Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Corporations Succeed with Social Media

Posted by Leah Rice

Amy Mengel of covered the October Inbound Marketing Summit led by social media gurus Chris Brogan and Justin Levy. During the summit Mengel picked up five key reasons why corporations are struggling with their social media efforts. But instead of focusing on negative examples of companies doing it wrong – Mengel highlighted a few of the companies that just get it. Below see the tips she mentions in her article titled, “Five reasons corporations are failing at social media.”

1. They can’t talk about anything broader than their own products. Mengel highlighted Kodak’s photography blog that Chief Blogger Jenny Cisney mentioned during the summit. Cisney spoke about how the Kodak blog is about photography and creativity in general, not about Kodak cameras. And I couldn’t agree more with Mengel when she says, “If a company is only talking online about its specific products and not looking for ways to connect to the bigger picture, it’s pretty difficult for people to be engaged.”

2. They listen to customers but don’t take any action. Corporations that are willing and able to make the plunge into the social media realm and ask for customer feedback need to be ready for public responses and to do something about it. Afterall what is the point of asking for someone’s opinion if you really don’t want to hear it.

Mengel uses an example involving Southwest Airlines. In her article she shares that, “Paula Berg from Southwest Airlines discussed how a simple blog post stating the airline was considering assigned seating amassed tons of customer comments showing a lack of support for the idea. This feedback changed the direction of their internal debate and led to a new boarding procedure that maintained the open seating arrangement.”

3. They aren’t calibrated internally with the technology. According to Mengel, a few of the summit speakers rebuked corporate Web sites for being glorified online brochures and that customers expect interaction. Similar to what Furia Rubel preaches to our clients and colleagues, summit speakers pushed the fact that content creation is key to social media success and every company should have a Web site with a content management system that allows for quick, easy content creation.

4. They’re not framing risk accurately. She also mentioned how, “NBC cameraman Jim Long said that often a company’s entry into social media is a clumsy, shotgun blast and that there’s an equal chance of looking foolish by having a ham-fisted marketing department launch a social media presence as there is if a rogue employee ‘goes off’ on Twitter. The risk of social media is not abated by not participating and social media has yet to be the undoing of any company.”

5. Their internal culture isn’t aligned for social media success. Zappos and Southwest Airlines were cited by Mengel as some of the corporations doing it right with a great social media corporate culture. Because these companies have corporate cultures reflective of their core customer service missions, they succeed with building trust and advocacy for their brand through social media outlets.

So here it is – participating in social media is not a life or death choice for corporations. Have a plan; be honest, trustworthy and transparent with your social media efforts; provide interaction with your customers; and be ready to do something about the feedback that you receive.

Thank you, Amy, for providing us with these easy-to-follow tips on bettering all of our corporate social media efforts.

1 comment:

amymengel said...

Hi Leah. Thanks for sharing my post and breaking it down. IMS was a great conference. I learned a lot and was glad I could share some takeaways. The post generated a ton of discussion on SM Today and also on my blog, as well: