Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending one of NTEN's "Ask the Expert" calls and chats with Wendy Harman who is the professional listener for the Red Cross. She has a social media elevator pitch just in case she runs into one of the senior managers. It goes something like this: "I'm the social media lady who builds relationships with our stakeholders online."
I bet she also extends that pitch to include the phrase "that results in increased goodwill, improves our reputation, and donations."
As Jeremiah Owyang noted in a post the other day, measurement of social media is key because when marketing dollars are stretched, marketers are under pressure to prove their programs. With social media being largely experimental, it is imperative to measure quickly and make real time course corrections and to figure out what is working. This underscores the importance of listen, learn, and adapt.
But when you're just starting out, organizational culture can get in the way of embracing social media. Wendy Harman shared some insights that Wendy shared parallel
what has worked in the corporate sector. (See this IBM Social Media/Corporate Culture Case Study). What's important is a social media policy
A couple of takeaways from Wendy:
- First thing every morning, she spends a couple of hours listening - reviewing hundreds of mentions that have been captured in their monitoring radar using a variety of free and professional tools, including Radian 6. Wendy estimates it's about 1/4 of her time presently. I suspect it took more of time in the beginning as she developed her work flow and got over the learning curve - and of course was able to upgrade her tool set.
- Senior management is not turned off by the term listening. She often writes social media manifestos, filled with examples, pros/cons, and shows tangible, measurable results from their social media strategy.
- She has a social media elevator pitch in case she encounters one of the senior people at the organization in the elevator: "I'm the social media lady who builds relationships with our community online." Perhaps she extends that to include "that results in increased goodwill, improves our reputation, and donations."
- She and the others on staff are no longer afraid of negative comments or posts. "The opposite of hate is indifference, if someone bothers to post a negative comment it means they care." She was also pleasantly surprised about how much was positive. Negative comments are an opportunity to educate and improve what they are doing. "It is about being polite and honest."
- Wendy balances her personal/organizational social media profiles. When she uses her personal social networking or twitter account, her rule is not to say anything that would embarrass her mother.
- Challenges include dealing with the tidal wave of information that they have to analyze and manage. One of the values of a professional tool is that it saves a lot of time in the work flow. Focusing on the how to represent learning in a visual way. Laura Lee Dooley shared this example (bookmarked posts of people talking about her organization fed into Wordle)
- Their community now knows that they are listening and the conversation has changed from talking to how we help you.
- They have an extensive social media participation policy that has helped spur adoption internally.
I live tweeted the chat and one of my followers offered the above takeaway about listening.
What's your social media elevator pitch? How would you explain a in few minutes to your executive directory the value and benefits of social media that are tangible? Now, think about your measurement system so you can gather that data quickly and make adjustments.
Update: Brad Rourke has some terrific notes