to pick one another’s brains) over drinks and dinner after the conference.  Just like social media, LIKE is a movement – and the organisers, the conference speakers and sponsors, and those who’ll be attending are all part of that knowledge-sharing collective.

As are the writers contributing to our pre-conference Blog Carnival.  Follow the links to learn more from them:  Kathy Ennis   Suzanne Wheatley    Sarah Wolfenden  Karen McAuley

February 18, 2012

How Socially Mature Are You?

Filed under: Social Media, Strategy — virginiahenry @ 1:34 pm

The only Social Media Week event I managed to get to last week was Making Social Part of Your DNA, and this question – about Social Media maturity – was the theme.  The recurring exhortations were “listen and engage”.

The keynote speaker,  J.P. Rangaswami,  (Chief Scientist of Salesforce) spared us the PowerPoint slides, favouring anecdotes and examples instead.  Quoting Alan Kay – “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – went down well, as did his belief that enterprise software should, and will, consist of 4 applications: publishing, search, fulfilment and conversation.   He reminded us that The Cluetrain Manifesto was first published at the turn of the century (and that he’s contributed a chapter to the 10th anniversary edition).  And for the rest of the day we examined, and took part in, the global conversation.

Emma Roffey from Cisco opted for a lot of slides, and a fair number of numbers:

  • By 2015 we’ll have an average of 3 connected devices each
  • 200 apps are downloaded per minute
  • 70% of all information has been created since the internet began
  • By 2013 90% of internet traffic will be video

OK, I’ll stop (but if you’ve an appetite for lists, here’s a link to more “Facts You Should Know”)
CISCO have made sure their 65 thousand employees enjoy an “Integrated Workforce Experience”. Their shared platform has personalised dashboards, rich profiles, workspaces and messaging to help worldwide teams collaborate (music to knowledge management ears!).  And they make extensive use of video-conferencing and video blogs.  When she was asked “what about the power of beer?”, Emma explained that CISCO did value face-to-face and informal meetings too.

Fergus Boyd from Virgin Atlantic talked about how their strategy, Sell – Serve – Socialise, means going to places people are talking about you and interacting.  It also means providing apps and information to serve customers’ needs.
He talked about the usefulness of Altimeter’s social maturity assessment, and of Forrester’s research.  As effective social media businesses value staff as brand representatives, Virgin Atlantic are training their staff – “looking inside as well as outside”.

Mind’s Digital Officer, Eve Critchley, explained how important social media was to charities and how hers was making use of Twitter and Facebook to reach people inexpensively and effectively.  Eve’s statistics were sobering

Unlike the teams in too many other charities Eve’s works hard to co-ordinate their activities with those of colleagues in fundraising and events.  Their Elephant in the Room on Facebook and their Twitter account help them reach people.  Making the most of scheduled tweets, and the support of their digital champions, helps them cope with the workload.

Clay Shirky  wasn’t in the stygian theatre, but, inevitably, he was quoted:  “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure”.  It was during Dell’s presentation, and their business is very serious about opening up to, managing and filtering the info-load.  I’m not sure precisely where Dell is on the social maturity scale, but not too many organisations have a ‘Social Media Listening Command Center’ or a social media university for their staff.   Social Media Manager, Kerry Bridge has been working with Neville Hobson to develop a social media toolkit for small businesses, adding to Dell’s impressive contribution to the global conversation.

Flying Binary’s CEO Jacqui Taylor  took us into the territory of Social Measurement Optimisation.  She talked about the importance of blended customer insights, profiled customer lifecycles and crowd-sourced innovation (using influencers to help develop products and services).  And she said the power of delighting people, by listening carefully and responding rapidly to their concerns, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Jacqui encouraged us to present data and stats to decision-makers in interactive, and mobile, form: making their experience immersive – enabling them to filter and view the information in the way they want, using any device they choose.  Inevitably they’ll be looking for ROI, so demonstrating that involving their staff (60-80% of an organisation’s costs) in increasing business impact through social media engagement is pretty important.

The subdued after-lunch mood was enlivened by Andrew Walker, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Tweetminster.  His message was that authenticity is an important influencer and Return on Engagement (yes, there’s a book on it) is the way to go with social media.  The Tweetminster team were quick to recognise that Twitter provides a useful ‘indicator of intent’ and offers, among other things, a continually-updated source of editorial recommendation (“if he/she’s reading or following that, it must be worth looking at”).  The click-through rate – 10% of Twitter links, compared to 2% of banner ads – seems to support that view.

A recommendation from Andrew: check out the IAB Framework for measuring social media effectiveness.

Jake Steadman, Head of Social Media Insight, Business Intelligence at O2 and Francesco D’Orazio,  Research Director and Head of Social Media at Face had the prettiest slides of the day.

Recognising that consumers’ relationships are with other consumers rather than brands, they’ve been busy doing lots of analysis of interactions and interests to inform O2’s social media strategy.  They’ve gleaned insights around what people Tweet about, and how subject and focus change at different times of the day (afternoons are good for competitions apparently), and at different times of life.   You can view the presentation on the Face site.

The last speaker was Robert Wint.  He’s Head of Digital Marketing at Barclays and is justifiably pleased about taking the bank into the Twittersphere (@BarclaysOnline).
There are nearly 800 followers and, so far, the senior suits (whose by-in was, of course, essential) are content.  Regular reviews of their interactions with customers are informing their training and service improvement, and the insights they’re gaining are adding to their knowledge-bank.  What’s been surprising, Robert told us, are the types of dialogue they’ve been engaged in.   Customers have seen their Twitter presence as a new channel for issue resolution – having tried the usual customer service routes, they’re turning to @BarclaysOnline – so the team are finding themselves dealing with quite detailed issues.  Undaunted, they’re planning to scale to a 24/7 Twitter service and looking to Facebook and YouTube to expand their virtual reach.

There was a panel debate to end the day – about whether marketing, PR or advertising departments “owned” social media – but by then I’d reached engagement saturation!  And, in truth, it seemed a somewhat irrelevant discussion, as we’d all been saying all day long that social media should be pervasive – that all employees are ‘brand ambassadors’.  After all it only the insiders who see the silos.

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