There was a very interesting panel discussion about social media at the recent Web 2.0 Expo event in San Francisco. The panel, which included a roup of leading social media commentators including Charlene Li, who we have interviewed, discussed how you get company cultures to adopt social media and how you measure social media, as well as other topics.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Here’s some of the key points that I picked up:
To get companies to buy into social media you need the ‘big guns’ involved. Social media has to be aligned with corporate goals. For example, if you say to a company they must use Twitter, they might not be interested. But if their corporate goal is to increase satisfaction then Twitter fits that objective.
The panel spoke about social media being about building relationships and not being about technology. Speakers said that marketing campaigns are normally short term and that social media requires long term commitments.
Social Media marketing is misleading as a name, Charlene Li argued, as it suggests pushing something to people that they are not interested in, whereas social media is about something much more collaborative.
Measurement of social media is a tricky area. Somehow page views and clicks is not sufficient. The panel said that measurement should be consistent with how other business communications areas are measured and has to be linked to clear business goals.
One speaker spoke about how social media is going to transform the way in which businesses communicate with their staff, their suppliers, their customers and all their key audiences. He said it would be painful and take a long time but he suggested that the rise of social media would challenge the traditional structures and traditional marketing disciplines of businesses around the world.
If you are unsure about what to do with social media for a variety of reasons then the panel urged a period of experimentation. Starting small and experimenting. It sounds a good approach to me.
In terms of how social media gets going within organisations. There seems to be a few models emerging: it comes from the edges and grows organically; it is initiated centrally by executive mandate or it grows through a multi-disciplined management team covering various functions.