Social Media Integration Is Moving Beyond Calling “Shotgun”


There is a game my brother and I used to play when we were kids – and my guess is that you played it too. It had its own set of rules that we all knew, and they were irrefutable. Get within visible distance of your car, and then the first person among the passengers to call “shotgun” would sit in the front seat. Everyone else would battle to avoid the middle back seat. It’s a silly game, but it explains a lot about how social media evolved in many corporations as well. The person or team who called “shotgun” with social media was first to the game. They established tools like a corporate Twitter account on behalf of a brand, and started interacting in some way.

As the importance and usage of social media grew – they maintained control. So some brands, like Comcast, led with customer service and used social media to reinvent how they serviced customer needs. Other brands, like Doritos saw an opportunity in co-creation and user generated content and took an advertising-centric approach to social media. Regardless of which group led the effort – in almost any company you looked at, one silo held the keys to the social media kingdom. Today those days are over for three simple reasons:

  1. Consumers are influenced by social media in every aspect of their interaction with brands, so the siloed approach doesn’t work.
  2. Tools are growing more mainstream and sophisticated, allowing enterprises to deploy them and measure results more seamlessly.
  3. Pioneering brands are creating internal networks (such as “centers of excellence”) to distribute social expertise widely.

So what does this brave new integrated world look like – and who will take the lead? It is a tough question to answer, because there isn’t a single right answer. Does marketing have a role to play in leading how various social media platforms are used to engage customers?  Of course. Are people turning to social media for customer service in an increasing way? Absolutely. So how can a brand interested in finding and implementing an integrated approach to social media across multiple teams, products and geographies really make it happen in a practical way?

Here are five suggestions for how to strategically make it happen:

1. Embrace your accidental spokespeople.
There are always individuals within any organization who are pioneers when it comes to using social media. Sometimes they are doing it on behalf of the company, sometimes on behalf of their own passion. Either way, you need to find a smart internal way to identify them, and then bring them together to embrace their passions for content creation.

2. Uncover what people really want.
Sometimes consumer needs do breakdown by channel. Your customer, for example, may want to be entertained and see something shareable on YouTube, but when it comes to Twitter they just want to be able to get their questions answered. Understanding the usage patterns for various forms of social media among your audience will help you deliver the right experience from each platform you use (and avoid spending lots of time on highly hyped platforms which may not have much value for you at all.

3. Let multiple voices emerge.

Social media does not require a single spokesperson who does all the talking on behalf of your brand. In fact, one of the unique benefits of social media is that it can offer a way for you to scale your employees voices while still keeping it within the same brand umbrella and pointing value back to the brand.

4. Share a common goal for metrics.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to integrating social media across an enterprise is when you have opposing goals. You can’t focus on inspiring innovation and generating sales at the same time. The more prioritization across multiple divisions you can do – and separate things when needed – the better off you’ll be.

5. Build a content strategy alongside an conversation strategy. 

Often brands will focus on engagement but forget about the necessity for creating compelling content … or vice versa. Conversation is only one endgame to build an integrated social media strategy around. The main goal is to engage your customers and give them conversations ONLY when they want them. Content and conversation are not always the same thing.

Olympic WOM Lessons from the World’s Largest Event


Originally posted on WOMMA’s All Things WOMM blog.

The global spectacle of the Olympics just ended this weekend, and more than a sporting event it offered a marketing showcase of strategies from dozens of marketers all trying to accomplish the impossible and stand out in a crowded media environment. Whether they were official sponsors, or using some form of ambush marketing – nearly every trick in the book came out during the two weeks of the Games in desperate attempts to capture the spotlight.

Throughout the Games I decided to collect and critique all the marketing we were seeing through a Pinterest board. The often misunderstood platform gave me the ability to update my collection of images and videos showcasing Olympic marketing in real time throughout the Games. It also became a living blog post. Along the way, a few WOM-worthy lessons emerged from the marketers who did manage to stand out. Here are the top five lessons from Olympic marketing that may help you not only stand out at the world’s most crowded and largest sporting event … but also on a daily basis anywhere in the world.

Be the countertrend (Nike) – Every trend has a countertrend. It’s the ultimate way that the world hedges its bets and people rebel against the norm. At the Olympics, that norm is showing successful athletes and sharing the many ways that a brand supports them. The counter trend is to avoid talking about the Olympic athletes at all. This also, by the way, happens to be the only way to do an ambush marketing strategy, since you’re not allowed to talk about the athletes anyway. Nike’s brilliant “London” campaign featuring athletes from cities named London across the world was the perfect ambush marketing tactic to take the attention away from the Olympics and put it on real people.

Focus on timing (Vodafone) – The most popular method for visitors to London to head into the city is the ultra-convenient Heathrow Express train that takes 15 minutes to get to Central London. Anyone boarding that train during the Games would have been offered a brochure from Vodafone that contained information about international calling and a free SIM card with 60 minutes of calling pre-loaded on it. For the many travelers planning to purchase a short term SIM card while in London, not only did this offer make their lives easier, but it locked them into using a Vodafone account for their entire trip … proving sometimes a great WOM idea can lead to direct sales too.

Live your personality (Innocent Drinks) – Though many people outside the UK may not be familiar with Innocent Drinks, they are a beloved smoothie and fruit juice brand with tons of loyal evangelists. The brand itself is quirky, irreverent, and always real. For the Olympics, they were the “official smoothie” with many traveling smoothie carts covered in fake grass and offering one of the few healthy food options within Olympic venues. Beyond London, their Facebook page was a daily source of inspiring images, funny infographics, and share-worthy quotes. The end result was engagement with the product for those in London, and even higher engagement with the brand for anyone anywhere else in the world.

Lead with emotion (P&G) – There is little debate that P&G should probably take the gold for marketing across the Olympics with their powerful “Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign. Aside from the brilliantly emotional advertising, they created an actual house at the Olympics to welcome Moms, brought the ads to life through real interviews with Olympic athlete’s Moms and demonstrated that when a brand stands for something bigger than products … people come along for the ride and can’t help talking about it.

Be unexpected (British Airways) – Telling people not to fly and to stay home may be the most unexpected thing that an airline could ever do, but British Airways managed to make it work with their “Don’t Fly” campaign that had their industry and people talking in Britain. Promoting all the positives of having a “home advantage,” the campaign aimed to get Londoners (and more broadly people across Britain) to stay home, enjoy the Olympics, and cheer for the home team. Consistent messaging, a Twitter hashtag (#homeadvantage) and creative ideas like painting huge national messages onto grass along the flight path to Heathrow kept people talking.