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2/21/2012
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Social Media Week: Business Metrics Take Spotlight

At the global social event that expanded to 21 cities this year, business metrics dominated discussion. Hot topics included analytics and internal social business tools.

Social Media Week is a global event designed to shine a spotlight on emerging trends in social and mobile media. The first SMW, four years ago, was held in New York, with events taking place throughout the city and online. The most recent SMW took place Feb. 13-17 in 21 cities, with 60,000 attendees and hundreds of thousands participating online. The growth in Social Media Week, operated by Crowdcentric, reflects the growth in social media for both personal and business use. IBM has been both an early adopter and early vendor of social networking technology, and company executives focused on social shared their thoughts on the patterns and trends they noticed at SMW and what they mean for the social enterprise in the future.

One of the biggest topics of conversation at the recent SMW event was analytics. This is not surprising, as companies expand not only their use of social business applications but seek to understand the data it's generating and how they might use it.

"What I took away from participating in Social Media Week is that there is so much opportunity to communicate the potential social analytics presents for businesses of all sizes and all industries," said Rod Smith, IBM VP of emerging technologies. "We are just at the tip of the iceberg with people's knowledge of the impact this advanced analytics technology holds. Helping companies uncover ways to reduce time to value in this space and integrate social analytics into existing business processes has not been focused on enough, and this event was the perfect platform to highlight it."

IBM's Ethan McCarty agreed, saying he spent time with people from companies increasingly looking to align social activity with business metrics.

"There was, as expected, a great deal of interest in understanding how to measure this activity and link it to revenue or other business metrics--and widespread belief that the nature of these digital interactions will lead to better measures and even the ability to make predictions based on the analysis of all of these new digital artifacts generated as a result of social media," said McCarty, senior manager of digital and social strategy.

Indeed, many who attended the event or participated online noted a distinct change in tone from previous years. Where even two or three short years ago the use of social networking by businesses was something of a novelty, today it is moving more to the mainstream--and inside corporate walls.

"Over the past several years, we've witnessed a shift in social," said Sandy Carter, IBM VP of social business and collaboration solutions sales and evangelism. "Today, social is not just about leveraging public platforms like Facebook and Twitter; it's about embedding social into all parts of an organization ... Social Media Week is certainly supporting this trend, expanding its focus on social and providing a unique opportunity to educate those who are already social media believers to take the next step toward truly becoming social businesses."

Did you attend any of last week's Social Media Week events? Please share your insights below or email me at debra.donstonmiller@gmail.com.

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