Be Human: Takeaways from Chicago’s Social Media Strategies Summit

Read the original post, published on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog on April 26, 2013.

To build a connected brand, be human with your social media marketing. That’s the main takeaway from the April 23-24 Social Media Strategies Summit, which featured content on how social media is changing the world and how marketers can capitalize on those changes to build better brands.

Being human means connecting with your audience at their level, in the spaces in which they are participating, and in the matter they are participating. Shouting your marketing message from the rooftops is not going to fly in social media. “Ditch the pitch,” stated Maya Grinberg, chief evangelist and social media manager of Wildfire, a Division of Google. The social community – what Maya called Generation C – is creating, curating, connecting, and communicating content more than ever, and they want to be addressed in a way that allows them to continue doing so naturally. Ditching the pitch means the engagement level with your content will go up, improving your brand awareness, trust, and, ultimately, sales.

Ed Brill, director of product management of IBM Social Solutions, built on the idea of being human as well in his session Opting In: Lessons in Social Business, An IBM Case Study. Brill stated that, in order to be considered a social business, a brand needs to engage with its customers on a human level – but also be transparent and agile while optimizing interactions between these customers to gain a competitive advantage above others in your industry.

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How Walmart Builds a Social Media Strategy to Support Reputation Management

Read the original post on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog, published April 24, 2013.

Without data to analyze and drive your social strategy, you’re just talking to a wall. That’s the main lesson from a keynote delivered on April 23 by Walmart’s Director of Social Media, Umang Shah, at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago.

I was intrigued by Shah’s keynote the moment I saw its title, Building a Social Media Strategy to Support Reputation Management. I know Walmart has a lot of friends but also critics. So I was curious to see how Walmart’s social media strategy addressed its online brand reputation issues. However, rather than focusing on the nitty-gritty of managing negative sentiment for the brand, Shah discussed how he built a strong social media strategy for Walmart that helps provide information and engage with customers in real time.

Shah discussed how, when coming into the company to manage its social media department, he wanted to help spread the word around the “Live Better” part of Walmart’s slogan. Walmart, while being perceived as an “evil empire” (in his words) by some, does a lot of good for its communities and the world, for example providing 2,450 truckloads of supplies to Hurricane Katrina victims and donating more than $2 billion to end world hunger. Shah felt that the company should share its good works and tout its achievements.


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