Social Networking Conference Case Study: Sumaya Kazi on Sun's Social Networking Programs

Case Study: Sumaya Kazi on Sun's Social Networking ProgramsCase Study: Sumaya Kazi on Sun’s Social Networking Programs highlights Sun’s process of social media strategy plans.

Sumaya is a key leader of Sun’s considerable social media initiatives, and she shared some of the strategy and tactics behind Sun’s programs.

  • Sumaya has been at Sun four years, two years specializing in social networks.
  • As a company, you have to realize that the age of owning content is over; user generated content is the thing now. For example, Soulja Boy launched on YouTube as a 16 year old, and he is now a famous rapper.
  • This also means that companies have the opportunity to grow their brands organically.
  • Sun is involved in its own social network sites, and they invest in non-Sun platforms like Blog Talk Radio, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. One of Sun’s first social networking initiatives was Jonathan Schwartz’s blog, which is just to celebrate its fifth anniversary (he was the first Fortune 500 CEO blogger).
  • Sun has 5,426 bloggers on 4,437 blogs (some blog on teams). Sun’s employees are very open, and there’s huge goodwill and reach since so many are involved.
  • Sun has a liberal culture, and social networks are ingrained in the company. You can get people involved by nurturing your early adopters. Having a CEO blogger helps! Make sure you create a workable and transparent code of ethics for social networking.
  • Treat your employees like adults. Give them guidance, but trust that they’ll do the right thing. In five years, we’ve had fewer than five incidents that were problematic. It’s really okay.
  • Sun is hot on wikis, they are everywhere (most are internal). Sun forums are not moderated. Legal doesn’t review what’s written; the community reviews itself.
  • Blogging is in many people’s job descriptions now, but most people blog on their own. Don’t try to force people to blog.
  • Planets is a syndication service; the Sun Developer Network is a vehicle for developer outreach. OSOM is a global university outreach site with 90,000 members.
  • Sun launched Facebook Fridays in which it encouraged employees to connect and have fun. It began as a Sun employee-only venture but today is public, and Sun credits it with facilitating work relationships with employees and alliance partners; notably, it has helped Sun morph beyond its traditional email culture. Sun also supports many Facebook Groups and Pages. One Page is I Love Java. Sun employees are out there and help things spread fast.
  • Sun Radio Network launched in April 2008; we interview CEOs, social media experts and thought leaders. There’s no mention of Sun; we’re not trying to sell anything; it averages 100-150 live listeners, but many times that listen to the podcasts of the live programs.
  • Twitter is great for listening, and joining conversations is key. Most Sun employees are on Facebook, but not on Twitter yet.
  • Sun has a social media training program.
  • Social media is measurable; check out YouTube insights, numerous Twitter counters; Sun also uses Radian6 and Omniture.

SNC-logo-smThe Social Networking Conference took place June 24-26 in Beverly Hills. Between leading the pre-conference workshop on Enterprise Social Networking and leading the final panel, I scribbled these notes.

Enjoy and watch for the final report within a few days!

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