It would seem natural that a company like Cisco Systems of San Jose, California would become an early leader in the art and science of social media marketing. Cisco is a global leader in manufacturing hardware such as routers, modems, switches and the Wireless IP Phone 7920. LaSandra Brill is perhaps emerging as the most recognizable ‘guru’ from that company on social media at the moment, being bestowed by Cisco with the title ‘Senior Manager, Global Social Media’. In 2008 Brill’s team used social media to launch the ‘Aggregated Services Router’ and reached 90 times the audience at 1/6th the cost of conventional marketing methods, according to Brill.
Social media has been a long time in coming. Early on in Web marketing mainstream advertisers were preoccupied with crafting a visually appealing and branded image online, launching sophisticated web sites that frequently failed to generate the community that most pundits said was the core of the Web. It was hard not to yield to the temptation of treating the Web as some kind of broadcast surrogate, controlling brand image as much as possible and even threatening to sue wags who created ad parodies and otherwise refused to ‘get with the program’.
As the web eroded the top down ‘central control’ ethic of marketing departments everywhere, a change of heart began to acknowledge that the customer is the one who is actually in control of the ‘market conversation’, and the notion of ‘social media’ began to generate buzz. ‘Social media marketing’ endeavours to attract attention online with relevant, useful content and inspire conversations among customers. Those same customers are encouraged to share product information on social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or on blogs, wikis etc. In some cases a company’s Facebook page is now drawing more hits than the official corporate web site. In the last couple of years ‘social media’ has become the ‘latest and greatest’ phrase on every marketer’s lips as the crowd piles on, calling themselves, in many cases, ‘social media experts’. Social media is really just an important, albeit relatively new component of the integrated marketing communications plan.
I wanted to talk to a real social media expert, so I gave LaSandra Brill a call. We chatted in mid August, 2010. Visit this blog tomorrow for the first instalment of the interview where we discuss whether in fact there really is a ‘social media expert’ as of yet, and if there is, specifically what it is that makes them an ‘expert’.
Ian O’Neill is an independent marketing consultant as well as thinker, writer and speaker living in Stratford, Ontario. He is a guest author on Gossamar’s Inbound Marketing Automation blog.
Ian sees social media marketing as an opportunity strengthening the integrity of business relationships. He understands its critical importance in bringing together buyers and sellers in the digital world and is energized by its promise of more efficient and profitable marketing communications.
Tags: Social Media Marketing