Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Social Media Mission Gulf

Even in the same industry professional missions can be remarkably different.

Consider my 20 years as a public relations practitioner. I have penned my share of strategy documents. I have written press releases and pitched journalists. I’ve organized events and worked industry conferences.

However, my role representing technology and healthcare clients is completely foreign to someone in entertainment PR or crisis communications – and vice versa. We have comparable skill sets, and utilize the same tools and tactics. Yet, our jobs and experience in PR exist on unique plains.

This same mission gulf also exists in social media marketing. At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we are typically retained by growth-oriented clients that have an interest in identifying leads, cultivating sales prospects, enhancing SEO and driving audience engagement.

For us, social media marketing is about helping companies find and grow new sources of revenue.

Rich Pesce’s social media mission is also tied to corporate revenue. However, his job at Sprint is to enhance the customer experience for the company’s wireless users, thereby increasing their loyalty to the company (and the resulting revenue).

“The customer experience with a wireless service is very personal,” Rich told me during a phone call last week. “Online conversations about Sprint are already happening. We use social media to join these conversations and demonstrate responsiveness to the customer.”

Pesce employs a mix of social media tactics to fulfill this loyalty mission. He participates in online communities, searches and engages on Twitter, and is proactive in connecting with bloggers.

“Every time I see someone discussing Sprint I look for ways to make a difference,” he explains. “At the very least I listen and respond. Yet, I also serve as a conduit to our customer care organization.”

While Rich and I both reside in this Web 2.0-powered world, our expectations of social media and benchmarks for success are radically different. Quite a mission gulf, eh?

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