sharing some lessons learned from the social chair

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For the most part, I have not written too many posts on this blog that get into the day-to-day aspects of my job.  I have preferred to keep my entries at a broader level.  I try to talk about observations I see in the consumer marketing space.  Or I do have occasions where I’ll rant about the sometime silliness of corporate life.  But this week I’ll get away from that a bit and step into the weeds.

In my previous roles at Best Buy I’ve worked on projects or campaigns that included word-of-mouth efforts or social media tactics but they’ve been within an overarching consumer marketing framework.  Now I’m nearing the six month mark in a role where my sole focus is on creating and managing the social marketing strategy for the brand.

Given how much interest people have on social media gets these days, I decided to spend some time reflecting on what I’ve learned the last few months and share some quick hitters on what I’ve seen so far while being a part of the shiny world of social.

  • When you operate in an echo chamber, conversations are amplified.  Social media channels are an echo chamber of sorts.  Both positive and negative conversations may sound louder than they actually are.  If you are someone that interacts with people on social channels and you monitoring what is being said on Facebook or Twitter or blogs, you have to understand what is being said.  But I also think you have to understand that these conversations represent signals within a broader context of conversation, and there may be times the signals do accurately represent the overall conversation that is taking place and there will be times when they do not.
  • Brands have to earn their keep when they step into social media channels.  Social media is not about us as brands; social media is about us as people connecting with people.  I bet that people weren’t waiting for brands to join Facebook before they got off the sidelines and created an account.  Organizations should strive to help their employees understand this notion.  The quicker this belief gets adopted the quicker firms can move toward creating a social marketing approach that is appropriate for their brand.
  • If you don’t think it’s about monetization, then you haven’t been paying attention.  Social platforms are maturing and are trying to figure out where the money comes from.  Facebook’s recent IPO announcement is the obvious example; not only is Facebook responsible for more than 25% of all online ads, but its also amassing a tremendous amount of customer data.  Twitter is attempting to establish itself as advertising platform. Even the white hot network Pinterest is testing out affiliate marketing revenue streams.  Any marketer that thinks that social networks are merely enablers of cost-free connections between brands and consumers have not been paying attention.  The move from these being social networks to media networks is well underway.
  • You still have to be human.  Yes, digital social media platforms are maturing.  Yes the way that brands connect with consumers in social spaces is evolving.  But when brands participate in social spaces, they should do so with their people first.  Digital social media is a consumer centric and driven.  I believe it will be brands that bring their employees to the forefront of their social efforts that have the best opportunity to do something that makes an impact.  Make your employees visible.  Don’t hide behind the brand logo.  Show that your company is actually made up of human beings.  Don’t humanize the brand, highlight the people behind the brand.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons license: Duane Schoon.)

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