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Announcing: Hyper-Social Mini Summits (Boston & NYC)

August 16th, 2010 francois Posted in announcements, Hyper Social Enterprise, Interesting Links 2 Comments »

Hypersocialorg248Following the release of our book, the Hyper-Social Organization, we are now launching the first two Hyper-Social Mini-Summits.

Reading a book is one thing. Turning the ideas presented in a book into actionable and measurable programs is a different thing all together. That is why we created the Hyper-Social Mini Summits – one day events to help you turn the ideas that we developed in the book into actionable programs, tailored for your company.

The first Hyper-Social Mini-Summits will be in New York City (Columbia Faculty House on 9/30/2010) and Boston (Harvard Faculty Club on 10/05/2010). The cost is $499 and it includes participation in the whole day event, a great networking dinner with 50 of your peers, a copy of the book, a pre-conference call to assess your specific challenges and expectations, and a post-conference call to make sure that we can address all the questions that will come  up as you bring the concepts back to your organization.

If you are a marketer thinking of leveraging or already in the process of deploying social media and communities as part of your business, you should attend, as this event is designed for you. And no, we are not offering an early bird discount. If a $50-75 discount is the only way you would register, then maybe this event is not for you. You need to see the value – and we believe  that the value that will be delivered as well as co-created will be outstanding. Not only will the session be somewhat tailored to your needs and challenges (not totally as there will be 50 0f you),we will also share the results of the third annual 2010 Tribalization of Business Study, and have a follow up call to ensure that you can maximize the learnings from the session within your organization’s context.

For more information and registration links, please head over to our Hyper-Social Mini-Summit page. We hope to see you there and maybe even bring a colleague or two. And if you have not done so yet, stay up to date on everything Hyper-Social-related by following us on Facebook.

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We are now Human 1.0

July 26th, 2010 francois Posted in announcements, Hyper Social Enterprise, tribalization of business 1 Comment »


As I wrote a little while back, the thinking that went into our latest book, The Hyper-Social Organization, affected me profoundly. So much in fact that I decided to refocus and rebrand my company around it.

Well today it’s official – we are now Human 1.0!

We are now focused on getting companies to become Hyper-Social by turning their business processes into social processes. In a way, that is not all that different from what we did in the past as Beeline Labs. The big change is that we are drinking our own Kool-Aid and that we soon will be delivering our consulting services using a social consulting service delivery model. After all, how could we expect our clients to buy services that are not based on the same principles that we preach? We are also terribly proud of a new consulting collaboration that we have with Deloitte, as well as a great advisory board with senior executives from some of the biggest companies to advice us on our business model.

Human1networkbutton150I am also unbelievably happy with the new website, which was designed by my good friends at Brains On Fire – thank you Robbin, Geno, Megan, and Justin! They also joined our Human 1.0 Network, which will be an integral part of how we deliver consulting services using a social consulting service delivery model. The model is being developed with the two dozen people and companies that are part of it and will likely stay in a permanent state of beta-ness as we constantly fine-tune it for better results. Stay tuned for updates on the model as we test it and launch it over the next several weeks.

We hope you will find the way to stop by and let us know what you think. And if you have time, let us know what it means to you to be human in business again…blog it, tweet it  (tag it #hypersocialorg), or send it to us and we will publish it. If you want to create a picture about it, we may even put it on our home page and add it to our Flickr account.

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Our book, “The Hyper-Social Organization,” is out (30 days early) – consider helping us

June 28th, 2010 francois Posted in announcements, book pointers, Hyper Social Enterprise, Interesting Links 2 Comments »

The big day has arrived – our first book is officially out and can be purchased at (Borders and Barnes & Noble still show the old release dates for some reason).

Needless to say that this  is a moment that I am very proud off.

Over the next couple of weeks and months, I will write about some of the principles that we developed as part of the book. Many of those posts will be repeat topics as I tested a lot of those concepts as we were writing the book.

The writing of the book and the sense-making that came with it has had a profound impact on my thinking – so deep in fact, that I am repositioning my company around it. I had hoped to re-launch my business before the book was out, but that was preempted by the early release of the book by Amazon. Stay tuned for an update on that in a few weeks.

The book has three parts to it. The first part deals with the fact that if you want to understand this current wave of innovation – powered by social media, social computing, or social networking - you are in fact better off understanding what we termed the Human 1.0, which has been around for tens of thousands of years, rather than the Web 2.0 tools. We describe the main elements of the Human 1.0, including reciprocity, our innate sense of fairness, our need to look cool and to attain status and power, and other human quirkiness that can explain a lot of what is happening in business today.

The second part of the book deals with the fact that companies that are successful in harnessing the power of Social Media, Communities, or the Web 2.0, think differently about their business and they act differently. They focus on Tribes and Knowledge Networks instead of the more traditional Market Segments and Information Channels, and they are human-centric to a fault, ditching the old company and product-centricity.

The third part of the book talks about what successful companies actually do differently: they turn all their business processes into social processes and they embrace the messiness that comes with the social. In our research we have found examples of companies turning every business process into a social process except two – finance and legal.

I have not frequently asked for help, and have focused most of my work on this blog on providing value. Today I will ask for your help. Please buy the book, help promote it if you like it, and help us develop a better second book. Here are some ways in which you could help:

We have many more endorsements of the book, but for now I will leave you with what Barry Judge, Chief Marketing Officer for BestBuy had to say: “To the extent that we can be human with what we know, and share it as freely as we possibly can, we’ll go a long way towards gaining a higher or stronger level of trust with our consumers. The authors of the Hyper-Social Enterprise not only explain why that happens – they also provide a roadmap for how to embed it in all your customer-facing processes.”


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The 2010 Tribalization of Business Study is open for business

May 26th, 2010 francois Posted in communities, Hyper Social Enterprise, Interesting Links, SNCR, social media, tribalization of business 1 Comment »

tribalization of business logo 248You may recall the Tribalization of Business Study, a study sponsored by Beeline Labs, Deloitte, and the Society for New Communications Research, which looks at how companies leverage communities and social media as part of their business. The yearly study has come to be known as a valuable resource for companies that plan on leveraging social media and communities as part of their business, as well as a benchmarking tool for those already engaged.

We have just opened the survey for the 2010 edition ( of the study. If you are involved with communities or social media, we hope that you will join us in taking the survey and perhaps also participate in the upcoming qualitative interviews that make up the second part of the annual study.

In return for your time (the survey should take no longer than 20-25 minutes) and your valuable input, we will send you preliminary results of the complete survey results.


Who Should Participate?
If you are involved with a company’s social media programs or communities, as an executive sponsor, community manager, or outside advisor, we are looking for your feedback.

What’s in it for you?
We happily share the results of the Tribalization of Business Study with those that participate – the companies and/or individuals that are willing to share their learnings and are interested in what others are doing and what it takes to succeed. We also share our interpretations of the results through blog posts, articles, and conference presentations.

What is in it for us?
Two of the sponsoring organizations are strategy consulting companies that help clients connect their needs and problems with the best available knowledge. The other sponsoring organization is a research organization that aims to serve its members and other constituents by providing unique industry-specific insights.

What else can you do to help the industry?
Pass the survey link around to friends, peers and colleagues who are involved with communities and social media – the more people that take it, the better and more accurate the results!

Thank you for your time – we look forward to hearing from you.

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Social Media Marketing is not a process to promote YOU!

May 25th, 2010 francois Posted in Hyper Social Enterprise, social media 7 Comments »

[warning: rant]

stay awaysmI have been harping on this topic too many times, but as I recently sat through many conference sessions, and finally opened a book on communities and social media marketing that defined social marketing as “a process that empowers individuals to promote their websites, products, or services through online social channels and to communicate with with and tap into a much larger community that may have been available via traditional channels,” my hair got on fire.

I mean seriously – a channel to pimp your wares that has the potential to reach a bigger audience than TV audiences? Get real! This is bad advice.

Companies that approach social media marketing from that perspective will fail… miserably. Those that realize the real potential of social media will win… big time.

You see, social media marketing is not about you talking with an audience – it’s about them talking with one another. It’s about having a real time window in what your market is currently thinking about – what they like, what they dislike, who has the trust and who hasn’t. It’s all ABOUT THEM – NOT YOU!

Social media marketing has to be steeped in humanity and reciprocity – you give and take. And I recommend you start by giving. If you don’t, people will not only shut you off, they will punish you for not respecting the basic social rules that have ruled human societies for tens of thousands of years. People are no more likely to enjoy a twitter feed that constantly spews company information than they are enjoying a person at a party who only talks about herself.

If you really want to understand social media marketing, start thinking about how you would help a friend or colleague make a buying decision. Would you send them your corporate brochures? Would you spam them the way you do with your corporate twitter feed? Would you use the words you use in your marketing materials?

Chances are you would not.

For some stupid reason, people forget to be human when they step into the office. It is as if they leave their humanity at home and reserve it only for friends and family.

Social Media Marketing is about common sense – it’s about being real, authentic (there is another word that takes on new meaning in the corporate world), and helpful.

It’s about being human.

It’s simple – really.


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Another missed opportunity to leverage Hyper-Sociality

May 7th, 2010 francois Posted in communities, Hyper Social Enterprise, social media 6 Comments »

Huggies-webKimberly-Clark launched a grant program targeted at mom entrepreneurs (see article in Brandweek here). The website,, provides business resources for women who want to start a business, a way to submit your idea, and a few case studies. They are leveraging social media to get the word out.

It probably will be a somewhat successful program, but the minute they stop granting money, all will disappear – there is clearly not a movement of mom entrepreneurs going to emerge from this program. I also wonder if K-C will be able to achieve its goals – which is  “to further strengthen its relationship with its core consumers, many of whom are business-minded, social media-savvy moms.”

What’s missing from this program is the social. There is no social component in this effort at all (although I am sure that for some people leveraging social media as a channel of communications for the launch will qualify as social – it’s NOT!).

Here are some of the things that K-C could have done to make this more of a social program.

  1. Socialize the Business Plan Development Process
    Turn the web site into a community for mom entrepreneurs, where business teams can form, where people can find help to refine their plans, and where they can rate plans as they proceed through some sort of gated process, the way the Cisco iPrize works.
  2. Socialize the funding process
    It would be much more powerful if the program were built in a way that other companies and VC’s, who might be interested in that same tribe of mom entrepreneurs, could participate in the funding process – possibly creating multiple categories of funding and making the whole effort more valuable for all parties involved.
  3. Forget the company and its product – be member-centric
    Make the community totally member-centric, with mom entrepreneurs at the center and not diapers. Sure, K-C and Huggies can be sponsors of the site, but that does not need to be front and center if your goal is to create a relationship with mom entrepreneurs.
  4. Don’t use social media as a channel to get the word out – engage where the tribes hang out.
    Chances are that mom entrepreneurs are already grouping together in some online or offline communities. If so, then engage them where they already hang out. If not, then you may have found a rare opportunity to host a vendor sponsored community that could turn into a movement – one that could not be shut down even if you were to stop the grant program.

Too many social media based programs lack the social that could turn those programs into huge successes.

What do you think? Let me know.

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Follow up on Social Talent Acquisition webinar

April 22nd, 2010 francois Posted in communities, human resources, Hyper Social Enterprise, social media No Comments »

recruitsmA few weeks ago, Ed Moran and I conducted a webinar, hosted by (disclosure: is a client of Beeline Labs), about Social Talent Acquisition. Unfortunatelly, and as is often the case with webinars, we were not able to get to all the rich questions that came from the audience. This is the reason for this post. If you have any comments about our points of view, we would love to hear them.

Q: How would you recommend using social networks to recruit high volumes of candidates, like call center roles?

Social Media allows you to change the nature of the relationship you have with potential candidates from a transactional and episodic relationship to an ongoing relationship. In that vein you really need to shift your thinking from staffing a big  call center once to setting up ongoing relationships with a large number of people who are motivated by “wow-ing” the customer.  The next time you need to staff up a call center, those people will act as an army of volunteer recruiters for you. That could involve setting up a community for people to network with one another, or engage with them on someone else’s platform if that is where they already hang out.

Q: With all the choices of social networking, the difficulty is not only managing the social network but knowing it is working – especially when as a Recruiter we are looking to fill a position by 30 to 45 days.  How can we approach social networking knowing it is working?

First off, chances are that if you have a successful social environment, whether a community or a network, you will not be “managing” it. Most successful social environments are run by the users and members, even when they are sponsored by companies.

Social recruiting and talent acquisition is NOT about recruiting in social media – it’s about leveraging the social for which humans have been hardwired for tens on thousands of years as part of the talent acquisition process. If you recruit in social media you may have some success, but the biggest benefits will come from turning the process into a social process – one which can expand beyond online communities and social networks. Turning the process into a social process means finding others, who’s job it is not to recruit, to help you find the right talent for the opportunity you are trying to fill.

Q: can you give more specific feedback on how a company would start posting/using social networks to recruit employees?

We answered part of this question in the previous answers, but the key here is to start establishing meaningful relationships with people who potentially could help you find the right talent in the future. It could be that those people already hang out on social networks like LinkedIn or FaceBook, or maybe in more specialized communities like the ones sponsored by’s Affinity Lab communities. It could also be that they do not have a place to hang out yet in which case you may have an opportunity to host them on your platform.

Q: How do you recommend developing social network policies, especially for employees? We need to create some type of framework so users know what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Telling your people how to behave online or in social media should not be all that different from telling them how to behave on the phone, email, or in face-to-face situations. Another factor to consider before putting out intimidating or restrictive social media policies is that most customers purchase your products and services based on TRUST – and how can you expect your customers to trust you if you cannot trust your employees.

When putting together corporate social media policies, it is a good thing to understand what others have done and also to include those employees who are active in social media in the process of crafting the policy.

Q: Which social network would you suggest for solely recruiting for a non-profit company?

Again, maybe it would be better to look at this problem from a different angle. What is the non-profit about? Is it like Love 146, which fights against child trafficking, or is it like Mensa, an organization for highly intellectual people? People with a passion for those different causes will not likely hang together and so there is not one place where you will find them.

When trying to engage in social media you need to find the tribes and where they hang out. You also need to be human-centric to a fault, and not wear your company or organization-centric (in this case non-profit) hat.

Q: Working for a real estate company, it’s hard to provide incentives in terms of reciprocity. Any advice on how to appeal on a national level for the recruitment of sales agents?

While not claiming to be real estate experts you should be able to find reciprocity everywhere. Think of the last party you went to and the conversations you had with people – if you remember them, then those conversations were reciprocal – based on value going both ways. If you don’t remember them, then it was probably a conversation that either did not interest you (non-reciprocal from your point of view) or with a people who could not stop talking about themselves.

Q: How did Fiskars communicate out of the scrapbooking community?

We interviewed the CMO of Fiskars who explained the program in detail here.

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WOW Services – the way to win in this marketplace

March 24th, 2010 francois Posted in adoption of innovation, buying behaviour, Hyper Social Enterprise, Strategy 4 Comments »

wowsmIt used to be that the company with the better product won. Then came the age when the company with the better message about the product won.

Very few companies still win with on the basis of having a better product. Apple is probably one of the few that can still achieve that. Their products are cool and we buy them because coolness used to get us better mates.

Most companies can no longer win that way. Coming out with products that have new features no longer gives us a sustainable competitive advantage – either users don’t care, or if they do, competition catches up in no time.

It’s also much harder to differentiate your offering based on the story you might craft about it – as customers and prospects are now increasingly owning that story.

But so – how do companies win today?

The way companies win these days is by delivering services on top of their products that make customers go WOW.  The reason why exceptional service is the new competitive differentiator is not just because it’s easier for competitors to catch up product-wise, but because the news about exceptional service travels fast in the networks that matter – peer and friend networks where the buying decisions are increasingly being made. When people recommend products to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, they do not focus on the features, functions and benefits the way many marketers have been trained to do – they focus on the overall experience of adopting the solution, and the exceptional qualities of that “whole” offering.

So if you are like most companies and operate in a market where it is really hard to differentiate  based on the product alone, you got to focus your attention on WOW service offerings.

What do you think? I would appreciate your input and feedback.

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Rethinking customer reference programs

March 18th, 2010 francois Posted in buying behaviour, Hyper Social Enterprise, sales 5 Comments »

recommendsmI recently attended the customer reference forum, which was a great event. It has been awhile since I was directly involved in managing customer reference programs, but let me tell you that this is big business – over 150 employees dedicated to the effort at Oracle, over 50 at SAP, divisions at Microsoft having 8 figure budgets just to write reference stories, some large companies having Customer Reference Officers, etc.

As I immersed myself into the issues facing customer reference managers, it dawned on me that like many other marketing processes, this one is badly due for an overhaul.

Here are two takeaways from the conversations I had at the event.

Customer Reference Programs have to be focused on the buying process, not the sales process

Most customer reference programs are standalone programs that are squarely focused on supporting the sales process and specifically the sales organization. Sure, they sometimes support PR and product management efforts as well, but those are all company-centric processes. What companies need to realize is that people increasingly buy products based on what peers, opinion leaders, and friends are telling them, and not information coming from their company. So the customer reference program needs to be focused on the buying process, and not the sales process – it needs to become customer-centric, and not company-centric.

It also needs to be fully integrated with any word-of-mouth (WOM) activity the company is trying to foster. Since customers who are acquired through WOM are much more profitable than those acquired by traditional marketing programs, companies should make that a high priority. And with customer references being the biggest asset in such efforts, the customer reference program needs to move front and center to those efforts.

The Customer Reference Program process needs to be turned into a social process.

As buying decisions are increasingly made based on information that does not come from your company, moving forward you will need an increasing number of customer references – not less. And that increasing number is not linear, it’s exponential – those with the highest number of people buzzing positively about them in the marketplace will win. Unfortunatelly, and considering historical marketing budget trends, the budgets needed to scale your customer reference programs will not allow you to scale those programs to the point where you need them. In order to reach an acceptable scale you will need to turn the whole process into a social process – one in which customer references, other employees, and non-customer references or even non-customers can get involved. You see, there are many more people who are buzzing about you than you have in your customer reference database. And there are many more employees talking with happy customers than you have in your customer reference department. You need to get them involved and let them help one another tell a better story in the marketplace – their story that is, and not yours.

So in summary, Customer Reference Programs may be more important than ever, but they need to move to the center of all marketing activities and need to be focused on the buying process, not the sales process. And in order to scale the program to where it makes a real difference, you will need to turn it into a social process.

Let me know your thoughts.

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Active lurkers – the hidden asset in online communities

February 18th, 2010 francois Posted in communities, Hyper Social Enterprise, Interesting Links, social media, social networking, Strategy 13 Comments »

lurkersmMost communities have 90% of users who are lurkers – people who may consume things from the community, but who don’t contribute. Through our yearly Tribalization of Business Study, we found that many companies who run communities consider this a problem (30% of respondents considered it an obstacle) – and that of course is a problem all by itself.

You see, not all lurkers are created equal.

While it is inevitable that larger communities will end up with 1% of their members being very active users who provide enough value for the 9% of somewhat active users, who together provide enough value for the 90% of lurkers, the largest form of participation in online communities happens to be active lurking, which according to an MIT research study can make up 40-50%  of your community membership. Active lurkers are those that may take something from the community and pass it along to others using different channels – so they participate in your word of mouth. Active lurkers also include those people who may visit a customer support community and find a solution to their problem without contributing to the community. Those people derive a lot of value from that community interaction and so does your company since they do not clog up your customer call center. Active lurkers also include those who will contact the original poster through a different channel, like telephone, email, or perhaps a face to face meeting – in effect continuing the conversation outside of the visible public side of the community, but not outside of the community itself.

Thankfully we found that 18% of companies who participated in the 2nd Annual Tribalization of Business are starting to track lurker metrics. It’s not easy to measure the impact of active lurkers, but without some sort of measure about their activity, you could miss a lot of the value that they bring to your Hyper-Social processes – especially in a world where the customer lifetime value is directly proportional with word of mouth activities.

When you think about communities, you need to think about the tribes and their members first, not just one of the public places (the online community forum) where they can interact with other tribe members. They will inevitably interact in multiple places, both virtual and physical.

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