In this second post of the series, LaSandra Brill discusses the need for a dedicated Social Media Marketing “expert” within a company, and comments on how social media is a cultural shift that is changing the expectations of business.
O’Neill: How much time should a marketing department spend on social media? What is the balance between this and conventional marketing?
Brill: If I think about it from a bigger company perspective, if you have somebody dedicated for example to MarCom (Marketing Communications), I think you need somebody dedicated to social media as well. I think you need a “community” manager who does that role. Now, if you are at a smaller company …maybe it’s one person that is able to do both, but then their activity and their involvement maybe gets reduced; instead of being on all of these different social sites maybe they are only limiting it to one or two based on their resources. I think you do need a dedicated resource one way or another though. It’s got to be someone’s specific job (to make social media happen).
O’Neill: From all indications social media is a profoundly important development in marketing, do you agree?
Brill: I think so. Social media isn’t just a business shift; it’s a cultural shift that’s happening around the world. It’s changed the way that we’re communicating, and it’s changed our expectations, it’s changed the speed in which things happen.
O’Neill: How is it changing expectations in business?
Brill: Think about Twitter, for example, if people tweet bad news or negative information because they are expecting somebody to respond to them quicker. I’ve heard stories that people have called Comcast and, when they are not getting a response, they then tweet that “I’m on the phone and no one’s responding to me”. And you know what? They’ve gotten a response within minutes saying “let me help you” because the company doesn’t want that story proliferating on the Internet and going viral and potentially becoming a crisis situation. And so the expectation that they are now teaching people is that if you go online and you make a little stink about something you’re going to get a quicker response time. And they expect people to be listening to those conversations, they expect change to happen and businesses are starting to react that way which is feeding into that expectation even more so. Business is definitely going to – it needs to – have a process around how to deal with that information, so that they can scale as that continues to happen.
O’Neill: What are the typical objections you hear at the moment to Social Media Marketing?
Brill: I think people are not sure. It’s more uncertainty: how do I build a team, how much resources do I put on it? And how do I integrate it to what I do and…is it measurable…what are the metrics that are important? There are a lot of questions. Some companies are afraid of social media and they want to block it because it’s new, they don’t understand it and…they are looking at the potential negative side without looking at the offsetting opportunity.
O’Neill: I’ve heard the comparison drawn between social media marketing and spam and inappropriate Facebook comments. There is a fear among some that social media marketing will illicit negative responses and attitudes within the target market. Is that a well founded concern?
Brill: Negative feedback or negative “comments”, I don’t think it’s as much of a concern at Cisco because I think we’ve gotten our employees and executive past the fear. To be quite honest it’s going to happen less frequently with you there (online) than with you not there. And I think that’s a realization that we at Cisco have come to for some time now. But I think a lot of companies are still struggling with that. If I blog or if I tweet and then somebody says something negative about my company or my product, then what? And what they need to realize is that’s going to happen anyway, but with you there you have a greater chance of turning that around. And sometimes even just being present and people knowing that you are there (means) they’ll be a lot more softer in how they deliver a message. And they are not going to say “I hate Cisco”. Now they might be like “Oh, I’m having issues for example …” they will change it because they know we are listening. And so automatically with you being there…they’ll be more respectful.
Tomorrow’s post – part 3 of the interview with Sandra LaBrill – will discuss the impact of social media specifically on the B2B marketing space and the emerging need for an ‘editorial calendar’ of online events.
Tags: Social Media Marketing