Stop and Think: Key Takeaways from Social Media Charlotte

June 23, 2011 / By

As a part of the Social Media Breakfast series, on Friday June 17th several of our Charlotte employees attended an event titled It’s not just Tweeting Anymore:  Why You Can’t Succeed in Social Media if You Don’t Understand Business. Lead by Katie Morse (@miskatiemo), account representative and strategist at Boombox, Inc, the event focused on the business role in social media, and the need to understand how and why social media affects ROI.

The diversity of the group attending the event of course led to a diversity of takeaways.

This panel made me think about …

“…The importance of internal communication cannot be understated.  Katie talked about the breakdown of silos and the negative implications of isolating social media folks from PR, advertising, operations, legal, etc.  A sound social media strategy with clearly defined, measurable objectives that all key parties understand and agree upon must be in place for a campaign to be truly effective.  Operating within the confines of your own department could be detrimental to the success of your overall campaign.”

Pete Stuart | Account Supervisor

“… How easy it can be to fall in love with statistics without knowing exactly their impact on business results. Big numbers have a history of getting marketers excited, but the results in motivating consumers to “do something” remains of paramount importance. The session also reminded me that there are many variables to consider when looking at social media impact. The inputs and outputs can be significant, often times leading to a couple being forgotten when it’s time to reflect.”

Kurt Culbert | Vice President

@miskatiemo made some valid points about needing to understand what a business is out to do in the first place – cut costs / increase sales – in order to build proper social media programs.  I think it goes even deeper: to be truly successful in social media, you have to properly identify what “success” looks like to you – the organization.  Defining what success looks like to you can only be done by properly identifying your marketing objectives (which should ladder up to your organization’s business objectives).  Success and the proper metrics to measure by will then fall out of your objectives – if built right.

And, thinking about this led me to think about metrics.  Remember, metrics are just numbers.  They’re not the be-all, end-all.  Social media is about developing relationships and it shouldn’t be solely measured in a snapshot of time.  Now, of course, because its digital it is easier than ever to grab metrics – how many “Likes” we get on a status update or how many re-tweets we get – but can we truly determine how we strengthened the brands relationship between it and the consumer in a short period or that snapshot of time?  It takes a lot of time and, for the love of Pete, it’s an investment!

I’m reminded about a philosophy someone once told me by which to live my marketing life: social media is like dating the person you’re going to marry.  Think about it.  You have to first find them, hang out with them and go to the places they like to go, get to know them (yes, this means YOU have to listen), talk openly and don’t go to bed mad (i.e. solve your issues quickly), etc… It’s scary, huh?  But, if you think about it in this way, you’re brand will be more authentic in the eyes of your customer and you’ll ultimately have an easier time determining how you strengthened your relationships over time.

Justin Nicolette | Account Director

“We spend a great deal of time, as we should, talking about quantifiable objectives and measurable results.  We preach, as we should, that successful programs must drive business outcomes, not the amount of “likes” or the even worse, the dreaded “we helped generate awareness” for a Fortune 100 brand with brand recognition scores older than the US Constitution.  All of these points were discussed either directly or in-directly at the Social Media Charlotte session last week.  I truly enjoyed my time there not because it reiterated these obvious points, but because it reminded me that often the most important aspect of being a true brand counselor is knowing and understanding your client’s business in its totality, and not just by what happens in the marketing communications floor in their global headquarters.  The more I work with Amazon.com, the more I am reminded that PR professionals must be equally prepared to provide support and counsel around the fun stuff (i.e. product launches and sports sponsorships) as we are around the not so fun stuff (i.e. product recalls, customer service issues, crisis situations).  If we are to truly deliver unprecedented value, the only way we can do that is by understanding how the Customer Service department works with Legal and in turn how Operations interacts with Procurement.  I just sent my client an email asking how I can participate in an immersion session given to new employees.  I’m on my way….”

Ryan Mucatel | Managing Partner

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