These are the three critical elements of approaching social media marketing in 2011 that are top of mind for me right now.
Today I read Forbes columnist and industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang's keynote presentation for LeWeb - the largest European Internet conference. His presentation outlines the results of a study conducted by Altimeter Group, his firm, and then presented Jeremiah's suggestions on what strategies will make a difference for social media marketers throughout the next year. He had many more points than just these three. In fact, he presents 6 ideas for how you should invest in 2011. But I find these three to be the most critical and compelling.
The ultimate goal for many organizations is now shifting from simply "having a social presence" (Facebook fan page, Twitter profiles, etc.) to integrating these fully with the existing online corporate presence (corporate website, for example). How can we bring the conversations happening about our brand closer to our brand? How can we attract interested influencers to our site and keep them there? Should that be the goal anyway? What do you think? Comment below.
Second, hire correctly and properly train.
People I meet in marketing often ask me what it takes to make a great social media marketer. As agencies and client-side marketing managers look to hire specialists to dedicate to social media efforts, they should certainly take note of Jeremiah's tips, such as looking for "early technology adopters." Those whom I know who have been successful in social media marketing and truly have a passion for it are the same folks who had a Geocities personal site in college just to "play around with the technology" and share content and insights.They're the same people who tried out Google Wave and Apple Ping the day they were released. These are the folks who are going to have a larger understanding of all of the media channels and tools that exist, making them better equipped to select the right ones for your business.
I also love the term "corporate entrepreneur." Many colleagues of mine have started their own businesses and become very successful at them, such as Erin Steinbruegge (@steinburglar) and Chris Reimer (@RizzoTees). Friends in this group have often asked me: "Why don't you just go into business for yourself as a consultant, or start a firm. You could do great work, attract lots of clients and really build something!" I ponder this opportunity, but I have always found myself coming back to feeling a real passion for working on the corporate side. Whatver that itch is, I'm not sure where it comes from, but I think that term "corporate entrepreneur" fits me well because it means that I am a leader within a corporate structure who is focused on creating value. See the end of this post for more on the concept. After reading the below definition of corporate entrepreneurship, you'll likely better understand why talented individuals who fit that description are likely to be most stellar at the social media marketing role, considering the fragmentation and rapid growth we are seeing in this space in particular.
The ROI pyramid
This slide was also one of my favorites because Owyang distills for us his understanding of calculating ROI and value added by social media, but separating that measurement and analysis by role, factoring in only the most relevant metrics and reporting for that level of the organization. I have provided "executive dashboards" for a long time, in which I choose to distill upward only those metrics that allow my executive leaders to best do their job, not weighing them down with the details. They need the big picture. From Jeremiah's recent blog post about the ROI Pyramid in corporate social strategy:
Often, our industry can appear complicated, and yearns for simplicity. One such technique to glean simplicity is to develop frameworks which the corporate social strategist can then apply to achieve their business goals.
More on "Corporate Entrepreneurship":
I found this article on corporate entrepreneurship, Cultivating Corporate Entrepreneurship by Lanny Herron, and thought I'd share with you the definition he gives:
"Entrepreneurs" are often thought of as persons who start new business ventures, yet most who study the concept come to view this definition as overly restrictive. Economists in particular have defined entrepreneurship in such diverse and general ways as: forming new combinations (Schumpeter, 1934); dealing with disequilibria (Schultz, 1975, 1980); and exercising opportunity awareness (Kirzner, 1985). A thorough study of the subject suggests that the essence of entrepreneurship resides in the reallocation or recombination of resources with intent to create value. ... The creation of value, however, involves both the recognition of an opportunity and the attendant reconfiguration of the resources necessary to achieve that value.
This view of entrepreneurship makes it abundantly clear that those who start new businesses and those who alter existing ones have much in common. Indeed, they are virtually identical in the broad classes of actions they must carry out to achieve their ends. Both must gather information, recognize opportunities, acquire a requisite level of control over resources, and formulate and implement methods for reconfiguring these resources.