Do you ever feel like you’ve been screwed when you order a meal? The menu tantalized you with images and words that described a wonderful, sent-from-heaven meal and then when it arrives, you say “What the hell?!”
This is how I have felt numerous times attending conferences, unconferences and events that espouse “advanced theory on social media” and “come hear from the experts”. It’s gotten to the point where even seeing these ads or hearing people talk about it triggers my gag reflex. Honestly, I would rather nail my head to the coffee table than sit through another minute of someone explaining Social Media 101 to me.
So rather than piss and moan about it, my company, Sensei Marketing, has done something about it. I’ve been extremely reluctant to back any event or organization in the past because I just didn’t feel they “got it”. For us to become involved in a conference it has to be able to overcome my persona biases but also, deliver value to MY customers: large, public, globally-driven enterprise.
To this end, Sensei Marketing is now officially partnered with Social Media Club to deliver the Social Media Masters series. A series of events designed from the get go to deliver advanced teachings, methods and theory on enterprise relevant issues, challenges and topics.
Now to the “why” we have done it…
Now, some of my esteemed colleagues have warned me to tread lightly on this subject, but being a Canadian lumberjack kinda guy, the last thing I do is tread lightly. So let me lay it out for ya…
The issue I have, my particular beef, is the utter lack of thinking relevant to large, globally-driven enterprise. There are simply far too few people pushing the social envelope for new thinking and methods for applying social to big business, particularly B2B or other parts of the enterprise like Supply Chain, Financial, Sales, HR (past the usual tripe), or Operations to name a few. The current thinking simply does not fit.
As I see it, we have barely scratched the surface on how social, not social media, can positively impact the entire enterprise inside and out. Why? Well I guess there may be a couple reasons.
The current focus is off the mark in two key ways for enterprise… First is the focus on customer acquisition using the public social platforms (Twitter, FB, Linked In, etc) which present numerous problems for enterprise. In my mind, the three absolute best uses of social are:
– Customer and Employee Development (Branded Communities)
– Lead Nurturing (Not Acquisition!!)
– Customer Service and Support.
Within each of these it divides down into other areas of course, but the vast majority of social learning available right now barely touches on these areas and then most of it is not applicable to large enterprise.
Second is the focus on Social Media strategy and not social strategy. I have always firmly believed that a Social Media strategy is highly limiting, creates undo risk, and strategic inflexibility. Whereas a social strategy, meaning a strategy that lays down the plan for creating social relationships between your brand/employees and your customers, deliver exceptional value, manages risk and greatly improves strategic flexibility.
A Social strategy transcends any social platform and can actually be applied to every communication channel; both internal and external. At its core, its is the ability to build relationships. Do you really want to hook that to a social media channel that could wink out of existence like My Space did?
The heart of being social is the ability to stay relevant in someone’s business or life. This means you need to focus on them, not on yourself. I have always referred to this as being customer-centric. Relevancy applies not just to your approach, but your content and how you match your employees to different groups of customers all with the singular focus of building rapport and relationships.
Social Media focused on your brand is the biggest social blunder you can make. How many of us can remember or were that obnoxious person at the party who only talked about themselves? Here is what it sounds like, “Me, Me, Me, Me… but enough about Me, what do you think of Me?” Its no wonder so many companies fail at Social because they have no clue to talk about anything but themselves! And current Social Media gurus, experts, ninjas and mavens won’t tell you otherwise. It pisses me off enough to make me pour another large scotch to finish this post. Cheers!
Risk management is a huge responsibility for marketing executives and social media presents far too many pitfalls for large public companies. While there are good resources on social media policy, you can barely find anything on risk management strategy and policy. This issue includes “who is accountable or should own social?” in the enterprise; a question almost everyone struggles with these days.
Case studies abound on big public companies who went onto Facebook or Twitter and screwed up royally or were sent “tail between their legs” running off Facebook by hundreds of angry customers who finally had a chance to vent.
Is anyone dealing with this? Not in any meaningful way… Sure bits and pieces exist, but try and find something comprehensive for a large public company or even something meaningful.
Putting Thick Slices of Beef Back in the Social Samich (This sub-title is for all my Vegan chums!)
To wrap this up, something big and juicy was missing from Social teachings and I believe we’ve found it, or at least the makings of something that can start to fulfill the massive needs for enterprise level content on social. While only time will tell, all the early signs point to something substantial and relevant for enterprise participants.
As for me, I hope to lend what insight and support I can to Sam Fiorella and Kristie Wells, the two organizers of the Masters series, but trust they are going to stay true to the intent of the series. Check out www.socialmediamasters.com for more information on this new series.
As always, help me keep it honest and I encourage your feedback and input to further improve the value of this series for enterprise and for those professionals who service enterprise.