Social media: Putting digital insights into action
Wendy Arnott, TD Bank; Pete Blackshaw, Nestlé; Rob Horton, Akzo Nobel; Brad Little, NM InciteCompanies need to have a clear sense of what they want to say and the content they need to say it if they want to be effective on social media. That starts with listening to and understanding your customers.
- March 2012
Wendy ArnottTB Bank
Rob HortonAkzo Nobel
Brad LittleNM Incite
- Companies need to have a clear sense of what they want to say and the content they need to say it if they want to be effective on social media. That starts with listening to and understanding your customers.
- Social media inherently cuts across traditional organizational boundaries, but you need a group with responsibility and accountability for driving the overall approach.
- The hype phase of social media is over. Companies need to move behind “likes” and “fans” to show how social drives impact.
Understand your customers so you can create the right contentBlackshaw: “I think websites are moving from destinations to distribution centers. When we think about content, we have to manage a broader content ecosystem. Twitter and Facebook are becoming important content hubs but the most important takeaway here in terms of figuring what content to develop lies in the conversation and in the data. We have to organize what these good old-fashioned consumers are telling us and then we have to put in place some test and learn principles. The good news is that social media brings a far more efficient business process for vetting ideas. There’s a massive amount of conversation that reflects unmet needs.”
Social cuts across organizational boundariesHorton: “You can’t just find someone who’s under 30 and happens to spend time on Facebook, and make it part of their job description to administer your social media program. When it becomes somebody’s fifth thing to do on their to do list, it didn’t get done and we limped our way through that experience. You need to have somebody who is fundamentally responsible within your organization for your social media presence and site. You also need to have partners outside of the organization who know more about this space than you do. Nine times out of 10, it is not going to be your traditional advertising agency, because that’s not their sweet spot”. Arnott: “In our organisation we took a very centralised approach, creating my role and putting a few people against it. I and my team were a center of expertise. We assessed the needs of each business so that we could maintain consistency of experience and manage resources well. Now what we’re starting to do is infiltrate other units. For example, when we spot a real need with the online banking group, we provide them with a social media team or expert. Similarly in marketing, we’re seeing they need social amplification experts for their team.
Proving the impact of social mediaBlackshaw: “We need to be able to monitor the conversation in such a way that we can start to credit it to certain business processes, groups, or types of advertising initiatives. We’re going to need a much better basis from which to say, for example, ‘Corporate communications, your trust initiative backfired or worked, and created the following kind of output in the social media airwaves. Therefore we think that we need to dial up or dial down investment.’ I really think there’s so much data out there that we can leverage.“
Where’s the line between controlled and authentic in social media?Arnott: “I passionately believe in authentic. We’re definitely investing in things like Facebook ads and consulting to make sure that we go the right way, but our voice is well defined. We present ourselves as humble and human, and that’s so much a part of how we interact on all of our channels. On our Facebook page recently, we said something about, ‘Is your car draining your gas tank? Use TD rewards’. Right away people said, Not so subtle.’ So, if you’re not true to the voice and brand, you’ll get slammed right away.”
When you think about organization, how do you decide what’s global, what’s regional, and what’s country?Blackshaw: “One of my big statements of late is: all local is global. For example, with a 140-character limit on Twitter, no one ever qualifies where a message started. We generally manage the local, but there is so much cross-fertilization of messaging that it raises really interesting and complicated questions about differentiating product quality by region and degrees of customer service. Viral buzz can do amazing things, but most social media emanates from operations and business processes.”
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