Cover Story: Social Works
Tearing Down Walls
INNOV8 illustrates an area in which IBM Software Group is a social media marketing leader, Carter says. But it's not the only game in town for IBM.
Before the simulation ever became a reality, she set up virtual collaboration with her service-oriented architecture (SOA) team, dubbed it the Social Media Council and set out to break down silos. After breaking down the walls between colleagues, IBM Software Group could learn how to do the same with its customers and partners.
To that end, IBMers reach out through blogs (Carter's are Marketing 2.0 and SOA—Off the Record), Twitter (Carter's handle is @sandy_carter, and she has nearly 9,000 followers) and mobile communities in IBM's Lotus.
"We want to make sure that we're very local," Carter says. "We also bring in development. So for instance, a lot of our products are crowd-sourced, and so our virtual Social Media Group has in it a development representative. We have sales on there, because we use it for relationships; for instance, through LinkedIn groups [where] we make contacts. Or even [in] our own IBM communities based on Lotus. So we believe this virtual model is the most powerful model to use. It gets us embedded throughout the organization, gets different thoughts created in different areas. But it also enables us to bring in more and more of the power of social media."
In spring 2005, the IBM Social Computing Guidelines that Carter helped create allowed staffers to begin reserving their spots on the Web and create public personas. The guidelines have since grown to direct IBMers on how they should conduct themselves on blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds and social media.
"We've got bloggers on industry topics. So banking, health care, government," Carter says. "We have different Twitter channels sponsored by different groups and different people. So it's really not just what we do on TV with 'I am an IBMer,' which is very powerful, but it's taking that to the blogosphere, based on those guidelines, and letting them share their expertise and put a face on IBM."