More than One Way to Skin that Social Media Initiative

We sponsored the BlogWell Conference in our hometown of Austin, Texas. Andy Sernovitz and his team put together a great conference that was chock full of presentations from Fortune 500 marketers. Two presentations, Toyota”™s Kimberley Gardiner and Texas Instruments”™ Aimee Kalnoskas, made it clear to me that there are multiple winning execution strategies of social media programs. This is what makes this sector so exciting.

At first glance at the chart above, it might seem like social media is all over the map. There are different titles, objectives, organizational structures, strategies and metrics that define social media success. But as ESPN”™s Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend”.  Although there are many micro-strategies at play, there are four major commonalities that are shifting the enterprise:

  • More coordination: Social media initiatives touch groups both inside (marketing, pr, legal, customer care, sales) and outside (ad agencies, volunteer moderators, local legal counsel) the walls of the enterprise.  Makes you harken back to those times when the intern was your company”™s sole social media voice.
  • More scale: It is a known marketing science that you experiment with various approaches until you find the right formula and begin to scale your efforts. Social media is following this familiar path of “experiment” and “scale”. We are seeing large enterprises like Toyota and Texas Instruments scale their efforts by increasing social media programs and budget.
  • More multi-national approach:  As these enterprises begin to scale their social media efforts, they are looking to expand their reach internationally. The considerations are not limited to which local social channels to select but also privacy laws and cultural norms for engaging. While setting up Texas Instruments”™ China strategy, Aimee Kalnoskas said the majority of her efforts involved sending “everything through regional Chinese legal representation”.
  • More formal organization:  Every big brand either has a Director of Social Media or equivalent who is responsible for coordinating, scaling, developing strategies and executing. Now, I know that many of the attendees at BlogWell are “pioneers” at social. However, every big enterprise seems to be building a central social organization to scale up their efforts.

Enterprises realize that social media is a new communication channel. Social media has its own emerging rules of engagement and the majority of them are slight twists and amalgamations from both traditional and digital marketing principles.

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