Be smart. Be respectful. Be Human. — Corporate Social Media Summit Wrap-Up (2 of 4)

The title of this post is taken from Best Buy’s social media policy. When offered up at Useful Social Media’s Corporate Social Media Summit by the company’s Director and Social Media Leader, Gina Debogovich, it unleashed a flood of tweets and retweets.

While it may seem obvious, this phrase is a reminder that, as we advance our social media programs within corporate structures, we need avoid getting lost in processes and maintain our customer focus. The tools, techniques and platforms are means to helping us create better companies.

Yesterday, I summarized a few of this week’s presentations by companies at the forefront of social media innovation. Today, we’ll look at two more, with additional insights on part three of this series.

The danger of nothing

Tom Hoehn, Director of Interactive Marketing for Kodak, made the case for active, real time listening. “People are going to say things whether we are there or not,” he commented. He offered a case study about how a misunderstanding turned into a Twitter-wide attack on Kodak. Because the company was listening and provided a rapid, appropriate response, the crisis was quickly controlled with no long-term detriment.

“The worst thing anyone can say about your company is nothing,” Hoehn said. “As long as someone says something, you can respond and have a conversation.”

He observed, you need to speak in the language of your constituencies, whether they are B2B customers who may not communicate in the lexicon of Twitter or your own C-level executives. Hence, blogs continue to be at the heart of Kodak’s social media efforts.

“It’s incumbent upon us to show the value,” Hoehn observed, citing the worth of measurement tools to tie social to business value. He also noted that nascent Social CRM is going to be an increasingly important tool for companies in building their customer relationships. He recommended a white paper from the IBM Institute for Business Value as primer on the Social CRM.

Hoehn summed up Kodak’s social media process as, “Listen, engage, be real, measure, iterate.” The company offers a booklet on social media tips [PDF download] that all company departments will find accessible and valuable.

You can’t buy fans for life

Dell’s Head of Social Media and Corporate Reputation Management, Richard Binhammer, spoke of social media in a broad context. Traditionally, business and technology aimed to deliver efficient organization through specialization of labor. In contrast, markets have always been built around conversations, with businesses succeeding or failing based on word of mouth.

While markets may be conversations, conversations are not just markets. “People do not segment themselves the way businesses segment the markets,” observed Binhammer. And as they increasingly participate in networked markets, people are changing fundamentally.

The markets in which they participate are smarter, more informed and more organized — though not segmented in they ways businesses typically have perceived. “Control is not as successful as influence,” Binhammer said. “Companies that embrace this the fastest will win.”

Binhammer described a metaphorical “social radio,” to which employees, across all departments, tune in to what is relevant to their aspect of the company’s customer-centric activities. It spoke to both the need for appropriately distributing responsibility for social media across the enterprise and the unique nature of different social media channels.

Binhammer has made his presentation available on SlideShare.

Additional resources

Best Buy Social Media Policies

Databases of social media governance policies from: Compliance Building and Social Media Governance


Other posts in this series

Note that each has links to additional resources from presenters and participants.


Neil Glassman is principal marketing strategist at WhizBangPowWow, where he delivers malarky-free social, digital and linear media solutions. Join his conversation on Twitter or email Neil to talk about marketing or swap recipes.


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