Social Media Today Heats Up Hotlanta
Discussions were heated at the Social Shake-Up 2013, the brainchild of Social Media Today publisher Robin Fray Carey. Attracting a crowd of nearly 500 attendees over this past couple of days in Atlanta, I decided to take a peek at the conversations using the robust social discovery tool NetBase. Gazing through the social media looking glass, I found this:
The whirlwind two-day conference gathered social media professionals coast to coast in order to discuss and debate the state of the social enterprise. Panel discussions and keynote speeches revolved around companies now surrendering to (or resisting) today’s new marketing reality: The world of unprecedented, elevated consumer expectations wherein people and customers “own” brands and raise the bar on customer care.
Today brands are playing in a high stakes arena: a new marketing era requiring sensitive and authentic engagement strategies wherein people—not brands—drive value, set expectations and hasten innovation.
The diverse agenda of Social Media Shake-Up 2013 featured corporate challenges such as C-suite initiatives to help brands rise above silo entropy through such measures as:
- Collaborative interdepartmental team pairings (e.g., CMO & CIO; CFO & Customer Retention—including pairing back office big data geeks with all department heads)Governance: Keep the do’s and don’ts simple, clear—not intimidating--to stimulate employee social engagement
- New partnerships with creative social marketing agencies
- Social discovery insights partners
- Innovation agents
- Licensing social analytics
- Listening platforms
- Global social media market researchers, social analysts and more importantly, partners who can close the loop by crafting persuasive stories from Big Data
The NetBase top theme “word cloud” below shows today’s complex spectrum of issues faced by social media marketers and change agents.
Several topic threads populated at least half of the nearly 25 panels and presentations I attended, among which included:
- Brand ownership: The customer now rules
- Silo entropy (underscored by e-Trade CMO Liza Landsman
- Role of change agent across the enterprise
- Is the CMO the new CIO?
- Skillsets of the marketer of the future (#frankenmktr)
- Role of CMO in cultural leadership and mindset change
- Is social killing creativity
- Authenticity in engagement—how to avoid the “smarmy” factor
- Brand influencer vs. advocate—how do you recruit brand ambassadors and stay authentic?
- Brand narcissism
- 360 customer care—a holistic approach
- The factor human factor in Big Data
- New CMO’s holistic tactical mandate
- How to distinguish and cultivate brand advocates vs. influencers and remain authentic
- Big Data storytelling
- Broken supply chain conundrum and how to fix it
- The future enterprise—run by Millennials.
The often lively debate on how to recruit and cultivate brand advocates (or convert influencers into advocates) while staying on message and avoiding the “smarmy” factor to stay authentic (#ssuadvocate) revealed a big conundrum for brands tackling best standards and practices. But many questions remain on the table, including:
What do brand incented communities bring to brand marketing and sales?
Are these community constructs simply an extension of brand narcissism—singing to the choir?
Aren’t brand ambassadors organically grown in social media without incentive?
What does each path contribute to brand reputation, or deprive it?
Can full disclosure of incented advocates used in marketing backfire?
Aren’t incented advocates counterintuitive in our social media ecosystem?
The author ranking analysis by Klout score below, culled from NetBase during the Social Shake-Up, is one analytical lens (non-incented). However, when considering advocate or influencer recruitment, another strategy might be to look through the lens of either the author by number of followers or by mentions.
Discussion around the 360 Customer (specifically delivering on customer brand expectation in a 24/7 brand-customer journey) synthesized the urgency for a holistic approach. But this will not/cannot happen in a vacuum. It must start with a C-suite mandate for 360 integration. And, more importantly, “ownership” of channels is critical across the enterprise.
The corollary? Go where the customer lives. When he/she knocks, respond.
Of course, this blog would not be complete without some “words to the wise” from award-winning author, prominent blogger and keynote speaker Brian Solis, a principal analyst at Altimeter Group. One of Solis’ previous books, The End of Business as Usual, looks at the changing consumer landscape, its impact on business and what companies can do to adapt and lead.
One of Solis’ major pet peeves? The ROI question in social media investment:
“I can’t believe we’re still discussing ROI today!”
Solis contends this anachronistic question dates well back to 1990’s marketing: a bogus metric for value and reputation. Also critical of today’s cookie-cutter approach to social hires, he contends that the “voice” of the top 20 brands in social is the same 20-something year old. Compelling authentic storytelling requires authenticity, not formulary. In his latest book The Future of Business, Solis says it is the bringing together of a company’s players, setting a recovery course from silo entropy.
This same sentiment resonated throughout the Frankenmarketer panel discussion on the skill sets need by future marketers, predicting that in 5 years—maybe—the discussions at this first Social Shake-Up conference might become a faint memory as social is intrinsically integrated in the future enterprise.
Global social media analyst, research strategist and localization expert. Delivers global social media brand audits, analytics, brand innovation, media tracking. NetBase partner, leverages award-winning NLP platform Insight Composer to deliver global brand insights and analytics in 40 languages. Yogini, linguaphile, passionate about global cultural research, social brand innovation, ...
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