TopRank Interviews Big Name Social Media Executives

TopRank has posted a fantastic interview with several big brand social media executives — Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, UPS, and Graco.  All of them are members of the Blog Council and speaking at BlogWell next week.

Here’s an excerpt:

TopRank: How do you decide whether to blog vs setup social networking profiles vs Twitter vs image and video sharing or other social media tactics? What’s your decision making process when it comes to testing and implementing social media engagement efforts with specific tactics?

Tim Collins: It all starts and ends with the business objective and the audience we’re trying to reach.  That’s what drives the tactics, as well as measurement of success.

Lindsay Lebresco: Most people using social media will tell you that the first thing you need to do when making decisions regarding the use of these tactics is to listen.  Listening to what your consumers have to say will inform your business strategy in this space and your strategy can then be achieved through the use of specific tactics. So listen first then create a strategy and then apply tactics that can help achieve your business goals.  Because social media is so new and much of what our brand is doing is, in a sense, experimental, we have to be prepared to be flexible.  Although a strategy is always put in place when trying something new, we are always prepared to adjust, dig in or pull out whenever necessary. It’s important to [be willing] to recognize when adjustments are needed and take action accordingly – if you don’t do it yourself, then your consumers will be happy to do that for you.

Debbie Curtis-Magley: For all tactics – whether social media or traditional communications – we look at its ability to support our communications and business objectives. One of the advantages of social media is that it offers new ways to connect with the media, customers and employees. It also broadens your ability to measure the effectiveness of your efforts, such as the volume and tonality of discussions that your communications attract.

Nick Ayres: It sounds a bit like strategy and marketing 101, but you really have to start with who your customers are and what their expectations and desires are from you in the space. Based on what you learn, you can much more easily lay out your objectives, strategies and tactics to meet those wants and needs. If you aren’t already doing so, one of the first things you need to do before even thinking about a tactic is to just start listening to what’s already being said about you. Whether it’s on blogs or on Twitter or in existing online communities – wherever your customers are already talking about your brand – you can learn a lot by just paying attention to what’s already being said. I’m a big fan of approaches like Forrester’s POST methodology, or frankly any method that starts with customers and their expectations, and works towards technology, versus the other way around.

For us, if you look at what we’ve done with Twitter or with our video syndication efforts (posting our how-to videos on YouTube and other video sites) we’ve had the most success when we’ve approached the spaces from that direction rather than a “hey this is cool so let’s do it” mindset.

Run (do not walk) to read the interview in its entirety.

Disclosure: TopRank is an official sponsor of BlogWell.

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