Tag Archives: Cambridge

Social Media – What’s the ROI? Notes from a @CambNetwork breakfast meeting


By Elisabeth Goodman

Social Media: putting you and your business at the heart of your community

Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about how Social Media could be used as a key tool for sharing knowledge and for business development, and effective ways to go about that. [Social Media: putting your and your business at the heart of your community.]  I had the opportunity to do something of an update on the topic at a Cambridge Network breakfast meeting on marketing for small businesses.

This time I focused on the kinds of returns on investment (ROIs) that Social Media can bring to SMEs, and how to maximize that. I was fortunate to be able to draw on the experience of others attending the seminar, and those interested but who could not attend, through a survey that they had completed beforehand.

Here is a brief synopsis of my presentation, the full slides for which can be found here. [Social Media – What’s the ROI? Cambridge Network Breakfast Meeting for SMEs]

By the way, the main tools used were LinkedIn and Twitter, with Facebook, blogs and Google+ following a little behind.

Social Media tools used by small businesses

Social Media tools used by small businesses

Why are SME’s using Social Media?

Building ones reputation, ones connections and ones knowledge continue to be the key reasons for using Social Media, as illustrated by these responses to the survey.

Main reasons why small businesses use Social Media

Main reasons why small businesses use Social Media

What is the ROI of using Social Media for SME’s?

Interestingly 3 of the 19 survey respondents stated that they had found none, whereas the other 16 had all found some return, even if not all of it was financially tangible.  They cited:

  • The value of Social Media in building strong rapport with existing and potential clients
  • Being able to get past the ‘castle guard’ barrier of more traditional ways of reaching out to new clients
  • The importance of ‘dancing as if no-one is watching’ i.e. being true to yourself and what you have to offer, with the trust that if you do so, people will come..
  • The richness of this source of knowledge about your clients, their challenges and issues, and as a general source of knowledge

We also discussed how we should be using Social Media as a complementary tool to other more traditional methods.  I used my own approach to illustrate this.

My blend of networking and marketing approaches to reach clients and keep informed about team effectiveness

My blend of networking and marketing approaches to reach clients and keep informed about team effectiveness

How to maximize the ROI for SME’s from Social Media?

There is an enormous risk of wasting a lot of time and effort on Social Media.  Whist about 58% of our survey spent less than 3 hours on this per week, about 42% spent more than 3-5 hours per week.

So it is important, as in all business activities, to have a clearly defined strategy for our use of Social Media.  This model may work as one approach to this.

How do develop your Social Media strategy

How do develop your Social Media strategy

Other ways to maximize the ROI, by reducing the (unproductive) time spent on Social Media include getting some good training on how to use the tools and making the most of labour-saving ‘devices’ such as tools that enable you to publish updates to several platforms at once (Hootsuite, the update bar of LinkedIn, the publishing feature of WordPress are examples of this).  And of course there are businesses who specialize in managing your Social Media marketing for you.

Personally, I’ve found the 3 ‘I’s: Inform, Interact, Inspire – a really useful guideline to bear in mind in my day-to-day use of all of the tools.

Thank you To the small businesses who responded to the Social media ROI survey

I would like to especially thank those who participated in the survey, whether anonymously or by name.  Here are those who gave their names:

  • Robin Higgons Qi3 Ltd robin.higgons@qi3.co.uk
  • Karen James, Lilac James
  • QTP Environmental Ltd. infor@qtpe.co.uk
  • Amanda Brown, Managing Director, Alterra Amanda@alterra-consulting.co.uk
  • Mark Collingwood http://www.tonicfusion.com Tonic Fusion
  • Jamie Lesinski, Crossbar-fx, jamielesinski@crossbarfx.com 0, @jamielesinski @crossbarfx
  • Ed Goodman, Cambridge Business Lounge,
  • Richard Wishart, Delivery Management Ltd richard.wishart@del-mgt.com
  • Goncalo Syndicate room
  • Alexandra Murphy Cambridge Network alex.murphy@cambridgenetwork.co.uk

Notes

  1. Elisabeth Goodman is Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, enhancing team effectiveness through process improvement, knowledge management and change management. She provides 1:1 tutorials and seminars on how to use LinkedIn and other social media for personal and business development.
  2. Follow the links to find out about other ways in which Elisabeth Goodman and RiverRhee Consulting can help your team to work more effectively for greater productivity and improved team morale.

Deep Visuals Ltd – how Kodak’s knowledge assets did not quite ‘walk out of the door’


When Alan Payne, then Director of Kodak’s European Research team, found out that his 25 strong Cambridge unit was to close in early 2009, he spotted an opportunity that was to prove irresistible.  He suggested to one of the US business heads that they could continue the project they had been working on, outside of the Kodak umbrella, and do so at a lower cost. His US colleague had been very upset by the upcoming closure, and Alan’s suggestion made his day.  Alan’s colleague persuaded others in the US, and, before long, the contract was signed and in place.

I met Alan at one of Cambridge Network’s events, and when he told me about this, I asked if he would be willing for me to put together a ‘case study’, as a response to some of the comments I had received to an earlier blog: Knowledge assets have been walking out of the door – is anyone taking note?’ Alan kindly agreed, so here then is the rest of the case study.

Kodak’s European Research team had itself been the result of substantial organizational change when, in 2005, the umbrella organisation decided to consolidate the previous teams in Harrow, North London, and in France, to create the Unit in Cambridge. More than 200 people had been cut back to just 25 when the new Unit opened in January 2006.

The Cambridge team had been instrumental in introducing a new culture as a result of the transition from film to digital images. Whereas Kodak had previously been one of only a few companies in the world with expertise in film, they were suddenly vastly out-numbered by all those with digital expertise.  Alan, and the previous Director of the unit, Sam Weller, convinced Kodak Research to adopt what became an example of the ‘open innovation’ model.  As Alan describes it, the model is like a pair of scales: you give some of your technology away, but this is vastly outweighed by the expertise that comes in.  Although the US really liked this model, they could not afford to continue funding it, hence the closure of the unit.

Now Alan, and Peter Fry, each with more than 30 years experience at Kodak, co-own Deep Visuals Ltd, and run it with 2 other members of the original team, as well as a 5th team member that they’ve recently taken on.  They provide Kodak with an invaluable worldwide perspective on their client base and on product design and development – an important counterpoint to Kodak’s otherwise strong US focus.  They draw on a wide network of consultants, many from Cambridge University’s student population.  And they use a strong user-centered approach for product design, an important strategy where large organisations often risk relying too much on a technology-centered approach.

Kodak is very supportive of Deep Visuals current attempts to broaden their client base and strengthen their financial footing.  One area that Alan is exploring is museum collections.  He sees parallels between the challenges that we as individuals face in managing our personal historical photographic collections and those that museums have in making their vast collections of artifacts accessible to the public.  He is applying for grants to research the museum sector and to develop demonstrations of what might be possible.

This latter is in itself an example of Knowledge Management: an area that Alan also previously championed within Kodak.  He and his then colleague John Trigg believed that Knowledge Management was all about culture and people.  They were cognizant that people’s knowledge could be easily buried and lost and they promoted the use of electronic Laboratory Notebooks (eLNBs) as a way of making their knowledge more accessible.  Additionally, when the European Research team was due to be closed, Alan and his peers in the US set up a few interview sessions between the UK and US staff to enable sharing of knowledge.  They also ensured that all work in progress was fully documented, and of course that the eLNBs were available.

Finally, the existence of Deep Visuals Ltd itself, has obviously ensured that their invaluable ‘knowledge assets’ continue to be available to Kodak.

For Alan, the experience has been very liberating.  Like many who have spent most of their working life in the corporate world, he assumed that it would be very difficult to start up his own company.  With encouragement from his friends, and the support of Business Link, Alan was encouraged to go ahead, and was amazed at how easy the whole process was.  The hardest thing was coming up with a unique name!  Now, Alan is keen to ensure that the development of his staff is not overlooked.  He is beginning discussions with individuals to understand their technical and personal goals, and to ensure that Deep Visuals continues to be an exciting place to work.

Note:

This case study is one of a series that I am pulling together along my company’s, RiverRhee Consulting, 4 main areas of expertise for enhancing team effectiveness for improved productivity and team morale:

  1. Focusing on your customers
  2. Simplifying and streamlining what you do
  3. Optimising information and knowledge assets
  4. Ensuring successful business change

If you would like to share a case study relating to how your organisation is addressing these topics do please get in touch and I would be happy to discuss documenting it in one of my blogs.

You may also be interested in taking advantage of one of my complementary monthly Friday afternoon clinics

You can find more information about RiverRhee Consulting, and about me, Elisabeth Goodman, Business and Information Consultant, on http://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethgoodman, and in the Cambridge Network directory, http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk