I’ve seen a lot of tweets lately, writes Shaun Quigley, Interactive Practice Director of Brunner Digial, from marketing director clients past and present—all chirping about how they are coaching, educating and spoon-feeding (force-feeding?) their management teams about the world of social media. Shaun's seven things your management team should know about the social web follow:
A while back, we held a crash course on the subject for our management team, and have since been helping clients create workshops of their own. While we can’t share the entire presentation, we hope you can use these key points and resources to create one for yourself.
1. People are getting information from other people. Instead of going to traditional places like the organization responsible for the product you’re about to buy or the cause you’re thinking of supporting, people are using technology to get the information from each other. They are looking at consumer reviews, reading blogs and forums, receiving messages via Twitter, finding opinions on social networks, and looking at photos and videos that reflect positively—or negatively—on what you’re selling. Last year, two brilliant research analysts from Forrester published a book called “The Groundswell.” It details how the social web has changed engagement forever, and your preparation should start there.
2. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The good news? These conversations can be monitored. But despite all of the free tools available, only 16% of marketing chiefs say they actively monitor social media (eMarketer, 2009). Get your group set up on TweetDeck, RSS feeds, and GoogleAlerts to show them how easy it is to see what’s being said about your brand, your competitors, your products, or the issues you’re working to advance or defend. In addition to these free tools, there is sophisticated software available that lets you aggregate and graph these conversations in real time, judge sentiment and pinpoint the ones that matter most.
3. Twitter has all the media attention (for now) According to Quantcast, Twitter usage has grown by more than 400% since February. 400%! Much of that growth can be attributed to celebrities like Oprah and others, but 400% growth is an astonishing number. And while Twitter is getting all the press (today), something new will come tomorrow. It always does. Google’s Wave is already making a ton of noise (and it’s not even available). Things online don’t last in static form. Something newer, better, or shinier is just around the corner. Facebook, introduced in 2004, is already being talked about like the old man of the social web, despite its mass appeal:
TIME TO REACH 150,000,000 USERS
Facebook 5 years (as of this publishing, well over 200M)
iPod 7 years
cell phone 14 years
TV 38 years
Telephone 89 years
view the full chart in the March edition of Fortune magazine.
4. People trust strangers more than they trust teachers, newspapers, and magazines. In Februrary ’09, The American Marketing Association asked CMOs what their priorities were over the next 12 months. “Excellent Service” ranked first at 70% followed by “a trusting relationship” at 65%. “Brand” lagged last at 25%. When we layer that data onto a recent eMarketer study about the sources people trust, “friends, families and acquaintances” ranks first, followed by “strangers with experience.” Well. Mom said never talk to strangers, but now they’re more trustworthy than teachers, religious leaders, news sources, advertisers and—of course—telemarketers.
5. Leading companies are embracing it. Look at examples of folks who are doing it right (preferably, in your category). Check out Victoria Secret Pink on Facebook. They launched an entire product line, online. Or do a Google search for “Jet Blue Twitter” to see how an airline is improving customer service, 140 characters at a time. Or check out our most recent work for Zippo.
6. This is just the beginning. Another Forrester guru, Jeremiah Owyang, recently released research that depicts The Future of the Social Web in 5 Eras. We are only in the first phase (people getting information from other people). As the technology evolves, the relevance of what gets shared will increase. Picture a world where you’re shopping for shoes online and you’re met with reviews by people you already know. Whoa.
7. You can’t win if you don’t play. People are talking about your brand online. They’re going to do it whether you choose to participate or not. The first step is to listen. It’s your responsibility to listen. Once you start to see how individuals interact in a given community, introduce yourself. Think of social media as if it were a giant cocktail party. You can’t just jump in and start blathering on. Say hi. Contribute something valuable. Be nice about it. And most importantly, develop a personality for yourself. The companies that fall the flattest are those who view the medium as a way to distribute information instead of a way to build a relationship with a human being.
For more information about social media, of if you’d like help developing a workshop for your management team, please email Shaun Quigley.