It’s Marketing; It’s Social Media; It’s Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

I’ve written before about who “owns” social media in any given organization (see: Who Owns Social Media? Ultimate Answer: The Opposites) During my decade at AOL (Community and Social Messaging), we worked in the Product dept., although viewing “product” as the home of social media may have been  unique to the situation, both in the company (one of the first online community hubs) and the time (mid ’90s — mid ’00s). At BusinessWeek, it was the digital dept and for sure, what better place for a digital tool like social media to live? But at Bloomberg LP it was the Communications dept and that certainly made sense and where I am now, KPMG LLP, it resides in marketing.

So, I can tell you from experience, there are arguments for social media being based in whichever department I (or perhaps, you) work in at the time. As stated in my prior post it the goal should be that social media live everywhere in a modern organization and so usually I try to stay departmental-agnostic. So I am always on the lookout for some function-based thought leadership piece that makes a good case for why social is a key tool for them.

That brings us to this article,’12 From ’12: The Ultimate List Of The Year’s Top Marketing Lessons‘ on Forbes written by Lisa Arthur (CMO of Aprimo), where she lists her key marketing developments from 2012:

1) Marketing is transforming 2) It’s all about engagement 3) Accountability means transparency
4) Social is a strategy 5) Mobile is moving to the top of the agenda 6) Showrooming is here to stay
7) Zombies live among us 8) Technology rules 9) If you don’t have expertise, partner with someone who does
10) We’re stronger together 11) It’s never too late to start changing the game 12) Stay agile

It struck me that, without exception, what she is saying about marketing is also true about social media. Read more of this post

Obama, Romney, an Orca, Zombies and Socal Media

obama-romney cloudThe company I now work for has a relationship with a market research firm that analyzed the effectiveness of social media in the Obama vs. Romney election for CBS.  As part of their findings they created a word cloud of the terms people on social media associated with each candidate. And that got me thinking about how quickly social media has evolved.

Back when I was at AOL during its grand ascent to being the largest social network in the world at that time, we realized that time progressed online at an accelerated rate and so we needed to a release new version of AOL about every six months or so to stay up-to-date with the competition. Part of that acceleration relates to Moore’s Law which stated (in 1965, mind you) that (paraphrased) computer capacity doubles every two years. That trend continues and with it the viral spread of social media. After all, Twitter is only 6 ½ years old, Facebook 8+ and LinkedIn a bit over 9 years old – and all of them (following the hockey stick graph of online social network growth) have really only come into their own in the last 5 years or so.

When viewed through the snapshot lens of a cyclical event that growth, and therefore impact, is magnified. Take, for example, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing which had some social media component, mainly relating to reporting outcomes before they were available on US television broadcasts, but four years later organizers of the London games, recognizing that the growth of social media influence was so relentless official policies for athletes were created and instituted for fear of affecting the performances of the athletes and the reputation of the games, became known as the “Social Media Games”.

And so it is with General Elections. Four years ago, Obama was the first to organize grassroots efforts in the social media environment and did so at a pace that dwarfed (both in size and effectiveness) anything the McCain camp had to offer. Four years later, social media is such a driver of political support that it was instrumental in re-electing the president and will be a requisite in all political campaigns going forward.

Two things some may find of interest: Read more of this post

#BlogActionDay 2012: The Power of We – Crowd-Sourced Funding

When you think about organizations receiving funding from a large number of people, some of whom donate very small amounts, you typically think of two scenarios – political parties and large charities.

 

And certainly, those two types of organizations have greatly benefited from the advent of social media, where they can solicit donations from targeted groups of individuals where they congregate online. Individual donation pages set up by everyone from walkers in support of breast cancer research to triathletes training to compete on behalf of blood cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

 

Donations

Donations (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

 

. My daughter Kate, a public school teacher in inner-city Philadelphia twice leveraged DonorsChoose.org to fund first basic equipment (and when I say basic I mean bats, gloves and even the bases) for a girl’s softball team she had volunteered to coach at her school which lacked its own means to support, and again to take her students to see the documentary ‘The Bully Project – 1 Million Kids’ in hopes of bettering their lives today and building better citizens for tomorrow  Social Media now has Kickstarter.com, a way to invest in new start-up companies. I even helped fund getting clean water in Africa via CharityWater.org and co-funded the recent Broadway revival of ‘Godspell’.

 

So the ‘”Power of We” is strong, wide-ranging, and helps bring things to life for philanthropy and for-profit projects alike.

 

Give a little to the project of your choice — you know you should.

 

Of Failure and Redemption: When ‘Twit’ Happens

 

Social media and politics were made for each other. After all, when politicians get on their soapboxes, typically labeled CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FNN, et. al., the masses get on theirs named Facebook, LinkedIn, and yes, the insta-poll of all social media, Twitter. Here are two lessons for effective social media management– pre and post crisis.

By now, you’ve heard of KitchenAid‘s unfortunate social media faux-pas. During one of the biggest media events in the past four years this obviously unintended ugly tweet was issued from the@KitchenAid Twitter account: I say unintended because from the moment I saw the tweet, as someone who has manned multiple social media accounts for employers and clients, I knew exactly what happened.

Just about everyone who handles multiple social media accounts uses some kind of console, a social media content management system such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or one of the other more sophisticated systems such as Sprout Social. I have no knowledge of which system the KitchenAid tweeter used (and keep in mind, it may not have even been a KitchenAid employee who did this, but someone at a social media agency) but I am certain s/he had both the KitchenAid account and a personal account loaded on the same tool, and simply forgot to switch from one to the other.

Lesson #1:
Don’t let employees, or agents, mix business and personal social media accounts on the same management tool.

Of course, the social media world exploded with criticism. But what happened next is a good primer for others on what to do when the Tweet hits the fan:.

Eight minutes later, the offending tweet was pulled and the first of a series of apology tweets were issued by Cynthia Soledad, the brand manager Click image to see larger version): This is a great example of digital damage control. No half-baked excuses. No “we were hacked” knee-jerk response. A quick reply, with apology, from a real person who can be contacted for more info.

Lesson #2:
Respond quickly, honestly and appropriately.

All of the above: brand damaging post on a social media site; remedial action; full accountability; full transparency — all leading to dousing the fire — happened in less that 2.5 hours.

In social media as in life, accidents will happen. KitchenAid’s response is a lesson for all.

 

B2B: The Business Side of Social Media

B2B Social Marketing

  • “You can’t do social media from a standing start.”
  • “You don’t have to pull your kimono completely open.”
  • “Content is the catalyst of the social web.”
  • “Be helpful. That’s the magic pixie dust.”
  • “Where there is no margin, there is no mission.”

One of my favorite things about social media is what I call “serendipitous discovery” — the process where you begin by reading something which leads you to something else , and that leads you to another thing, and so on until you wind up finding some tasty nugget that you hadn’t intended to look for at the start. You just follow the trail.

And so this morning, while checking the Twitter stream of a friend of mine, CK Kerley, whose expertise in B2B digital marketing is second to none, I noticed one of her Tweets thanked someone unknown to me (Allen Silveri) for an “awesome article”. Being a fan of awesome articles on B2B marketing I checked out his Twitter stream hoping to find that link and, not finding a reference to an article, went to his agency’s home page, Schubert.com. That led me to their blog and this entry, Social Media Truths in B2B Marketing by Schubert’s PR Director Brian Courtney, regarding insights gleaned while attending the Social Media @ Work Conference in Harrisburg last October.

Whew! Got that? Brian identified five takeaways from speakers at that conference which I believe make sense for anyone engaging in B2B social media: (click for more) Read more of this post

Food for Thought: Adding Social Media to the Menu

After taking time off for summer adventures, misadventures and mishaps (fodder for future posts, no doubt) I came across an article written earlier this year by confessed social media neophyte Bruce Buscel on his attempts to secure PR services for his relatively new restaurant, Southfork Kitchen, located in New York’s vaunted Hamptons on Long Island’s east end. While restaurant centric in nature, there are  lessons to learn for all businesses, big and small, about how social media has changed the landscape for both marketing and public relations.

After two failed attempts to engage a PR firm to support his restaurant’s launch, first with  traditional PR firm that appeared to just go through the (unsuccessful) motions and another with a “foodie” led boutique firm which (on paper) would seem to have been a good fit but ultimately wanted to change the client rather than support it, Bruce  realized that:

“The old P.R. model is as useless as the fax machines on which press releases used to arrive.”

He decided to turn to media firms with expertise in social media. Surveying six of them, he came up with a digital dozen strategies for social media. From those, here are my top five social media strategies for all businesses (paraphrased):

  1. It’s a dialogue– listen and respond
    The first word in social media is “social”. It’s a dialogue, not a broadcast. Listen always; respond frequently; curate connections.
  2. Keep your social media activity current.
    The only thing worse than not being involved in social media is to allow your participation to go stale.
  3. Know your audience.
    Engage them where they already are participating online. Keep in mind that if your customer base is comprised of several distinct audiences that participate on different social networks you’ll need to tailor your content for each.
  4. Assess your progress regularly.
    Like any other business discipline, you need to plan strategy, execute tactics, assess results,  and then modify your plan as indicated. To do so you need to track KPI (Key Performance Indicators) relevant to your specific business and goals (likes, follows, time spent; service issues handled, sales/conversions, etc.) .
  5. Engage a social media pro to get you started and then plan long-term
    Bruce is not alone in wondering how to get up to speed on social media. my advice is, as always, hire a social media professional (one who has successfully been performing social media as a profession for a number of years) to get you started. Then, plan on who will take over that role long-term. Consider bringing your contracted pro in-house if it makes sense for you both.

Bruce concludes,

“What is the sound of irony? We are all in the P.R. business now.”

Indeed.

Digital Native, Digitally Naive?

Say, for a moment, that you need to hire someone to lead your company’s nascent social media effort. Quick — picture what that individual looks like. Did an image of a young digital dude (or dudette) come to mind? If so, you’re likely making a mistake.

digital native vs digital immigrantYou’re not alone, the majority of the hiring decision-makers (HR talent recruiters and hiring managers alike) whom I’ve come across, with little personal understanding of social media themselves, believe that this type of job is best filled by a digital native — one for whom the Web and social media have been a part of their lives from early on.

Now, consider these job requirements that I read today on an actual position listing (identifying details altered):

  • Develop a comprehensive social media and community management strategy leveraging your background, experience and knowledge of social media trends and emerging technologies
  • Partner with individuals across the company (management, development and research) to strategize and educate the team on relevant social media techniques to drive adoption and increase thought leadership
  • Manage the day-to-day activities for Facebook, Twitter, Company Blog, LinkedIn and other social media sites
  • Research and write content for social media channels
  • Track and analyze performance of social media programs and activities to drive continuous improvement
  • Manage web and Facebook advertisements
  • Help direct a grassroots street team to promote the [product]
  • Interact with our PR team
  • Monitor trends in social media tools and applications and appropriately apply that knowledge to increasing the use of social media at the company

Did that change your thinking? Sounds like a great job with plenty of opportunity to create strategy, implement tactics and lead the social media initiative for this company for years to come, right?

In fact, this is a great spot for someone like me, a social media professional paid to curate communities, engage with customers, build brands,  develop brand ambassadors and promote products via social media as a career (in my case since 1997).  So why didn’t I immediately submit my application and resume? Because of this next line: Career Level: Early Career (1+ yrs experience) 

Whoa, you want to trust this job — and the reputation of your company, its brand and products (the success of which is essential for the future survival of the company itself) — in the hands of an entry-level individual? Really?

The disconnect comes when companies fail to understand that digital natives lack the necessary business acumen and experience to actually get the job done. They instead believe they need to hire young because, you know, when it comes to social media ‘young people get it’.

That’s a fatal flaw that sets up both the individual hired and the company for failure. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to developing a digital roadmap or building consensus among varied internal stakeholders to insinuate social media throughout the enterprise (the long-term goal for success). And do not for a minute discount the institutional knowledge an experienced person brings to the table regarding what’s worked (and failed) in the past to better be able to recognize the next big thing.

If you want a leader; if you use  phrases like “create strategy”; “implement tactics”; “develop policy” or “lead the organization” as part of the job description, set yourself up for success: hire the digital immigrant —  a social media professional. 

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