How to foster a social environment within a company
How to keep it real when engaging in social media
How to scale social media efforts
The importance of empowering employees when it comes to social media
How social media affects a brand and brand perception
How to get people to care about your social media presence
How boring/unsexy companies can utilize social media
The concept of "The Social Telephone"
How to listen to the social conversation
What companies should be measuring
The future of the social web
Fostering a Social Environment within a Company
"If you look at the companies that we consider to be good at social media, typically they are companies that have two things in common. One, they genuinely really care about their customers, and they're willing to go the extra mile. Two, they operate with, what we call in the book, one head and one heart."
A company needs to have a clear cultural mission within the organization, know what they're about and where they're going, and operate as one organism.
Companies need to hire for passion (find people who love the business) and then train for skills (teach them what to do). It's important that the people on the team are excited to be there.
How to Keep it Real
"The reality is that social media is both the fastest thing ever and the slowest thing ever. Right? Because you're winning hearts and minds one at a time or a few at a time instead of lots and lots at a time."
Focus on genuine one-on-one interactions, and leave the sales pitch out of it.
Scaling Social Media Efforts
"Everybody in your company is a marketer or a customer service person or a first responder. You just have to give them the tools and the training to do that. Everybody in your company can be somebody who's out there engaging in social media from time to time and winning hearts and minds when it's appropriate."
Social media is just a different type of expensive when it comes to marketing costs. You're paying labor costs instead of media costs. But often times, more hiring isn't needed.
Utilizing existing employees and making social media a part of everyone's job description is a good place to start.
Social Media Training
"The other thing about training is that it has to be ongoing. A lot of companies are now at the point where they're saying, 'Yeah, we did social media training for all of our employees last year.' Interesting. Social media has changed an awful lot in one year."
It's important to teach employees the basics of the culture of social media. It's also key to teach triage and create a flowchart of what happens in certain circumstances, who handles what, and how issues get resolved.
Training needs to be ongoing and relevant to a specific company's situations. A case study about JetBlue's social media usage isn't going to help out a little bakery down the road.
"You can't call a committee meeting every time somebody sends a tweet about your company and say, 'What should we do about this? How should we handle this?' Because by the time you send out the meeting request, it's over."
If training is done well, you can trust employees to make the right decision right now.
Social Media and Branding
"We do business with people that we know, people that we like, and people that we trust. Social media allows companies to act more like people, and that drives a lot of how we perceive them as brands."
Doing customer service in social media changes the way people think about that business. It impacts the business' brand and brand perception.
Getting People to Care About Your Social Presence
"Just showing up to the party isn't enough. Having a Facebook page or having a Twitter account doesn't give you anything. It just means that you happen to exist."
It's all about the why ("Why do I care about your Twitter account?"). The answer has to be about soul and about something that makes you special, whether it's your people, your history, the fact that you go the extra mile, etc.
Every company needs to figure out what makes them special (not products, services, features, or benefits), and build a social program around that.
But What About Boring/Unsexy Companies?
"Apple is in the innovation business. Volvo is in the safety business. Disney is in the magic business. You have to figure out what business you're really in, and that's not easy."
Every company has a story to tell. Dig deep. A good example is Red Wing Shoes and the videos they've created highlighting their special factor - heritage.
The Social Telephone
"It's this idea that people are always out there using the social web as a communications platform, and you can listen at the point of need."
When it comes to promoting your products or services, "let people draw their own conclusions once you answer the social telephone."
Listening to the Social Conversation
"I work with a lot of companies and they say, 'Sure, we're listening. We are listening to the social conversation.' And what that means a lot of times is that they have a Google Alert set up for their brand name. That's the sum total of their listening."
You should be listening for your company name, product names, employee names, competitor names, their product names, their employee names, and search terms related to your industry. Any search term that delivers more than three to five visits to your website a month should be listened for.
What Should Companies Be Measuring and Focusing On?
"You have to decide whether social media is helping you achieve awareness or sales or customer loyalty."
First and foremost, companies need to know why they're utilizing social media, how it fits into the company's business objectives, and what behaviors can be measured to see if that's true.
It's important to measure behaviors that generate income (white paper downloads, engaged fans, etc), instead of things that measure aggregation (total Twitter followers, total Facebook Fans, etc).
The Future of the Social Web
"I think we are very much entering an era where the question changes from 'should we do social media?' to 'how do we do social media better?'"
A huge trend going forward is likely to be "social media science" (the kinds of things that Dan Zarrella does) - tools, platforms, and add-ons that allow companies to more scientifically optimize their social media presence.
Video will continue to explode, and video is where companies should consider going.
Lastly, there will be a move towards social becoming a skill, versus a job, where every employee plays a role (instead of just a social media manager).