Category Archives: social media organization

The Company Organization Messes Up Social Media

social media organizationWhere social media resides in the organization continues to be problematic. I have written about this issue and made suggestions in the past. But today I am writing to suggest that social does not fit into any department based on how companies are organize today. In fact this scenario hinders social media success.

Let’s start with a telling question. How many companies have a group that’s sole objective is optimizing and winning over the brand’s perceived reputation? Forget simply solving problems like most customer support organizations. Forget loyalty and lead generation as in marketing. Does any organizational group solely focus on great customer relationships and customer love? This goes beyond customer services. This is the social media marketing objective. When you take social marketing disciplines and place them in an organization that has other objectives the success and value of social gets diminished, maybe squashed.

While it is the goal of every company to generate strong revenue, different groups need to act and be motivated by other parameters beyond sales and lead generation. Sales and lead generation are certainly important, but they are short-term objectives. What about long-term objectives that drive sustainable business? Do businesses focus on this long-term sustainability anymore or are they just quarter to quarter driven. I can only think of a few companies committed to long-term success.

Consider the paramount value of social marketing – advocacy. Not only is advocacy leading social marketing outcomes, but it is also the strongest form of marketing. To have others market and suggest your product is far more effective than having the brand market the product. Different strategies and tactics must take place to spawn advocacy than the strategies and tactics to generate sales and lead generation. And yet, the residual effect of advocacy is revenue increase. The marketing group typically has lead generation and advocacy objectives. But somehow short-term objectives (lead generation) always overshadow long-term (advocacy). Thus, when social media sits in the marketing organization, the success of social is hindered because short-term objectives trump long-term objectives.

Marketing is always going to have objectives of sales and lead generation. Can marketing also be committed to post sales-conversion of loyalty and advocacy? Can the same person/group have sales/lead generation and loyalty/advocacy? The issue is that marketing has all these objectives and at the end of the day sales is what trumps all.

So when we look at social media success, understand the target audience behavior. Users are turned off by blatant sales. They want to feel comfortable with a brand. They want a great user experience. Then they will buy. So if the behavior has some precursor steps that must be accomplished in order to get to sales, should we make sure someone, some group acts in an appropriate way and gets measured on their success there?

Bottom line – marketing must change. Change is difficult and sometimes impossible at companies. If your company cannot change, then the responsibility of relationship building, customer engagement, building loyalty, building advocacy – all must be assigned to another group than your current marketing group. Change or move it somewhere, but get it done right.

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

3 Comments

Filed under brand reputation, change management, social marketing, social media, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

All You Should Know About Social Marketing to Be Successful

I have been blogging now for five years on the topic of social media and social marketing. I have shared a great deal of information with regards to social best practices, case examples, integration, and organizational implementations. There is a wealth of information contained here within The SocialSteve Blog. But wouldn’t it be nice if it could all be pulled together in one article? (Really – that is impossible.) But I will attempt to give you a “Cliff Notes” version of what you need to know about social marketing that I have covered in my blog.

All You Need to Know About Social Marketing

So lets get cracking and I will refer you to some key highlights from The SocialSteve Blog …

The first thing to realize is that brands need to use social media to enhance their brand image as covered in the article “Brands in the Age of Social Media.” Some brands were initially apprehensive to get involved in social media because they believed that they lost control of their brand position. Certainly, objective audience postings are more believable than subjective brand communication, but administration of good traditional marketing practices and utilization of social marketing highly increases company-driven brand influence.

Social media has put brand reputation in the hands of the democracy of users. Thus, brands must build strong relationships with users. And the way to do this from the start is to have complete empathy for the target audience. Yes “empathy” is “The Most Important Word for Marketing.” And once you have empathy for your target audience, “Connections and Relationships are No Different for Social Media” than in “regular” social situations.

So far, I have mentioned some of the general mentalities required for successful marketing, but generalities are not enough. You must understand the “Three Social Marketing Fundamentals.” The first fundamental starts with a strong and inseparable link between content and social marketing. A content strategy and social marketing strategy must be determined in unison. The brand definition is the center point of marketing strategy and content must reinforce what the brand is about without directly referring to the product. The social marketing strategy must then address how the content is to be proliferated such that readers/viewers/contributors share the content and some even become advocates. Throughout my blogging career (really not a career but a platform to share), I have given much coverage to content. It is imperative – crappy content, crappy social marketing; stellar content by the perception of the target audience, damn good chance of winning social marketing. Consider reading through some selected content article highlights:

Content Marketing – A Must for Marketing Communications
4 Ingredients to a Winning Content Strategy
7 Tips for Blogging – Maybe Your Most Important Social Media Activity for Business
The Power of UGC (User Generate Content) for Social Marketing
Evolving Social Media Marketing – From Content Marketing to Contextual Content Marketing
If a Picture is Worth 1000 Words, What is the Value of a 6-Second Video #Vine

The next social marketing fundamental is far too often missed. Social marketing is not about building the social field of dreams and having people show up. Social marketing starts by going to relevant conversations where they exist as opposed to expecting a crowd to show up on your Facebook page or simply following your Twitter feed. You need to go beyond your own social assets and go where the existing conversation exists and start to engage there. Early on, I coined the social media A-Path. The A-Path allows social marketers to traverse their target audience through a sequential path increasing commitment to brand at each stage. The A-Path starts by getting brand Attention, followed by Attraction, then Affinity, Audience, and Advocacy. The early part of this path is accomplished on social channels other than the ones the brand owns and manages. As you progress your audience through the A-Path you slowly wean users to brand-owned social channels. This method is described in “Executable Game Plan for Winning Ultimate Customers with Social Media.” When using this approach, marketers need to understand “When to Ask for a “Call-to-Action’ in Social Media.” Following this approach provides an understanding of how “Social Media Highlights the Important Difference Between Marketing and Sales.” You will also see the relationship of “Social Media Conversion and the Social Media Marketing Funnel.” And one other note on this holistic approach to social marketing … Do not jump to a conclusion that your Facebook “likers” are your audience. Understand “Where ‘Audience’ Fits in Social Media.” It is likely different than you assume.

And now the last imperative social marketing fundamental is to “Know What Successful Social Media Looks Like.” Specifically, I am talking about social media marketing measurement. The referenced article outlines that awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy should be measured. Not sales. Parameters to be measured in the four categories are covered in the article. When it comes to measurement and “Social Media ROI – Don’t Be So Short Sighted – Think Longer Term.”

So you have the fundamentals down, right? Now, where do you start? “Before You Start with Social Media” you need to apply marketing basics. The referenced article explains the need to understand the brand and its position, defining a communication or campaign objective, as well as defining a communication plan. A presentation deck is provided to take you through the steps. The deck was later updated in a more recent post, “University Social Marketing Presentation.” And when you put together your social strategy, you must pay attention to “Marketing Demographics and the Ramifications of Social Media.” Consider psycho-demographics as well as standard demographics. Psycho-demographics identify various segments of the target audience’s state of mind. When you identify the various states of mind, you can then deliver contextually relevant content.

Now that you have the fundamentals and a game plan, you cannot stop there. Far too many companies make errors with regards to organizational issues for social marketing. Here are some very important issues …

CEO understanding and support
Social Media in Your Company – Guidance for Where It Fits In
When Looking for Your Company’s Social Media Marketing Leader, Consider ….
Why the “Social Media Person” Needs to Be More than Just the Social Media Person
3 Helpful Tips when Hiring for Social Media

Social media gives the target audience a strong voice. Brands can no longer put out statements and advertisements and expect the audience to simply accept what they are saying. Brands need to listen to their audience, engage and build relationships. Brands have an opportunity to build an emotional bond with their audience. Emotional branding will yield loyalty, word of mouth marketing and overall, long-term brand preference and sustainability. Social marketing is a must in today’s consumer driven world.

You now have the definition of how to drive social marketing success. Let me know what else you need or do not understand.

Make It Happen,
SocialSteve

2 Comments

Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, CEO, company organization, content marketing, employment, leadership, marketing plan, measuring social media, sales conversion, social marketing, social media, social media influence, social media marketing, social media organization, social media performance, social media ROI, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Word of Mouth Marketing

The Future of Social Marketing – It Might be Going in the Wrong Direction

wrong direction We are at that time of the year where everyone will start to make his or her predictions for the coming year. I am not here to be viewed as the great prognosticator but rather I do hope to get social marketing on the right track.

Digital/social is not hype. If you look at the vast universe of user behavior in digital/social you must believe brands need to leverage these environments for overall success. And when I look and see how a majority of brands act and deliver on social channels, I literally get infuriated.

This week a study revealed “Only 8% Of Brands Believe Their Marketing Team Is Strong Across All Digital Marketing Channels.” How can this be acceptable? If you are part of the remaining 92%, what are you doing about it?

This past week I had a conversation with a CEO of a big agency. A colleague set up this meeting as I am currently looking for a leadership position in digital marketing. The CEO proceeded to share with me that he had acquired a social marketing agency that he was going to fold into the agency. “Why do I need a separate CEO and CFO? I think the current agency roles, the creatives, the account people, can do social as part of what they do.”

In the world of mergers and acquisitions, you probably do not need an extra CEO or CFO and other executive, general management, and support functions. And yes, we should expect everyone to play a social role as part of his or her job function. But I asked the CEO a question, “Don’t you think you need someone to orchestrate the entire social presence for a brand?” He avoided answering this question.

And in there lies the erroneous direction of brands’ social marketing. I believe that everyone in a company needs to be a social extension for the company. Yes, the creative folks need to make sure their productions include social distribution and engagement; the account folks need to make sure information is captured from social listening; and on and on. But there needs to be a chief engagement officer, chief customer officer, chief social officer, chief digital officer, chief marketing officer … Call them what you want … Place the responsibility in an appropriate place … but someone needs to take charge. Someone that is really competent owning the brand personality. Someone owning the customer engagement. Someone measuring and analyzing empirical results.

I see growth in social marketing participation throughout the functional areas of companies. And that is a good thing. But if anyone thinks that greater use of social media across various groups within an organization means that there is social marketing integration, they are wrong.

If companies want to see true ROI from social efforts, there needs to be a leader that is responsible for orchestrating and delivering strategy, plans, operations and measurable results. In my six years of social marketing, and ten years in digital marketing I continually see chief marketing officers, chief strategy officers, chief digital officers, chief whatever officers that really don’t understand target audience behavior and use of digital/social. I see sharp but inexperienced digital marketers in roles that they are not prepared for.

This scenario has caused many to question the value of social marketing. Social marketing will not have value if its responsibility is not placed in the right hands. I have a sense of optimism given that studies are being conducted that unveil how significant the problem is.

If there is one trend that must change in 2014 in the world of digital/social marketing it is competent leadership and responsibility. Let’s put it in place. Then we can start assessing the true social value.

Wake up.

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

5 Comments

Filed under behavior, brand marketing, company organization, leadership, marketing, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, social media performance, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

Why Social Marketing Must be a Commitment by Top Leadership at a Company

A few weeks ago I wrote an article aimed at the social media manager suggesting how they can “Drive Social Media Adoption at Their Company.” This article was motivated by the abundance of comments and concerns I’ve heard from social managers. Many have voiced frustration with their companies’ emergence in audience engagement and social marketing. Today, I turn the tables and point my discussion at companies’ executives, CxOs, and leadership.

Straight up, company executives must embrace social marketing.

executive leadershipThis past week, I read an excellent article, “Is Social Media A Career?” where they emphasized that there is a need for a social manager but the activity of producing social content and engagement is “… a cross-departmental, cross-functional set of tools that needs a variety of different people who buy in across a company.” And if we are looking for various people to buy in, it starts with leadership at the top.

The CEO, CMO, CSO, or any CxO has three responsibilities to set the tone for a social culture in the company.

1) They need to make sure subject matter experts in the organization are active on company social channels. There needs to be a diversity of people sharing information and engaging with an audience to reinforce a depth of knowledge, expertise, and care from the company as a whole.

2) Leadership needs to make sure that there is a “playbook” that addresses the companies’ position and set plan for expedited engagement. This playbook dictates that there are people actively searching for relevant information that provides the opportunity for real-time marketing (typically the social manager). But it is not necessarily the responsibility of the social manager to provide information and responses. Organizations need to leverage their experts to address specific information. Yes, it is the social managers responsibility to quarterback the engagement, but the company needs other players to take the quarterback’s signals and execute.

3) Awesome content is the key to social marketing success and you cannot expect the social manager to deliver all content for a brand. The responsibility of content production must be spread around to different experts and departments. Executives need to set a culture where this is not only required participation and support, and where different departmental leaders are enthusiastic to share with the brand’s audience.

As we see social marketing evolve, we will see that the social strategy is not the responsibility of the social or community manager. This must be the job of company leadership. Yes, social managers still play an important role in the organization, but their role is coordination and execution. Social purpose and strategy must be a key element of brand culture. Who is responsible for shaping the culture of a company? It starts at the top.

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

2 Comments

Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, change management, company organization, leadership, marketing, social business, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

The Successful Social Marketing Framework

Social marketing should not be an add-on to other marketing efforts. Far too often, marketers put together a promotion or other marketing program and then look to tag on social. As dictated by user behavior marketers need to think social first. So let’s run through the successful social marketing framework that marketers should follow.

The Successful Social Marketing Framework

When it comes to social marketing, you cannot just do it. You need to start with a strategy because “where you start often defines where you finish.” In order to develop a solid social marketing program you need to know your target audience and competition, and at the same time reinforce your brand position. Do research and capture key customer insights, especially as they relate to digital usage and behavior. Use social monitoring tools to listen to what the target audience is saying. Go to specific relevant blogs and search the vast digital world using applicable keywords to find the appropriate conversations. Conduct a social audit on your competition – where are they active; what are they saying; how is their audience responding? And certainly re-examine your brand position – what do you stand for; how do you differentiate from the competition; what is your current communication strategy? These four activities are the basis for a messaging and content strategy, engagement plan, and social channel plan for your social marketing strategy.

Once the social strategy is defined, core social marketing activities are ready to be performed, not before. Social marketing must start with content production. Develop a content calendar, but also be prepared to produce real-time content based upon current events and conditions. Content production should include articles, photos, videos, curated content, and user-generated content. Of course social marketing includes community management. Community management includes postings and engagement with members of the brands digital assets. But another core function of the social media manager is “off community management.” This is seeding conversations and engagement on non-brand digital assets on behalf of brand.

In addition to core social marketing functions as a starting point, there are a number of ongoing activities that are also required. Once content has been developed and published, social managers need to make sure appropriate steps are taken to optimizing user sharing. Besides attracting a core audience, look to identify influencers that will help rally awareness and interest in your brand. This process of influencer marketing produces positive word-of-mouth marketing and earned media. The social manager must also generate formal monthly reports on social metrics – comparisons to leading competition and Social Action Index which quantifies awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy trending. And then there is social gamification which is not “game playing.” It is a reward system that keeps the audience coming back and engaged. And finally you need to tie in social CRM (customer relationship management) which is a combination data collection to have linkage to other marketing efforts as well as customer social engagement.

The social marketing effort is a year round activity. Conversely, most marketing programs are for specific drive periods and then end. This fact coupled with user behavior are the two reasons why social marketing must be derived as its own top down effort. But that is not the end. Social must be connected to all the other drive period marketing efforts to have one cohesive marketing front for the audience. The social manager must be part of all market briefs and plans. Other marketing leaders outside of social marketing should expect the social leader to define how they are going to integrate the marketing programs into social.

The key difference in what I have defined is what comes first. There should be no chicken versus the egg confusion here. Social marketing must lead for customer awareness, engagement, and advocacy. Brands need to aim for continuous relationship building, not just during marketing drive periods. Yes, marketing programs provide the opportunity to heighten awareness, consideration, sales, loyalty, and advocacy, but the social light must burn eternally. Do you really want someone you trust, not to be there when you want to engage?

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

8 Comments

Filed under brand marketing, content marketing, digital media, marketing, marketing plan, social business, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Word of Mouth Marketing

3 Key Elements of Social Media Marketing Success

Sure, we do not need another article highlighting the linkage of social media and Sandy – The Hurricane, but I found a great example that reinforces the key elements of social media marketing success. And the shining scenario strangely comes from government officials. When was the last time you learned something about marketing from the government?

The case in point comes from two elected officials that demonstrated leadership and lack thereof. One leveraged digital technologies and one did not. Specifically, I call attention to the leadership of Newark Mayor, Cory Booker, and the lack by New York Senator Charles Schumer.

It is common practice for elected officials to show up on location at disaster areas to “survey and extend help.” I watched Schumer on the news November 1st addressing residents whose homes were destroyed by the storm. When questioned when help was on the way, he simply replied, “I will find out.”
Then there is the plight of Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, too, traveled the streets of his hard hit city, Newark, NJ. But Booker is a politician that has changed with the times. Armed with his mobile device, he texted and tweeted in action. His audience knows how to get him … simply tweet to him. And get this. He actually listens. Booker not only listened he acted. He heard the needs of his audience and literally delivered diapers, milk, and juice. (Cory Booker reaching out to Sandy victims video coverage.)

So what do marketers need to learn from Booker? Yes, that’s right … a government official serves as an example for businesses.

There are three key elements required for successful social media marketing:

1) Commitment – it is a prerequisite before social even starts. Companies and brands need to have a thorough commitment to delivering service and value to their audience. You cannot expect your social manager to deliver success without the entire organization committed to their audience. The social manager really is the messenger of the brand. If the brand is not truly committed to their audience, there is no chance that the messenger can drive success.

2) Listening – brands need to really take time to hear exactly what their audience is asking for. I always like the saying – “we have two ears and one mouth so we need to listen twice as much as we speak.”

3) Acting – this is a key element that so many miss. Social engagement is limited if there is no action behind the commitment and listening. The difference between Schumer and Booker are dramatic by the pure fact that Schumer was sympathetic and listened, but did not act. He literally looked like a deer in headlights when confronting Sandy victims. Conversely, Booker looked like a super-hero delivering to the audiences’ needs. If social managers do not have the power to act (based on organizational commitment and listening) their engagement is less than effective. I have seen many brands take too much time to determine responses and actions. This is a clear indication of a lack of commitment.

The reality is that all brands’ audiences are active on social media. Marketers need to determine how they leverage this cultural evolution to the benefit of their target market. There needs to be a strategic marketing shift where marketers have a much greater emphasis on the audience and their motivations, wants, needs, and turn-offs. And the right approach to accomplish this needs to be a company-wide holistic mentality of Commitment-Listening-Acting.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

8 Comments

Filed under brand marketing, brands, customer relations, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

Where You Start in Social Media Strategy Defines Where You End Up

One of the first articles I ever wrote on my blog was “Before You Start with Social Media.” I emphasized that organizations could not just jump into social media without some upfront work. The upfront work was really traditional marketing. But the reality is that social media goes beyond marketing and should touch, influence, and guide just about all departments and disciplines within a company.

This past week, I was working on a social marketing education presentation for one of my clients. I came across a slide by Angie Schottmuller which is very poignant with regards to social media strategy and various brands successes (or lack there of).

eMarketer finds that 80 percent of marketers incorrectly begin with social media tactics instead of goals. I have experienced an even greater percentage amongst the clients I have been associated with. I cannot tell how many have the blind mentality, “Oh, we’ll put up a Facebook page and Twitter handle” and believe they are executing social marketing.

Now I do not have empirical data to provide you, but I am willing to bet a year’s salary that the realization of social media successes have a most significant slant with regards to the starting point as highlighted in the graphic above.

Social marketing should be a customer centric engagement strategy. It is not only driven by business mission and goals, but more holistically derived by the company aspirations intersecting with their target market behaviors, wants, needs, and motivations. (I showed a graphic representation of this in a recent article “Assessing the Social Media Hype Cycle”)

Social media integration in the overall business objectives and approach is imperative. This brings to mind a controversial article by Cathryn Sloane where she declared “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.” Her main argument was “The key is that we learned to use social media socially before professionally, rather than vice versa or simultaneously.” Yes, having a socially inherent upbringing, using social platforms, and understanding nuances is very valuable. But there also must be a complete business understanding to connect and plan to desired business outcomes. And this only comes from experience. Yes, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, it is presumptuous to assume someone under 25 with limited business experience is going to successfully implement a strategy that intersects business goals and consumer social behaviors.

That said, social media marketing must be placed in the hands of someone with executive responsibility. Social media marketing success will come from collaboration between an experienced business/marketing executive and someone who lives digital social engagement as part of their everyday lifestyle.

So if we go back to the Social Media Strategy Funnel, note

1) social success requires an assigned executive sponsors responsibility to define business mission and goals and make sure there is social execution, alignment, and synergy
2) each department head must clearly articulate their goals
3) target market customer insights must be defined
4) the three items listed above must be inputs to derive realistic social media goals
5) social media goals are not the responsibility of the social media manager, but rather a collaboration between the social media manager and all business and department stakeholders
6) the social media manager then defines social media tactics – tactics are not the starting point

If you want to really see success from your social efforts, put so upfront work in and start at the right. Make sure your social efforts are aligned and integrated to your overall business mission and goals,

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

11 Comments

Filed under brand marketing, brands, company organization, marketing, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

Got Social Culture?

I work with a number of clients that look to leverage social media to produce business results. I can help them with their strategy, planning and execution. I can tell them about all the ins and outs, tactics, and nuances of a number of social platforms. But if you or your brand are not committed to listening, collaborating, engaging and reacting to your target audience, you will never be social and never be successful with social media. If you want to leverage social media to drive business success, breed a social culture.

What does it mean to have a social culture? It means that the flow of information is consistent. That you are willing and active to talk about your brand when both positive and negative things are said. It means that internal silos are broken down and there is a collaborative movement, a relationship between people, teams, and yes sellers and buyers.

Having a social culture is not about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other social media platform. It is about a commitment to sharing, engaging, and delivering. Social media success is based on a long term commitment. Yes you can have a quick promotional success that goes viral. I don’t mean to undermine that value. Those wins are extremely important. They represent an increased OPPORTUNITY to build many strong relationships. But once you have accomplished viral exposure, don’t you want to turn that heightened awareness into something stronger?

Using my A-Path methodology, I put that viral awareness in the Attention and Attraction category. It means that the marketing effort was so genuinely compelling, that a great many in your target segment wanted to share the content with their social connections. But if you want to build a strong relationship, it cannot stop there. You’ve just exposed your brand to so many. Now is your opportunity to continue to engage to produce Affinity for your brand. Affinity that leads someone to consciously act and opt-in to be part of the brand Audience. And once that action is taken, remember engaging with your Audience produces Advocates.

Think about relationships in your personal life. What would you consider your best and strongest relationships? I’ll bet the more significant ones have been established over the years and, in most cases, are not something that happened immediately. Why would we expect anything else in business?

Being social and having a social culture is a long term commitment. Not a one time event. Yes a number of one time events build the momentum. Reminds me of Ram Charan’s message in his book, Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning. Ram emphasizes the importance of hitting many singles to score and produce runs. It is not just about hitting home runs.

While it is important to have social media expertise in your organization, that does not mean you have a social culture. If your culture is collaborative amongst divisions and your brand has strong engagement both internally and externally then you have a social culture. I emphasize the importance of an internal social culture because it is likely that the way people treat one and another within your company is parlayed to how the company acts towards in existing and potential customers. You cannot fake it … social media unveils who you really are (whether you participate or not) … you cannot hide from the transparency that social media has created.

The reality is that social media has changed how customers engage with brands, even if the brand does not have an active social media presence. Consumers define brand reputation, not the company behind the brand. This is why having a social media presence is imperative. Brands have an opportunity to influence their reputation. And having social media expertise is not enough. Social needs to be part of the company as a whole. I realize this is a new thing for many companies. I see it day in and day out. But companies must be committed to evolving to a social culture.

Social media creates the opportunity for increased business success. It has to be part of a brands business, marketing, and customer service mix. And to be successful with social media, social media expertise is not enough. You must evolve to a social culture as well.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

12 Comments

Filed under brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

Why Most CEOs and Top Execs Don’t Get Social Media

This past week I attended The World Business Forum Reception at The Yale Club in NYC. The participants included some leading CEOs and VCs from powerful companies. They had a couple of presenters covering the topic of social media, so naturally I was interested in hearing what they had to say to an elite crowd. I was extremely disappointed!

The two presenters were obviously very knowledgeable and had rich social media experience … not fly by night consultants with snake oil to sell. But they missed a golden opportunity to drive the importance of social media, because they could not present social in a simplistic manner that is easy to understand and digest. This continues to be the number one problem defining why social media does not get the appropriate attention from the C-Suite of companies.

A recent Booz & Company / Buddy Media study provides relevant data. Only 1/3 of companies have a senior executive responsible for social media.

http://www.booz.com/media/file/BoozCo-Campaigns-to-Capabilities-Social-Media-and-Marketing-2011.pdf

Social media requires attention and responsibility at a high level in organizations. And if we look at CEOs specifically, far too low of a rate have it on their agenda.

http://www.booz.com/media/file/BoozCo-Campaigns-to-Capabilities-Social-Media-and-Marketing-2011.pdf

I was so bothered by the fact that two well qualified, experienced, sharp social media professionals missed a golden opportunity that I tweeted the following on my train ride home:

Ironically, I then caught up on the day’s news and learned of the passing of Steve Jobs and tweeted:

Now the Steve Jobs reference is quite relevant. Besides all the accolades he deservingly has received for his creativity, drive, and all around pure genius, Steve forced SIMPLISTIC innovation.

I remember being a high school senior in the fall of 1979 in my first computer class. We used a time share system with a telephone placed in a teletype cradle to gain access to a massive computer in some distant land. (Not really that far away.) Our instructor brought this thing in called an Apple Computer on a cart that typically held an overhead projector and said, “This is a computer. It is all in there.” Needless to say, we were amazed. A huge time share computing device was simplified down to that.

Another example of Jobs’ simplicity (and there are many) is the iPod. His instructions to his engineers were to develop a portable music device that had no switches or controls. Thus the simplicity of the fly wheel and push button of the iPod.

I have been to more social media presentations than Bruce Springsteen concerts (50 plus) and I think I have seen maybe a half dozen good ones (social media presentations). Good ones because I see the audience’s body language that says they understand. The good ones are simple. Social media really is not that complicated. Neither is driving social success. Steve Jobs showed his brilliance by producing simplicity.

I have described and presented social media many times in what I hope are simple terms. You can be the judge of that. Here are some examples:

* Before You Start with Social Media
* Simplifying Social Media
* Measuring the Value of Social Media
* 7 Things You Need to do to Turn Social Media Successful Results
* 4 Ingredients to a Winning Content Strategy
* Content is Super Important !!! (But Not King)
* Integrating Owned Media, Earned Media, and Paid Media
* Marketing Leadership (with a hint of Social Media)
* The Most Important Word for Marketing
* Forget Social Media – Let’s First Start with Social
* Where is the WOW in Social Media?
* Social Media Model that Defines the End of the World as We Know It
* Social Media ROI – Don’t Be So Short Sighted – Think Longer Term
* How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully
* Social Media – Concentrate on How, not What
* Social Media Conversation: I Know You’re Talking, But Are You Listening?
* Using the Social Media “A-path” to Capture Ultimate Customers

I will be presenting social media at the Executive Forum Leadership Conference in at IBM’s campus in Armonk, NY. So I will shine the mirror on myself. Can social media be simplified to allow all to understand it and maybe even more importantly, what social success looks like? Definitely so!

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

PS And if you have a problem simplifying it and “making it happen,” contact me … I’ll be glad to engage and see if I can help.

14 Comments

Filed under CEO, change management, company organization, leadership, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

The Social Gap between Practioners and Executives

Very interesting week! I had the pleasure of moderating the Social Media Measurement and Monetization discussions at Econsultancy’s Digital Peer Summit this week in NY. I talked with three different round-table groups and each provided some great perspectives on the state of social media at various companies. My key takeaway … there is a considerable amount of gap that exists between social media staff and the C-Suite executives with regards to what social media success looks like.

The Social Gap

The reason why a gap exists between social media practioners and executives of companies is that we are looking at the wrong parameters for success. Social media should be looked at as a new business model. Yes, we can say social has been around for decades and word-of-mouth has always been important, but the reality is that digital social is different. How consumers use digital social is the reason why we need a new business model – not because it is the new hyped shiny object.

We’ve seen poor business adoption of media channels throughout history. Look at the evolution from print to radio, radio to TV, TV to the web, and now the web to a social and mobile digital environment. EVERY time a new media technology has come to fruition, the masses have taken the same marketing methodology from the predecessor and brought it to the new environment. Isn’t that why we have banners, click-throughs and video pre-roll as the advertising models today?

Social demands a different model and a different set of parameters to measure and determine success. And this in a nut shell is the gap problem. For the most part, the C-Suite executives are looking for one set of parameters and real social value is determined by another set. What to do? What to do?

First off golden rule – you must always give your client (even internal executive client) what they want. BUT that should also be augmented with more telling data. Here is the example. I have created a reporting dashboard that actually looks at three groupings of metrics:

Grouping these categories allows executives to move from web business models (what they are comfortable with) to social business models. The online traditional measurements still command the digital world – just look at how many reference Comscore parameters. When it comes to social, executives are transfixed on things like how many fans do we have. But the real value of social is audience engagement. Yes, you need many fans to have sizeable audience engagement, but you can not just run a sweepstake to drive Facebook likes and declare success. So providing all these parameters satisfies all constituents and starts to move the business measurements to where they need to be.

Presentation of the metrics is also very important. For example, if you present the data and show the number of Facebook fans over a 12 month period, I would also add “Interactions per Fan” into the chart. You want to demonstrate that while you are achieving fan growth, you continue to maintain, or more importantly increase the degree to which fans are engaging.

Much of this gets to the issue of the highly debated social media ROI. Recently, I was interviewed by DigiDay.com on this topic and my exact quote is here as I had captured what we really need to think about. …

DigiDay asked me, “How do we truly measure social media ROI?

And my response was …
I do not think it is appropriate to look at social media ROI, but rather look at social media KPIs (key performance indicators). Social media is about building relationships. There are different stages to relationships. From a brand perspective, I see five stages that I term the A-Path; attention, attraction, affinity, audience, advocates. These stages are sequential and thus measurement should be made at each stage. What you measure is different at each stage. Measurement of each of these stages are the KPIs. You perform different social activities for each stage, and thus you should measure the success, or lack of success, of each. Each successful stage contributes to potential sale, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to categorically attribute to a specific sale. By definition, ROI equals sales minus investment. Social media is not good at selling, it is good at building relationships. I don’t say, “Hi, I am Steve Goldner and I want to buy X,” rather, I build a relationship and when contextually relevant, make an offer. Social media is a longer-term pipeline builder. Now I am not saying just do it and expect results to come later. What I am saying is set a strategy and plan, then execute and measure. Measure the KPIs for the various stages of the relationship. And how can you tell that revenue will increase? Two proven reasons: people like to buy from people they feel comfortable with, and having consumer advocates is far more powerful than any marketing effort the company can do themselves.

(Note – If you want more information on measuring social media at various stages, see “Measuring the Stages of the Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel.”)

There is no doubt that social media requires maturing. But business models, metrics, and recognition by executives of what really matters require substantial evolution and growth as well. Real social leaders need to drive the evolution. In the words of Tim Berners-Lee (credited for his invention of the World Wide Web (not the Internet), “The web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”

Make It happen,
Social Steve

15 Comments

Filed under change management, digital media, measuring social media, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, social media ROI, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve