BlackRock: The Power of Social Media for Internal Collaboration — Live from BlogWell

Coverage of this session by SAP’s Michael Brenner, who blogs at B2B Marketing Insider. Follower him on Twitter at @brennermichael.

4:30 — Bergen Anderson introduces BlackRock’s Director of eBusiness, Jonathan Haley.

4:31 — Jonathan: Going to explain the “Secret Formula of Social Media Success.”

4:33 — Jonathan: The challenge is to feed valuable information to our sales team. We launched an online communication platform for our sales team. The problem is that this is 1:1 or 1:many communication with little feedback from the community. This limited the adoption. Our external web presence was strong relative to our competitors but not for our users’ expectations. We see this as an inflection point for our company.

4:35 — Jonathan: another part of the challenge is that we are a global investment management firm. We are regulated and many of our intermediaries are also regulated. So we set out on a mission to solve the disconnect with a social solution. We were looking to bring communication and collaboration to our user community.

4:36 — Jonathan: Our secret formula: educate and get people talking. Identify “the villain” or antagonist and uncover the social solution that creates business value.

4:37 — Jonathan: We made the authoring of content for personal and professional use as part of our annual objectives. We started blogging internally and externally and became social media users. We used “speed research” format. Like in speed dating, we had low expectations. We tried to learn something new in 15 minutes per week, and this is what started working.

4:39 — Jonathan: Our research showed that our marketers are already participating in social media more than the average. We set up twitter accounts for our team.

4:41 — Jonathan: In identifying the villain, we wanted to show a common enemy. For us this was 1:1 communication and “The Big PDF” document that is not accessible.

4:43 — Jonathan: The social solution: creating accessible content that is comment-friendly, share-able and search-able so we can add value to the discussions.

4:44 — Jonathan says to identify the business value, BlackRock benchmarked phone calls to product experts, sales teams ability to overcome objections, and perception of our sales teams.

4:47 — Jonathan: This community platform is now being rolled out enterprise-wide. We are also employing this externally as well.

4:49 — Jonathan: Some of our learnings include: getting dedicated resources otherwise, tight teamwork and heavy experimentation — all of this helped us gain internal momentum.

4:51 — Jonathan: Externally, we started monitoring conversations around our company brand. We saw Twitter was the most common platform for discussing BlackRock.

4:53 — Jonathan: Our external villain is identified as the fringe players in the asset management model. Because they are small, they are doing some interesting things. We also have more established competitors with known thought leaders.


Q: As you move to external social strategies, how big is the compliance function?

A: Jonathan:They have a seat on our council and are playing a big part. This is compounded by our global presence and managing that oversight with the regional differences. So we are trying to show some small wins as we go along.

Q: Can you explain the intersection of the internal intranet and other sites?

A: Jonathan:We have portals integrated with our external sales presence but the largest part of our organization is not part of a collaborative solution. We are looking into migrating the organization into more of a social platform.

Q: Is there compliance review for internal posting?

A: Jonathan:It depends who is posting and where that comes from. There are rules around who can post what and how. We manage that with practice management, guidelines and an education process with our sales teams.

Q: Given all the regulatory issues, why did you decide to get involved in social media?

A: Jonathan: The power of what this can mean is hard to ignore. Yes, there are many hurdles, but we need to shift the way we operate and there is too much opportunity out there.

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