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Real Innovation Through Social Media

“Using” social media doesn’t mean innovation.  The definition of innovation according to Peter Drucker is “…any change that creates an added dimension of performance”.  Social media is a chance for us, marketers to step beyond the realm or our core duties and add some real innovation to the firm.

Real examples

AA RoadWatch is a great Irish example. They’ve used their Twitter account to crowd source information about roads and delays.  They couldn’t possibly achieve this using a formal network of people reporting from the road.

AA Roadwatch has increased the reach and penetration of their information provision by using social media, which is fundamental to their business model.

Traffic is not the most exciting topic but human nature likes to help (just like the retweet pictured above). They made the change of sourcing information from the public through Twitter, and this increased their performance and exposure.

In my opinion, online apparel company, rules the roost for social media innovation. Threadless crowd source their tee-shirt designs, getting their community to submit designs and also vote for their favorites. Only the top ones make it to market.

They have started using Facebook and other platforms to encourage people to engage and ‘like’ their designs. They gauge, and therefore know they have a demand for their product before it’s ready to sell. Facebook page

You’ll see on their Facebook page pictured you can post a design to your wall, ‘like’ and even get involved in Threadless meet-ups in your area.  The communities’ (public as designers and public as consumers) perception is that they control and own and are willing to get them involved in a fun way that has a real sense of community.

A far cry from a simple post about the latest special offer. It’s real innovation.

What can we do to start innovating?

As with everything, I suggest simple exploration with your key stakeholders and colleagues.  Below are some examples.

Why don’t you give us more and we can start sharing ideas and gauging results?

  • Could you incentivise Facebook check-ins for your staff i.e. get them to check-in every morning on Facebook in work to let people know what they are working on and tag your page?  (this could encourage people to get in early and showcase their hard work to their network)
  • Could you use Facebook/Foursquare check-ins for discounts in your canteen? (give people some real incentive to get in on your social media buzz – if people understand from  experience, they will see real value in future ideas)
  • Could you send motivational emails internally with QR codes encouraging people to explore?  (again, like the above)
  • Could you run a Youtube campaign of a day at your office for your HR department when recruiting?  (showcase the efforts you go to make a positive working environment through video  – you could even encourage Youtube applications which is currently a growing area)

As marketers, we may know more than our colleagues about social media and therefore we’re in a prime position to be real leaders in innovation.

Educate people in your company that social media is not just for you but has the potential to create real change and increase performance in many areas outside of marketing!

The possibilities are endless. Let me know what you’ve done to stand out among the crowd. Please share your ideas and previous experience below. Thanks you!

ME: Marketing Manager, SaaS; co-founder of; Social Media Junkie; MSc in Strategic Management; Opinions my own and they may offend (not intentionally of course).

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  • Hi Connor, great post and nice examples. One current example I’m involved in the car industry with is, there given their Facebook community the opportunity to book a test drive viz Facebook, I’m pretty sure this have never been done before in Ireland, check it out here:

  • A great post Connor, indeed it is important to think outside the box when using Social Media and Social Networking. You have provided some great titbits there.nSocial Networking is here to stay I believe, and like ATM cards, everyone will be using it in some form or other pretty soon, with out the fear of God himself.nI just posted a status on twitter this morning wondering if we will all have QR codes as our avatars within 6 months, what do you think? Will we become little black & white squares instead of funky profile pictures?

  • Who knows Elaine. It’s mad to think that QR codes have been around since the mid-nineties! They have really taken off though! Have you tried getting your own QR Tee-shirt? 🙂 I would consider it for the intrigue as many people may not know what it’s about!nnThe examples are very small really but it’s getting into the frame of mind and more importantly getting others on board into the frame of mind that you can use social media in any department to create innovation. Spread the word from department to department and get people on board 🙂

  • Hi Niall,nnI originally went to school beside that garage would you believe in Tullow 🙂 That’s a fantastic idea. Again simple in a sense but so clever. If you have to start looking to make up things to justify social media you’re in trouble – that’s a great way to target a market that exists through Facebook and take the fear out of picking up the phone if they want. Kudos! nnMy examples are really very small – but they’re about getting into a frame of mind. When people think of innovation they very often think of science and technology and futuristic developments. Innovation to me is an everyday approach and state of mind that we take when approaching our daily work 🙂

  • lol, small country! n

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Lewis.

  • Bernard Kennedy

    Organic Media are providing an entry level product to create a Social Media presence for Irish businesses, give them a call on 415 1206nnBernard Kennedy

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more, Dane. He’s a great example of someone who does it right!

  • I like this Frank, thanks for sharing! I have a long-term set of (5-10 year) goals and have based mush of my decision making during the last two years or so on continuingu00a0to put myself in a position to achieve these longer-term objectives. Turning in down projects and potential customers has now become much easier because of this, and the projects that I work on are much more focused because. Of course, there are still times when a short-term need out weights and I need to proceed but even this have become a lot less common in the last while. Short-term thinking is in my opinion very often the reason why businesses, people and countries get themselves into difficulties and continuing to think like this virtually guarantees failure.

  • Long term objectives aside, by gosh what you refer to above is more than a road map Frank. It sounds like a mountaineering exercise which involves altitude as well as distance.nnBut it fits the bill, the longer term goals definitely take us to a higher level, because it means we are valuing ourselves and interested in where our future comes from, not just allowing circumstances dictate our future.nnWe have destiny, and it’s up to us to plan it out and execute those plans. But not beat ourselves up when we hit an obstacle.nnI like the concept, reminds me of different levels of goal setting using a specific coaching model. It also reminds me of Maslow and his hiearchy of needs. We can only plan for our long term futures, when we are sustained at more basic levels.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Timo. u00a0My aim is to review my goals and objectives each month to make sure I am doing projects that support them. u00a0I aim to review my 3-5 year vision, once a year.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Fred. u00a0I like the idea of making it as visual as possible. u00a0Making things more visual is an area I need to work on. u00a0Do you have any hints/tips?

  • Anonymous

     Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you very much Niall for the opportunity  to blog for
    TYB, I really can’t stress enough how important the planning and execution of a
    good marketing plan is for business. Not implementing a proper plan can lead to
    disastrous results not only financially but on the future of your business. I
    am a great believer in the value aspect rather than cost issues. Oh that could
    be another blog:) The Value an app can bring to your business.

  • Great article. The key, as you say, is standing out in the crowd. So not only does your App have to be unique, differentiated and offer something others do not, then you then need to make sure people in the target are aware of it. The best is through recommendation – either as Apple (for example) has it as one of the featured ones in your category – or by trusted 3rd parties who will shout about it. 

  • *blushes*  Thanks for signing up for my blog! look forward to reading more of your posts and having more interactions on here and on my blog!

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you Helen for taking the time to comment and the welcome, really appreciated. Asking is so hard for many people, myself included:) but so rewarding  and if people like your product they are more than happy to review. If they don’t like it then its a great opportunity to find out why and see if something can be done to help. We have been very fortunate to have been able to turn some negative reviews into positives all it takes is communication. Practice makes perfect:)

  • warrenrutherford

    Deb I appreciate your marketing approach as one that resonates with anyone seeking customers – but in a field with massive growth as you note.  I can see your approach as quite effective in standing out in the crowd. 

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you Warren and yes as the App store is moving so fast and the sheer number of apps you are up against is rising so quickly, it does call for putting yourself out of your comfort zone and fighting to be seen. I am only glad we deal with business apps (which have a longer slower steadier life span within the App store) the games market is a totally different ball game and needs a different approach. 

  • Congrats! I clicked on the ad and did the What Type Of Business Owner Are You? test. I am the hands on soloist at this moment! 😉

  • Thanks for sharing these great startup examples Sarah. It’s interesting to hear how successful businesses start off. I look forward to your next post

  • Sandra Crowe

    I got to say these are great tips indeed but if I may add in number 1 you must be also in the right place to make that start up like for example you would build an arcade you have the right time the right product / services but you are in the middle of nowhere so besides from the right time right product you must also be in the right place.

  • #1. CRM doesn’t need to be complicated.
    In fact, your CRM shouldn’t be complicated! Your CRM should to so easy that you shouldn’t have to think about it afterwards. It should be so simple that anyone at the company could pick it up and use it on a daily basis. Because, if they don’t use it, the thing is a waste of time and money and won’t give you any benefit at all.

    In fact, complicated CRM is the #1 reason companies fail to adopt CRM software. They either use it minimally or they end up not using it at all, which is a real shame. CRM brings a ton of power, but you have to find one of the few apps out there that actually makes CRM simple (think Nimble, JobNimbus, Insightly, and a few others).

  • Guest

    Thank you for the comment! Absolutely agree with you @Brad Hodson:disqus . CRM has to be simple and easy to use. Another app I would add to your list is InTouch. We are an entry-level CRM software provider targeted at small businesses. Our system is easy to use, we have banished all tech-talk and complicate terminology, we have tons of useful materials and much more. For anybody looking for a user-friendly CRM solution, I would suggest they give us a try.

  • intouchcrm

    Thank you for the warm welcome Sian! It is pleasure contributing to your website!

  • intouchcrm

    Thank you for the comment! Absolutely agree with you @Brad Hodson:disqus . CRM has to be simple and easy to use. Another app I would add to your list is InTouch. We are an entry-level CRM software provider targeted at small businesses. Our system is easy to use, we have banished all tech-talk and complicate terminology, we have tons of useful materials and much more. For anybody looking for a user-friendly CRM solution, I would suggest they give us a try.

  • I completely agree that CRM needs to be easy to use. If you don’t use it, it is worthless.

    Additionally, CRM on its own without Marketing Automation really extremely limiting. Advances in affordable Marketing Automation in conjunction with CRM can really put a well designed marketing systems into overdrive.

  • Kara Johanson

    CRM provides a great mechanism to manage the existing customer as well as getting new ones.

  • Liesha Petrovich

    Thanks Sian. Good luck with it!

  • A great reminder of ways to benefit from all that hard work – and a timely reminder, thank you Liesha. Easy to follow steps to earn from something we may be doing also for other reasons.

  • Lissa Anderson
  • Midhilesh Pillai

    can u pls provide any site that pays for such type of surveys?

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