Showing posts with label Amber Naslund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amber Naslund. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 22

Choosing Spokespeople: Social Media

Two posts, one by Doug Meacham, multi-channel retail consultant with IBM, and another by Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs, struck a chord with me this morning. It seems to be a reoccurring conversation offline: communication folks, marketing professionals, public relations pros, and executives keep asking how they might keep their personal lives personal as their companies enter social media.

The short answer: you can't.

Once you are a semi-public or public figure, there is little chance of going back. As Brogan points out, it's a commitment. Part of the unwritten contract is that as a representative of a brand, you are always on and more people will want to connect with you.

It's also one of the reasons I took exception to the company attempting to sequester all of its employees into a social media marketing effort. Aggressive, disrespectful nature aside, not everyone is suited to be a spokesperson. And even those who are don't appreciate the consequences of being such.

While being semi-public or public might be part of the expectations for anyone in public relations or communications or leadership or any other job skirting the confines of celebrity, it's just not so for the greater portion of the population. Even among teens, who freely share personal information, they still maintain some semblance of privacy because their accounts have yet to be dialed in as a de facto company spokesperson. Their openness is often relative to association.

Choosing an online company spokesperson.

Choosing spokespeople or online representatives for a company is not all that dissimilar from choosing who might appear on the evening news, assuming they understand up front that the camera is on all the time. Here are a few quick tips:

• They have some authority with the company (even if outsourced)
• They are presentable, with better-than-average writing skills
• They are knowledgeable about the company and industry (or learn it)
• They are compassionate and make emotional connections
• They can write tight, without too much industry jargon
• They are familiar with the tools, communities, and customers
• They can establish positive experiences and remain steadfast
• They need to have a sense of what boundaries to set for some privacy

They do not always have to have the title of CEO nor do they have to be a recent college grad granted the title of social media director as opposed to public relations assistant. (I'm often amazed how many companies assign social media titles to new hires that the same company wouldn't trust on a television interview, but that is not to say some won't surprise you.) Above all, they need to understand communication from a strategic perspective while being able to execute that communication as a community developer who is willing to be semi-public if not freely public (even if they operate a team account).

Amber Naslund has been contributing a few posts on the subject of community. I would encourage anyone to read them. But there is something else I might add.

Two-way communication doesn't stop between a representative (in-house or outsourced). The information they glean from the community or customers can help shape other communication efforts and sometimes the products or services themselves.

Tuesday, November 25

Questioning Measures: MarketingProfs

Odd. Very odd. Those are about the only words I can use to describe what it was like to read two different posts on ROI for social media at MarketingProfs.

Lewis Green, founder and managing principal of L&G Solutions, LLC, shares his post on The Real ROI of Blogging. A few minutes later, Beth Harte, a marketing, communications & social media consultant, posts Want to Figure Out Your Social Media ROI?.

One post points to specific objectives based on measures, such as client engagement, loyalty, referrals, and even sales. The other sets objectives too, but the objectives are all based on reach, such as the number of product mentions on Twitter and blogs. The difference? One sets its objectives to outcomes that represent tangible business returns and the other sets its objectives to measuring the reach of social media marketing.

While I appreciate what Harte is trying to do by asking questions and recommending a plan, communicators always have to be careful not to set the objective of a marketing campaign to be the exposure of a marketing campaign. That's as erroneous as public relations professionals counting column inches and media mentions and calling it a day.

The difference between conversations and outcomes.

When I spoke at G2E, the distinction was made clear by direct example. I had a brief Twitter conversation with Matt of CW Multimedia. But unless I visited his booth as I said I would, it was only a conversation. Simply put, visiting the booth was an outcome.

Since he was at a meeting with Zappos when I arrived, Kevin Stone, chief technical officer, had a conversation instead. His ability to explain their technology as it might pertain to my panel session on social media was an outcome. Mentioning how their mobile marketing technology might apply to social media during the session was a conversation. But whether any of those attendees choose to contact the company is the outcome. (Please note: none of this had anything to do with how many Twitter followers he had.)

The confusion between the two seems to be that various professionals are attempting to separate them. Obviously, assuming the conversation has a purpose (eg. inviting people to the booth), one cannot exist without the other if a company hopes to survive. As Amber Naslund points out: "You cannot calculate a return on anything unless you know whether or not your goals — and your definitions of both Return and Investment — are the right ones."

Or, maybe we can put it another way. If the number of conversations are the only measure, then Wal-Mart has the best communication program on the planet. As provable as that could be, the conversation is frequently skewed negative.

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