7 Takeaways From #BDI: Social Media As a Marketing, Branding & Service Platform
by Sarah Caminker
This week, I had the pleasure of attending a seminar in New York City on Social Integration: Harmonizing Social Channels into the Marketing, Communications & Service Platform. The Business Development Institute put on this fantastic event that included case studies and roundtables for social media marketing, PR and communication professionals. Top-notch speakers included:
Michael Mendenhall: CMO, HP
Joshua Karpf: Digital Communication Manager, PepsiCo
David Patton: VP & EIC, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Brian Kenny: CMO & CCO, Harvard Business School
Lynn Mann: Director of External Communications, Michelin
Richard Pesce: Social Media & Digital Communications, Sprint
Michael DiLorenzo: Director of Corporate Communications, National Hockey League
They all stressed the importance of not seeing social media as a separate entity, rather viewing it as an integrated part of your marketing, branding and customer service. The list below details the top 7 takeaways that were discussed during the seminar.
*Note #BDI stands for Business Development Institute and is the event’s hashtag on Twitter that you can search for real-time insight from attendees.
1. Technology is NOT Social. People Are!
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media sites are just tools. They are only *SOCIAL* if you engage and interact with people on them. Technology is great, but it is about the relationships. Note: these tools are intended for two-way communication and not as a megaphone for your next sales pitch.
2. Feeding the Beast: An Insatiable Appetite for Content
The beauty of the social mediasphere is that anyone can publish, edit or distribute content. We are going through a renaissance of how consumption of information and content is being managed and distributed. Social media has enabled a constant mobility meaning that people expect to receive information 24/7. There is a never-ending hunger for quality content, hence the expression “feeding the beast.”
3. The Era of the Advocate
Mass communication is dead, rather it’s about building personal connections with consumers. The more you serve and support your customers, the more likely they are to recommend your brand to their network (both offline and online). It’s more credible to have an outsider toot your own horn than to have the CMO do it. Remember to thank your “advocates” and make sure they know you appreciate them taking the time to support you and your brand.
4. Digital Newsrooms Are No Longer a Resource For Just the Media
We’re all content creators, and it’s unrealistic to assume that journalists are the only ones seeing your content. Company and industry news needs to be integrated, aggregated and curated for a broader audience. Press releases are just the tip of the iceberg. Begin incorporating multimedia like podcasts and videos and re-purpose content (in the form of white papers, E-books, articles) to tell your story.
5. Transparency and Authenticity is the Only Way to Go
Whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur or marketing professional you must communicate who you are, what you do and who you serve right off the bat. It’s also critical that you are upfront and transparent about the content and advice you are giving. If not, people will see right through you, run screaming in the other direction and land on your competitor’s virtual doorstep.
6. Social Media as a Listening Tool to Feed Innovation
Take a step back and listen. Whether that’s monitoring a dialogue on Twitter, following a blogger in your industry to see what conversation they’re sparking or hosting a focus group, you never know when you might get the next big break from just LISTENING to your fans/customers. The #NHLTweetUp is a perfect example. Guess how they got that idea??? By listening to their followers on Twitter! Bottom Line…. Stop, Look and Listen. Then Respond.
7. Crossover From Online to Face-to-Face
Twitter and Facebook are excellent relationship building tools, but there’s something to say about in-person communication that makes that connection even stronger. Take the time to go to industry events, conferences and networking groups to put a face to the avatar. On the business end of the stick, host tweet-ups in different cities, so your can connect with your followers.
I’m interested to hear your feedback and any trends/topics you think could be added to this list. …read more