Thursday, November 24, 2011

Real World Social Media Insight from Corporate and Government Marketers

Nearly 900 business executives and government workers each spent 15 minutes with us online to share how they are engaged in social media. 

What communities do they participate in?  Do they contribute content or are they primarily observers?  Where are they when they access social networks...on the job, at home or in a mobile environment?  And, perhaps most important, what expectations do they have of their social participation?

A summary of the findings of the "Social Media in the Public Sector" research study -- conducted by Market Connections in partnership with Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) -- are available for download at this link.

The event we hosted with Market Connections a few weeks back to formally announce the survey results also featured an exceptional panel of corporate and government marketers who have ownership of their organization's social participation.  They hailed from Deloitte, Intelsat General, Polycom, General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense.   

The panel's charge:  provide insight into the survey results, as well as advice for other marketers who desire to integrate social media into their mix of external communications tactics.

The three brief videos below provide a real world perspective from our panelists that could potentially help you define a social path for your organization.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Learn Up on Social While Supporting the Rising Stars Foundation

I grew up in the Washington, DC area.  I attended the University of Maryland.  I’ve built my career in this town.  My wife and I are raising two wonderful sons here.

I’m one of this region’s most fervent cheerleaders and have written about why Washington, DC is such a fertile ground for technical innovation.

In my opinion, Washington/Maryland/Northern Virginia offer the ideal environment for a happy, healthy and productive life.  Just not for everyone.

It’s a disgrace that I can leave my home in Bethesda, drive a mere 30 minutes into the city and arrive in neighborhoods where children have limited educational opportunities.  The public schools do their best, yet confront crime, gangs, drugs and a student body with limited economic means.

Business leader and entrepreneur Oliver Carr has made the academic success of children in our region’s most desperate communities a priority.  His Rising Stars Foundation recently raised nearly $14,000 to provide a year’s worth of school supplies to more 200 children.

I’m joining in to help.  On Thursday, December 1 at 12 PM at a Carr Workplaces office at 1750 Tysons Boulevard in McLean, Virginia, I’ll share a set of best practices for how a business of any size can tap into social media to achieve measurable sales results.

Carr Workplaces will host this event at 1750 Tysons Blvd., Suite 1500.
Rising Stars Foundation suggests a donation of $20 to attend, and lunch and drinks will be provided.

Please consider attending.  I promise it will be an informative session that will give you a running start into 2012.  Plus, your donation will go directly to the Rising Stars Foundation as they pursue such an important mission.

You can learn more about the event and register here:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Social Media's Ownership by Corporate Marketing Neophytes

I have been on the event swing during past few weeks talking up the measurable return on investment that can be achieved through a strategic, sales-aligned approach to social media marketing.

For instance, last month Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) hosted an event in partnership with market research shop Market Connections to unveil the results of a comprehensive survey of social media adoption in the public sector.  I moderated a panel discussion that featured Strategic clients from Polycom, Intelsat and Deloitte.

Like many marketers, the nearly 200 event attendees are in the process of evaluating how to best incorporate social media into their mix of tactics in 2012.

An observation I made from the podium was the youthfulness of those tasked with ownership of social media.  Granted, this perspective is influenced by my membership in the middle-aged club.

Yet, it’s clear to me that a myriad of corporate sales and marketing executives have punted social media responsibility to junior members on the team.  They are qualified because they grew up with this Facebook and Twitter thing, so the thinking goes.

Is the management of social media by corporate newbies a problem?  For some, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Consider this comment on a Netpreneur discussion board a few weeks back:

Prospects are forever talking about having the youngest person in the office manage campaigns or worse, hiring interns. Never ceases to amaze me that companies are willing to take an important function such as developing relationships and delegate it to Jr staff.

I tend to take a more optimistic view with the belief that management of social media will allow younger professionals to more quickly establish themselves as mission-critical to the success of their organization.  In turn, this will create a new generation of marketing leaders and fast-risers who wholly support an investment of time and budget in social.

Of course, to derive benefit from this opportunity, junior marketers must gain an understanding of three important things about their organization:

1.  The overall direction of the business and benchmarks for success in sales, teaming, recruitment and financing.
2.  The budgeting process, including how resources are allocated and who influences decision-making on budget.

3.  The path to build internal consensus for a program, and then continually reinforce its value and ROI during execution.   

I recognize that Strategic’s clients are faced with a challenging job when it comes to social media.  It’s new and my firm’s methodology and approach is novel.

They need to serve as champion to secure funding, provider of strategic direction, supporter of execution and internal cheerleader to help educate about ROI.

This is do-able for younger professionals.  They just need to be razor sharp.