I recently chatted with my colleague, Dave Magram, about why now is the time to step up your social media marketing efforts.We would love to hear your thoughts about this too.
DAVE: So Rosie I’ve heard you say that everyone has to be involved in social media marketing not just the social media “designated driver”. What do you mean by that?
ROSIE: Well Dave, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they have social media marketing covered because so and so in the marketing department does that. That’s fine, but let’s think of it as the ripple effect of one small stone in a pond. That one person can make one ripple in the pond, but think of the stone as a piece content and those ripples have a very short shelf life on the web and on social media especially. If you instead think about increasing the number of stones, but also the number of people throwing those stones, you could have hundreds and hundreds of stones being thrown into your particular pond every day and the ripple effect is going to start creating waves. Those waves start having positive interference with other people in your prospect network that you want to reach out to and you sort of involve this concept of an interest graph. That interest graph will with care and feeding turn into a trust graph that you are building with your clients, partners and prospects over time. It takes more than one person and social media has really evolved fast. Now is the time for more and more people in a company to get involved with it.
DAVE: It sounds like what you are saying is that more and more people throughout the company need to get involved. Are you talking about developers, support, marketing people? Should it be narrowed down to a few functions in the company?
ROSIE: I am talking about everyone in the company as a goal. But pragmatically, you are probably better off starting with those people that are already embracing social media whatever their role in the company is and go with them as ambassadors first. Let them be the trainers to the other people in the company that want to latch on later. This model takes the traditional hierarchal power structure within a company and flips it on its ear. Because you really have to trust your employee to tweet the right thing and not say sensitive things or say things that may introduce risk that the company doesn’t want in the social media network.
DAVE: You brought up the issue of risk. What should a company do to help mitigate that risk if they are willing to let more and more employees be involved in social media on their company’s behalf?
ROSIE: Well most people are starting to realize that customers that are not happy are already out there tweeting about your brand, your company, and your products in a negative way. The reality is that the more people you have out there as advocates of what you are doing, the more ears you have out there listening and the quicker you are going to learn about it and respond to it and turn it around if it is a negative situation. In order to do that you do need to have an overall strategy for your social media efforts across the company and across the programs. You also need to have guidelines that are stated and that everybody is aware of and embraces. And provide ongoing training to update those guidelines and make sure that people are putting posts out there and doing things on social media that work in everyone’s best interest.
DAVE: What do you see as the advantage of having separate functional areas of the company getting involved with their counterparts in the customer and prospect organizations?
ROSIE: The advantage is that the concept of social networks means that you have these one-to-one relationships. Not just on a professional level but also on a personal and social level. For example, someone that is your social media guru right now may have a marketing degree and they may be an avid tennis player and they might actually overlap with the tennis interest of a prospect. So they can connect on that social interest level and build this relationship based on that. But imagine if everyone in your company has all of these different professional skill sets and the schools they went to and people they know and all of their personal interests and hobbies. For example, a CIO of a major corporation that a company might be trying to reach as a prospect may be a World of Warcraft avid gamer and the janitor of the company trying to reach them also plays World of Warcraft and they connect on that interest. Before long the janitor could potentially be doing an introduction to that CIO for their company sales VP. It’s not out of the question.
DAVE: Well it certainly is turning the company hierarchy on its head isn’t it?
ROSIE: Oh – absolutely it is – but it also opens up a lot of possibilities and that’s where creativity comes in. So if you hear people saying they have one person or a very few people doing social media that’s great that they’ve got their toes into the pond but they haven’t jumped all the way in yet. They are just getting started.
DAVE: Right. Another aspect that we’ve talked about in the past has to do with the urgency to get content out there.
ROSIE: Well the reality is that content on social media networks has a very short shelf life. What that means is that if I write a blog post and then I tweet that blog post with a shortened URL link in the tweet then my network of people that are going to retweet it usually happens within an hour after I first tweet it. That’s true in Facebook, Twitter Linkedin and a lot of these Social Networks. Video has a little different half-life curve and a little longer shelf life but still it’s relatively short in terms of the effort that goes into creating the content. So you’re much better off building a publishing machine that allows you to build valuable content but sort of shortened pieces of content. It’s better to do smaller-bite kind of content and video clips than to put all of your eggs in one basket and create say a 30-minute overview of your service once a month.
DAVE: Great. In summing up its sounds as if these are the four main points you’re making;
1 Encourage as many people as possible in your company to engage in social media.
2 Develop multiple relationships with many people in your prospect and customer base
3 Put together a clear social media strategy and guidelines to mitigate the risks of having many people involved as your ambassadors.
4. Act quickly because time is of the essence in the social media world.
ROSIE: Absolutely. Thanks Dave that sums it up very well.
DAVE: Rosie thanks so much for your time and I’m looking forward to our next little chat.