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Cisco’s Social Media

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I got distracted and it took them a while to post this, but here’s the Jeannette Gibson talk from last week:

Cisco’s Social Media Journey

(apologies for the link and not the embed directly here; something’s not working right with the embed code from Ustream and I’m just too tired to try and figure out what the heck is wrong with it.)

She talks about a number of important issues regarding using social media in the enterprise, and a lot about the use of video.  If you can find the 45 minutes to watch it I recommend it.  Here are some things she mentions that caught my attention – some social media, some video, some general.  My thoughts, in the order in which she discussed it:

Social login/using FB

The big question here is what are the implications? This goes well beyond Cisco and corporate social media – Facebook has a stated position that we should all share everything about ourselves with everyone around. I’m not personally comfortable with that, particularly with the way FB and other social media entities choose to mine and use data about participants. I’m a heavy Facebook user, but not without qualms. The idea of leaning on my personal social space to manage my access to a more professional space troubles me, as I behave differently in different spaces. It’s a new world where privacy is much harder to maintain, and it’s just something to think about before blithely connecting everything together.

Websites more discoverable w/video

Not sure I’m sold on this – search engine optimization (SEO) is notoriously tough to implement with video files themselves (see this Streaming Media panel on the subject) so you’re relying a lot on typical text-based SEO practices in relation to your video. Many articles on the subject suggest posting videos to YouTube, but as I’ve said in the past I’m not sold on YT as a primary media delivery strategy. As video gets more commonplace it becomes just one more item in the SEO mix and I’m not convinced its presence on one’s site improves the likely findability.

Cisco’s Video Growth

There were several interesting points about the evolution of the Cisco multimedia universe. I’m not surprised that so many people in a networking company were running their own media servers under their desks. As she points out, there’s a lot to be said for the kind of authenticity and enthusiasm demonstrated by their people, but at a certain point you need to impose some order and operationalize the process. Clearly you don’t want to kill the interest, but you do want to make sure the messages are getting delivered in a way that increases the company’s success.

Some keys include:

  • Including calls to action – make sure that where appropriate, some mechanism is built in to lead to further steps to develop a relationship with the viewer
  • Those video product data sheets strike me as a brilliant transition away from an old standard that likely just wastes money to a new and more personalized experience. Those one page product sheets either get thrown away, or as in my case end up in a pile from a conference that I never look at again. A product manager, demonstrating the project on video is a perfect example of the cost and experience benefits of video – shoot once, share many times, include a phone number or email address and you have a great opportunity to make an impact on customers.
  • Hitting the right numbers is more important than hitting all the numbers. The targeted business video she outlined looks like a homerun to me – 16,500 views, 800 direct demos, 200 qualified leads, $80MM in sales. That’s a very successful effort for a video that probably cost at most 1/10,000 of those sales. Equally important, it’s a very straightforward success story to discuss with management when they ask why video is necessary or important. It won’t be the case for every video of course, but even smaller scale examples can be very powerful to management.
  • As a consequence of a maturing program, there is a need to set executive expectations – setting goals for a program & accountability for its success. Again, it’s the difference between a decision to add a few videos and a formal strategy for including multimedia in your communications efforts. Not every video will succeed in improving the bottom line, and it’s critical that management understands that. On the other hand, the media manager should be clear on the need to meet the company’s goals, and have some plan in place to demonstrate their contribution.
  • High quality, formal content vs user generated – my one question here is whether or not someone is gatekeeping? Is there some control in place to maintain message quality, consistency, and policy compliance? Again the balance to be struck is between encouraging creativity and participation vs. potential risks.
  • Jeannette and I agree completely that a smart video delivery strategy includes YT & other 3rd party outlets as well as self-owned delivery. Go where the viewers are.

So go watch the video – it says more in a few minutes than I can in a blog post.

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