Social media pushing enterprises to engage

By Arlene Burgos,

Posted at Aug 19 2010 06:26 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2010 02:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Social media is changing the lay of the land, and with the change comes evolving customer behavior that necessitates organizations to prioritize engagement.

With this key message the 4th Internet and Mobile Marketing Summit 2010 opened at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia on Thursday.

The event gathers under one roof until Friday about 300 marketers, advertisers and stakeholders in Internet and new media businesses for a series of presentations and talks from industry leaders and experts.

“Ride the wave, not the board,” known Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang said, quoting famous surfer Duke Kahanamoku, in setting the tone for his talk. Owyang keynoted the Summit, which, this year, carried the theme "The Digital Ripple: Engage One, Engage Many."

San Francisco-based Owyang is a partner focused on customer strategy at Altimeter Group.

Owyang said there are 4 “waves” of social business – essentially assumptions on how social media has been empowering customers, and which provides areas that business organizations could improve on to keep their markets or even expand them.

“Everyone is media,” Owyang said. On his first point, he discussed how practically anyone could publish opinions and influence their peers.

“You can allow for negative opinion on your website,” Owyang said, referring to how businesses could allow customers to freely voice out their comments on corporate websites.

He cited the case of Walmart, which allowed 11 blogger-moms to write about practically anything on its site. In the end, the opinionated mothers “acted like media,” talking about issues that mattered to their followers, purse-holders like themselves, allowing for discussion about customer issues within Walmart real estate. 

Owyang’s other points:

* Live the 80% Rule. Technology is only 20% of any enterprise, and the rest is preparation for the company. These preparations include laying down basic rules that company employees and the communities that they build should follow.

* Customers don’t care about your department; they just want their problem fixed. When customers call for help, businesses should be ready to listen and help. And because of social media, “everyone in your company can be a customer touch-point.”

* Real time isn’t fast enough. Information travels too fast and sometimes, even a 24-hour reply window to a customer may not be soon enough.

Digital Media for Advocacy

On the other hand, Maria Ressa, ABS-CBN Senior Vice President, told the gathering how the new media, particularly social media tools, could be harnessed to mobilize citizens for social change.

Ressa spoke after Owyang, and detailed how the ABS News and Current Affairs Division, which she heads, has been successfully using social media in mobilizing citizens who have come to embrace ABS-CBN's call for social change.

Ressa cited the powerful and successful “Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula” campaign, ABS-CBN’s citizen journalism project. Started a year before the May 2010 elections, BMPM gradually primed citizens for the task of monitoring and reporting about the national elections.

By the time elections happened in May, there were at least 87,000 Boto Patrollers (or citizen journalists), and their reports doubled what they submitted in the 2007 elections.

“Change is gradual… In 2010, part of what we wanted to do was make people sit up,” Ressa said.

She also outlined how BMPM prepared citizens event after event in the run-up to elections, achieved the goal of promoting empowerment and hope, and stirring debate and engagement among citizens.

The author was BMPM Head. She is now editor of