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Gartner Says Organisations That Harness the Power of Collective Behaviours Will Be the Ultimate Winners With Social Media

Analysts Highlight Six Collective Human Behaviours That Can Lead to Business Value

(PresseBox) (Stamford, Conn, ) Many social media efforts are failing, because some organisations just don't understand how to employ social media to facilitate collective behaviours, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner conducted a ten-month effort collecting data and analysing 200 successful social media implementations to identify how enabling collective human behaviours can lead to business value.

"Social media is not an end in and of itself - it is an enabler," said Anthony Bradley, group vice president at Gartner. "Social media technologies are tools and, like any technology, it is how people use those tools that delivers business results."

Mr Bradley explained that through the use of mass collaboration at scales previously unachievable, social media technologies have greatly enhanced the business value of collective behaviour. Gartner believes that examining key selected behaviours provides critical insight into how social media can deliver significant business value.

Organisations can employ these collective behaviours as the link between business value and social media technologies. They can use them to examine a target community and formulate new ways that people can interact to achieve enterprise value. By understanding the most prevalent technologies, collaborative behaviours, business use cases and business value for six collective behaviours, organisations can more effectively plan for successful community-based social media initiatives. The six collective behaviours include:

Enable Collective Intelligence for Operational Effectiveness

Collective intelligence is the meaningful assembly of relatively small and incremental community contributions into a larger and coherent accumulation of knowledge. Organisations looking to improve internal operational effectiveness through enhanced collaboration, especially around product delivery, customer service and creation of a corporate memory, should examine employing blogs and wikis.

Gartner's research indicates that pursuing collective intelligence to achieve operational effectiveness is one of the most successful social media adoption trends. Furthermore, collective intelligence is one of the earliest and most mature patterns, meaning that skills and tool capabilities are relatively widespread, and success in this pattern is proven.

Employ Expertise Location for Sales Effectiveness

Expertise location involves specific expertise from the masses of people and among the often staggering amount of available content. Organisations seeking to improve sales effectiveness should examine the potential of social networking to enable expertise location behaviours associated with product delivery, product utilisation and customer service.

Gartner's research shows a strong CRM-related social media adoption pattern in employing social networks for expertise locations. It often involves the organisation identifying a small number of customers or prospects out of the masses in the market who can assist in enhancing a product or service or in improving the customer experience.

Unearth Emergent Structures for Operational Effectiveness

Emergent structures are structures that are unknown or unplanned prior to social interactions but emerge as activity progresses. The goal of emergent structures is to gain insight into the true "nature of things" to more effectively organise, manage or interact with a community. Organisations advancing their use of social media should explore emergent structures as a means to better understand how organisations actually behave and accomplish work. Emergent structures is a more advanced collective behaviour and is relatively less mature. Once organisations understand the value of social media and experience some initial success, then emergent structures become more appealing, and the chances for success are higher.

Increase Sales Through Interest Cultivation

Interest cultivation is the collecting of people and content around a common interest, with the goal of growing the community of interested people and increasing their level of engagement. Organisations pursuing social media for brand awareness and sales effectiveness should employ social media to foster mass interest cultivation. Gartner has found that organisations that have successfully facilitated interest cultivation have experienced stronger customer loyalty and increased customer engagement, leading to better brand awareness, increased customer feedback and increased sales.

Engage in Mass Coordination for Rapid Response

Mass coordination involves rapidly organising the activities of a large number of people through fast and short mass messaging that is often spread virally. Early adopters of social media should examine mass coordination for rapidly coordinating a mass response to a significant event. Emergency response, search and rescue, sense and respond, political activism, marketing campaigns, and management of large programmes are some appropriate scenarios for mass coordination. Gartner believes that by effectively employing mass coordination, organisations can more rapidly marshal a powerful response to an important occurrence. However, mass coordination is an emerging collective behaviour and comes with the risks associated with immaturity.

Build Relationship Leverage for Brand Awareness

Relationship leverage is the seemingly contradictory practice of effectively managing and deriving value from a huge number of personal relationships. Organisations pursuing social media for brand awareness and sales effectiveness should examine the potential of the relationship leverage collective behaviour. Organisations that have successfully facilitated relationship leverage experience benefits in brand awareness and customer engagement and relationship leverage is often a cost-effective and lower-risk social media effort.

"Organisations that understand the importance of harnessing the power of collective behaviours to drive positive business change will be the ultimate winners with social media," concluded Mr Bradley. "Those that focus on implementing social media technologies will be the losers."

More information is available in the Gartner report "Employing Social Media patterns for Business Impact: Key Collective Behavior Patterns." The report is available on Gartner's website at Additional insight from Mr Bradley is available on his blog at

Gartner UK Ltd

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,400 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit