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Creating a Coherent Social Strategy for Business

Strategy and Business Models
Location: 2022 Level: Intermediate

Many companies have dabbled in social technologies, ranging from blogs to profiles on social networking sites. But almost all of these efforts are one-off technology deployments, instead of being part of a master plan on how to engage customers and employees on a strategic level.

This session will lay out a framework, which Forrester calls the “POST” method, that helps companies understand how to leverage social technologies. POST is an acronym for “People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology” and is the order in which companies need to build their social strategy.

People: You have to understand how your target customer uses social technologies today—and in the future.

Objectives: Given how your customers use technologies, what business objectives can you realistically meet with social technologies? We believe there are five objectives companies can meet better and faster because of Web 2.0 technologies:

  1. Listening
  2. Talking
  3. Energizing
  4. Supporting, and
  5. Embracing.

Strategy: After identifying your business objective, what is your strategy on how you are going to achieve it? A deep understanding of which Web 2.0 technologies and approaches work for which objectives is essential.

Technology: Once the other steps are done, then, and only then, should companies focus on which technologies to use. All too often, we have companies asking us “Which blogging software should we use?” when the question should be “Why should we have a blog at all?” Knowing your objectives will make winnowing and selecting the right technology vendors a much easier process.

The framework described above is the foundation for an upcoming book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, that will be published in early April 2008.

Photo of Charlene Li

Charlene Li

Altimeter Group

Charlene contributes to Forrester’s offerings for the Interactive Marketing professional. She is a driving force behind Forrester’s Social Computing and Web 2.0 research, and examines how companies can use technologies like blogs, social networking, RSS, tagging, and widgets for marketing purposes. Charlene also blogs on these topics at her Groundswell blog and plans to publish a book by the same name in spring 2008. During her eight years at Forrester, Charlene has also led the Marketing and Media research team, and run Forrester’s San Francisco office. Prior to Forrester, Charlene was publisher of interactive media for the Community Newspaper Company in Massachusetts. Charlene also served on the board of directors for the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation. Before that, Charlene was at the San Jose Mercury News, where she managed new product development. Charlene is one of Forrester’s most quoted analysts and has appeared in outlets like 60 Minutes, The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, CNN, NPR, and BBC, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek. She is also an accomplished and frequently requested public speaker, and has appeared at Web 2.0 Expo, Ad:Tech, Search Engine Strategies, and AlwaysOn. She has delivered keynote speeches at many events, including Forrester’s Consumer Forum and Television Forum. Charlene is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Photo of Josh Bernoff

Josh Bernoff

Forrester Research

Josh, a vice president at Forrester, is one of Forrester’s most senior and most frequently quoted research analysts.

Josh joined Forrester in 1995. In 1996, he created the Technographics segmentation, a classification of consumers according to how they approach technology. Forrester has used this segmentation as the basis of its consumer research offering, also called Technographics, since 1997.

Josh is best known for his analysis of television. In an interview for 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace identified Josh as “the top TV industry analyst at Forrester Research, the authority on where TV is going.” He led Forrester’s analysis of technology change created by devices like digital video recorders, HDTV, and online video. Josh advises senior figures in the media and electronics industry and chaired Forrester’s 2002 Television Summit, an event that was covered live on CNBC.

In 2007, Josh began work on a book, Groundswell, which describes how people with social technologies like blogs, wikis, MySpace, and YouTube will threaten institutions of all kinds, and how companies can succeed in the face of this change. Josh’s coauthor for Groundswell is the primary Forrester analyst researching social media, Charlene Li. Groundswell will be published in 2008.