Social media from a corporations perspective can always be a difficult subject to talk about. Today, I read a blog post from the Influential Marketing Blog titled: 10 Big Brand Lessons From the Corporate Social Media Summit. This article really resonated with me, because even though I use social media in my day-to-day work, sometimes even I lose sight of some important things.
Despite a lot of negative opinions out there about so called “best practices” in social media, there is no denying some brands just do it well. I’ve always been one to look to Cocacola for their best practices. They were one of the first brands to reach fan numbers in the millions (though I don’t necessarily think quantity over quantity should be a best practice at all) and they looked like they were having fun doing it.
Where this blog post really saw Coke shining, was that no idea was too big or ambitious, even though the key takeaway was that the most important number in social media is 360. I see this a tad differently. The main idea of the campaign that Coke ran, was that they would send three lucky travelers on a journey to all 206 countries around the world that Coke is sold. People could chose to follow their travels through a website that Coke put up called Expedition 206. So, on they went – looking for sources of happiness in each & every country which subsequently built on Coke’s now notorious Open Happiness campaign.
In my opinion, where this stood out was not in their marketing. After all, this started as a PR campaign. Absolutely brilliant. Now, while not every brand can emulate Coke’s ambitious campaigns – it shows that they were not scared to try. They tried something that was outside of their comfort zone & they exceeded probably even their own expectations.
Now, to the section that stood out to me –
“Best Buy – Nobody owns Social Media”
My subconscious was smiling ear to ear when I saw this. This is what I have been thinking all along!! How can you own something you have no control over? Owning social media is kind of like…. anti-social.
Alas, this was not really what they were talking about. They were talking about their customer service, or, Twelp Force. The same kind of things a lot of brands say:
We’re creating meaningful communications in the digital world.
Don’t get me wrong, Best Buy does a fantastic job on social media. I’m not doubting that whatsoever. I love that they extend encouragement to over 3000 employees to participate in SM. I would love to see more from Best Buy that’s not only customer service focused.
Now… Dell is extremely interesting to me. I love that they’re not solely measuring social media based on ROI, this is fantastic. My favorite part about Dell is that they made social media interesting coming from a brand. To them, it is less about – we need to talk about our products! Sell computers! Sell the fancy schmancy colored covers & how cool they are! Go forth & conquer!
Nope… not them. They have a “Social Media Listening Command Centre”. Ya, you heard right. How awesome is that? They really treat discussions that happen in social media the same way they probably do with a call center. This alone is revolutionary. According to the blog post, they have fully embraced social media in six business areas:
- Marketing (obviously)
- Product Development – this is really one of the main reasons they are a best practice. Brands like to say that their listening, but few actually act upon it.
- Sales (again, obviously)
- Online presence – Not quite sure exactly what this means, but I’m assuming that it meant that they’re online?
- Customer service – Right on
- Communications – Standard
The reason that I like this – is because it’s about more than just customer service. More than marketing. More than communications. They’re basically saying
Hey (your name here), we’re here in case you need us. We can help you, give you advice, tell you about the latest news, and even help you buy a new computer if you want one. Regardless, we’re here. We’re listening to you. You matter.
While there were a few more standouts; Southwest for huminzation, Kodak for listening in real time, & Pepsi for rewarding their fans for just being fans, only one other brand stood out to me.
The funny part, before reading this article is I didn’t even know who they were. New York Life. After Googling for a bit – I realized they were an insurance company. Weird.
Anywho, New York Life’s lesson was Brands need to trust their people. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, most recently from Amber Naslund (see this blog post for more info). The more I hear this point, the more it rings true to me. When I see these words, I really start to question how little some brands do trust their people. Gregory Weiss pointed out that many large brands are afraid of what their employees might do with social media even though they let their employees (the SAME employees) have phones & use fax machines & talk to people outside of the company.
According to the blog post, his main point was that if you can’t trust your employees to do the right things and make the right choices, then maybe you need to hire better people. Ouch. Hurts, doesn’t it? I don’t even need to speak to this point because I strongly believe it speaks for itself.
In conclusion, these people are “best practices” because they’re really doing it right. I hope we can all as colleagues evolve to the place where we can lean on each other & turn competition into conversation.
Thanks to Rohit Bhargava for this inspiration for this blog.
What brands do you turn to for best practices?
- 10 Big Brand Lessons From The Corporate Social Media Summit (rohitbhargava.com)