Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Commitment versus One and Done - Relationships

So I talked about how important executive level buy-in was for the social media leader's success in my last post. I know it sounds like a given, but I've worked in both environments. If you have buy-in, you have budget, you have executive sponsorship, you have the green light. Without buy-in, your social media initiative at best is a pilot program that might get traction but most likely won't.

The premise of this series is the CMO's commitment shift to more long-term customer lifetime value versus short-term spikes. Here's the four CMO shifts, I think need to happen for social media initiatives to get legs in the corporate world:

1) Peers/your team buy-in, hire leader
2) Relationships
3) Conversations vs campaigns
4) Long haul sentiment change (YOY) vs buzz spike (quarterly)

On the relationships front, it's the direct marketing lens that we are focusing on in social media...or more appropriately we aren't transaction based, point of sale based - we are looking holistically at the customer's experience with the brand and their life time value. So the shift is from a one and done transaction or get-the-sale-in-for-this-quarter-or-die mantra to a long-term customer relationship mentality. This means a focus on LTV metrics not just quarterly sales objectives.

I promise we'll dive into what that means from a social media metrics standpointin the last post of this series. Back to relationships...

Social media provides you ample opportunities to listen to your customers and potential customers through their journey with your brand and to engage with them through social media channels when it makes sense. Relationships take back and forth dialogue - there needs to be give and take or there's really no connection nor skin in the game.

Take advantage of the social sphere to listen and course correct along the way through conversation pulse analysis. Your customers will take note of your "big ears" and will show their appreciation through brand loyalty.

Next up...conversations vs campaigns.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Commitment versus One and Done

It's been awhile but I'm back. I'd like to say it was a fun break but it wasn't. I've been away from my blog working through some family stuff since my dad passed away at the end of June. Priorities. Sometime they aren't fun but must be done.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff...

“The biggest benefit of open leadership is looking at business through the lens of relationships, rather than that of transactions.”
- Charlene Li, Open Leadership – How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead

I had the pleasure of meeting with The Executive Board's Marketing Leadership Council in mid-June. They asked me to present on enterprise-wide social media initiatives focusing on providing CMOs with strategic direction on building out a social team be it cross functional, central or a hybrid. I started the presentation with Charlene Li's quote above because social media tools really amplify the focus on relationship (commitment) versus transactions (one and done).

The next few posts will be touch on the highlights of the presentation. First off:

Commitment Versus One and Done

CMO Commitment Shift:
1) Peers/your team buy-in, hire leader
2) Relationships
3) Conversations vs campaigns
4) Long haul sentiment change (YOY) vs buzz spike (quarterly)

I'll chuck these four out in to separate posts...let's chat about Peer/your team buy-in and hiring a social media leader.

As the organizational leader that has been tapped to lead social media, you need to be committed to weaving social media through your organization. As part of that commitment, you'll need someone to orchestrate the social media plan. You need to hire an online leader that understands your specific business goals, online marketing and social media nuances.

Set the stage internally for your social media leader's success. As with all change agent roles, you need your peers buy-in for the social media leader's role. For example, my organization's CIO told the VP of IT that my team is the business owner for social media. That directive, which came from our CMO before I started, set the tone for inclusion and organizational backing.

A few more topline commitments to consider before you hire a leader...
1) Are you comfortable moving away from a transactions model and shifting to a relationship model?
2) Social media isn’t just outward facing, you must be committed to educating your associates as they are some of your strongest enthusiasts.
3) Social media isn’t just about Marketing (transactions) or Public Relations (communications)it's about listening, serving, responding, resolving, and engaging.

The core message here is social media initiatives are continuous. As the executive leader of social media, you need to set the tone for an ever-evolving social media strategy intertwined with your organization's goals versus a one and done marketing or PR campaign. The first step in doing this is explaining the shift to your organization including the rationale for hiring a leader; then hiring your leader (that has experience rolling out enterprise-wide social media initiatives); and providing he or she with a foundation to succeed.