Intuit: the social media manager who found his job with social media

Intuit is a company offering business financial solutions for small businesses. It has been awarded great distinctions including the great place to work award by Fortune. This presentation was delivered by Björn Ühss, global social media manager at Intuit at the useful social media conference which took place in London last week. It was about the changing landscape and mindset of Social Media:


[Björn Ühss, in the background, behind Amber Hayward, became Social Media manager after targetting his future employer via LinkedIn adds]

“One of the things that changed is that social media reached the C-suite and it’s more and more of a priority. At Intuit it is coming from the CEO, it’s a business decision” Björn Ühss said. “It’s not a marketing decision and it concerns everyone in the company” he added.

According to Ühss, Edelman ranked Intuit quite high in the hierarchy of companies using social media too. “Starbucks has issued numbers whereby 38% of their fans are more likely to visit the stores when they have seen a branded message” Björn Ühss went on. “Social Media has now reached considerable scales. Besides, Facebook has now become a giant and is on a buying spree like former high tech giants were a few years ago”.

The presenters stressed that the recent IBM CEO 2012 study predicted that in five years’ time, CEOs will be hired not only on their credentials but on their ability to manage their e-reputation and that of their company.

Björn Ühss gave us his check-list on how he got social media implemented at Intuit:

  1. How social is your CEO? lead by example
  2. is your culture ready?
  3. who are your social media supporters?
  4. where are your customers?
  5. what data can you use?

Intuit has also managed to make social media work for sales with £99 sale add campaigns (“despite what people say” both presenters emphasised).

But the most interesting thing maybe is that Björn Ühss himself found his job with the help of social media. He posted adds targeting Intuit executives until they thought to themselves “we’ve got to hire that guy” Intuit’s Amber Hayward, social media marketing manager concluded.

SAP: convincing the CFO that B2B social media can be a benefit

$-largeLast week I had the chance to bump into Sarah Goodall from SAP; I was very pleased to see her at the usefulsocialmedia conference in London one year after being acquainted with her at a marketing conference in London. Sarah is one of our best social media practitioners in the B2B world and I was lucky enough to sneak out of the B2C session and switch rooms to listen to her. Her presentation was about how to convince your CFO about the benefit of social media. Not an easy task, but Sarah knows how to circumvent the issue; here is how:

Sarah Goodall looks after social media for EMEA and she presented on June 26th at the usefulsocialmedia conference in London. “How can social media generate value? I haven’t got all the answers!” Sarah said as an introduction, but she has a few clues which she wanted to share with us.


Sarah has worked for small and large companies and knows “how to make things work on a tight budget”. SAP sells software and services to businesses; it is forty years old and it comes from “a traditional marketing background” Sarah said, and moving into social business “is a true cultural shift”. Hence, social media “came as a shock” to SAP according to her and “it helped [them] turnaround the sales cycle” Sarah went on. What it means is that there has been more emphasis on posting content on where customers are getting it rather than push that content over to them. Therefore, the transition is to inbound Marketing “even though we are not there yet” Sarah said, very honestly. “Outbound still represents twice the budget which is spent on inbound marketing” she added.

How to attribute social influence to revenue?

At the very heart of the business, there is the owned SAP community, using Jive internally and an external community with customers. On top of that, there are channels which aren’t owned by SAP such as LinkedIn, Slideshare, Facebook, Twitter etc. The SAP community network is fairly known outside of SAP, and is 3 million big nowadays. “A lot of bloggers are contributing in this community, most of them aren’t part of SAP by the way” Sarah added.

On external platforms, SAP have enough fans to fill in football stadiums several times “but this is still not sufficient for CFOs!” she said. Hard facts are required, more arguments needed. So what will it take to drive the point home? “What the CFO is interested in is the impact on customer value, and the bottom line and it’s tough, I’m not going to lie” Sarah said.

secret sauce

So here are a few of Sarah’s secret recipes for getting CFOs to buy in to social media:

  • Potential cost of R&D saved: if you use the comments and the voting and offset that against the money saved on R&D, this is tremendous. There is also a cost of loyalty and there are savings which can be made.
  • Social commerce: this is a little more tricky because “the SAP sales process doesn’t quite work like that” Sarah said. SAP tried to embed links in LinkedIn and experimented on how Facebook posts can lead to a registration. “It’s not enough to generate revenue” she said “it’s not an exact science but it’s enough to uncover value”. There are also chance engagements, they don’t happen very often, but when a potential customer has been turned into a customer later then it is a great achievement.
  • Social intelligence: “this is a little bit more woolly” Sarah said but you can try and get insights from social media, and it can be shown that click-through-rates can be influenced through social media.
  • Social insight: social media is also useful in order to measure brand health. SAP is monitoring what users are saying about  SAP and their competitors. “There aren’t any numbers but it is useful” Sarah said.
  • Sapphirenow: this is the biggest business conference which is organised by SAP. In Orlando, 15% of twitter handles of delegates were identified, and 25% followed the @sapphirenow Twitter handle. “This is still early stage Sarah said but it is very useful to tie to something related to business and prove it’s useful” Sarah said.
  • Social efficiency: social media saves a lot of money on support and reduces significantly the amount of inbound calls SAP is getting for support. SAP mentors are SAP’s brand advocates and “this is media which can’t be paid for” meaning that it is invaluable. SAP also launched a #suithugger hashtag which brought amazing results.

the right metrics

As a conclusion, Sarah said that “you would have to “communicate the right metrics to the right audience. Don’t show clicks and followers to CEOs! Show how social media is impacting productivity. You can’t really talk of the ‘ROI of Facebook’” Sarah warned.

Pearls of wisdom … does anyone have anything to add to this? I don’t.

what social media tool for what message? #csmb2c

I didn’t do any more reporting from the usefulsocialmedia conference yesterday as I was involved in the moderation of a number of panel sessions and I had my presentation in the evening. Talking of which, here it is, all available on, under a creative commons licence. In that presentation, I delivered my thoughts about the status of social media today, I also delved into 10 different business cases which I – or my colleagues – have gone through at Orange and I have also added facts and figures as much as possible. I have also tried to challenge the title of the presentation.

KLM: how to pilot social media for clients’ benefit

Anna Ketting was presenting  for KLM today at the usefulsocialmedia. Her presentation was definitely aimed at better using social media for customer interaction.

KLM has a small home country and market. 70% of its traffic to is coming from paid channels. Google for instance is one of the biggest beneficiaries in that department. When Anna started working on that 3 years ago, questions arose so as to “spend less on paid media”. Discussions ensued, campaigns too (25,000 followers on Twitter joined in) … and then there was the ash cloud. The day after the ash cloud, Schipol Airport was empty but all the phone lines went down! This is when KLM started answering questions via Twitter and Facebook. They had so many questions that they put together a 140 staff organisation to address all these questions 24/7.


[Schipol Airport on Ash Cloud day!]

“In 2 week’s time, this incident showed our management  that social media was useful!” Anna added.

3 main strategic pillars for social media at KLM.

  1. customer services: address service issues and have the necessary feedback. This enables to pick up on the complains and solve them.
  2. brand & reputation: that’s a straightforward department – such as was demonstrated by Heineken. Southwest had a very bad example with “Southwest breaks guitar” which did a lot of bad publicity for the brand. “This is what you don’t want to happen”.
  3. commerce

KLM started with campaigns, went through service and is now putting products worth sharing online. In March 2011, wit the fly2miami campaign, KLM sold the first-ever flight on Twitter.  In May 2011, the tile and inspire campaign enabled users to propose “tiles” which then decorated a plane (120,000 of them on the whole). In September 2011, the Dutch airline launched “livereply” a video made with real-life employees who advertised live customer service on Twitter and Facebook 24/7. “This worked great for employee cohesion” Anna added.

KLM–Livereply video : approx. 350,000 views so far

Now KLM is no. 2 on Facebook and no. 1 in terms of engagement. “We’ve also had a lot of failures” Anna Ketting said, reinforcing that trial and error is necessary – as in many areas – but maybe even more in social media. Very reasonably she concluded by saying that all of this social media stuff doesn’t matter if you aren’t able to deliver your core service properly.

Social products

After two years of being focussed on social media, KLM decided to go out of communications and delve into how social media would enhance products.

  1. Meet and Seat: share your social profile, see who will be on board, and pick a seat next to the person you are interested in … as long as she/he agrees to it. This generated huge media attention because it’ is focussed on the user and not on the company
  2. trip planner (launched a month ago): based on questions by KLM customers : use facebook to talk to your friends, find a date and book!
KLM Trip planner video

What I liked about KLM’s approach was that they managed to take social media back closer to business and its clients. Anna told us that KLM’s social media team is made of 14 people. Facebook is still on KLM’s radar for social commerce, but isn’t really considering it short term though.

#leweb12 – hoteltonight: “smartphones are where the market is going”

The Silicon entrepreneur explained that there are 2 main groups of hotel bookers. One is for people who have the time to book in advance, be it for business or leisure, whereas the other group is impulse bookers. These are the ones that Hoteltonight is catering for: “they are presented with last minute deals. Having an app in your pockets truly changes the way you think about hotels” Shank added.

[note: this is a guest post I did yesterday on behalf of the blog]

[Sam Shank, chain start-up entrepreneur and founder of Hoteltonight]

In the US there are a lot of chains but a lot less in the UK. “The ownership is very fragmented, and this is the bread and butter because people can choose and pick up new places that are nice” Shank said.

not just a High end service?

One could be tempted to think that this is a very exclusive service for the rich and wealthy, but Sam Shank disagrees strongly with that statement: “we want to be something for everyone. It goes from luxury hotels to more basic hotels and even business hotels” he said. The application delivers 3 deals from a selection of 20 hotels each night. Hotels are competing amongst themselves and “nothing can be predicted” Shank said. This emphasises the lastminute effect in so far as you can’t choose what hotel to stay in in advance.

the market?

Admittedly, there are “many vendors in the same space” and some are multi-million companies such as Expedia for instance. “The main way hoteltonight competes is from singular focus and mobile, content and merchandising, customer support and online marketing” Shank said. The start-up’s singular focus on mobile, and their advantage on competition is that they have no legacy systems. Most businessmen are using their smartphones on the move but “it is still a challenge when teaching people that they should use only mobiles” Shank added.

In essence, Hoteltonght is focussing only on last minute deals and mobiles are well suited for this. Besides, it’s a marketing channel for hotels because 90% of buyers have never stayed in the selected hotel before.

Shank’s third start-up

Hoteltonight is Sam’s third start-up: “all have been successful but I know that lack of focus is reason number one for failure” Sam Shank explained, and this is why they focus on smart phones, also because “this is where the market is going” he concluded.