Social Media World Forum – Day 2 feedback

I was meaning to publish this post on Friday but was distracted by events in Cape Town – which may have been a blessing in disguise as I have been able to reflect on Day 2 of the programme.

The programme on Thursday was packed with case studies from companies like Nike, Deloitte, JSE, Groupon and Associated Magazines to name a few.

It was interesting to see how each business had essentially reached the conclusion that any social media initiative cannot be done in isolation but should be integrated into all business functions from marketing to research to sales to customer support.

This is the course of wisdom.

Edelman’s CEO Richard Edelman is credited with what is called “The Media Cloverleaf” which highlights four distinct spheres of media which should all be utilized by a business or brand to engage the public on a regular basis.

Steve Rubel EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman described these as follows at a Mashable Connect event recently:

  • Traditional media encompasses the big media companies that have “survived and thrived.” This includes radio, TV and print media outlets.
  • “Tradigital” media includes “digitally native media companies that are largely blogs, sometimes niche-focused, sometimes horizontal.” These outlets are characterized by having high social amplification, SEO sophistication and sometimes a blur between advertising and editorial.
  • Owned media was defined by Rubel via a quote from Andy Heyward, former President of CBS News: “Every company can be a media company.” This is the idea that every brand can create valuable content.
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are driving increased engagement with brands and increased traffic to the other media spheres.

For me the presentations on Day 2 highlighted that unless businesses look at the big picture (ie how this relates to everything else the organization is doing) when integrating social media then dealing with the business can feel incongruent. As Steve Rubel pointed out “Consumers see these media channels as one, not as four distinct areas.”

Kemi Benjamin Brand Manager of Nike (pictured here below with us) also explored the concept of outsourcing social media and explained that outsourcing often impacts the speed of response and the ability to translate insights from social media into business insights which is why Nike has their social media “leaf” in house.

To me Day 2 could be summed up with: 1) consider the “cloverleaf” when integrating social media into daily business functions to ensure that the story you tell is congruent. 2) ensure engagement on social platforms leads to insights that help you evolve your business. The closer this engagement is to the people in your business that make those kinds of decisions the easier it will be to use the insights to make the necessary changes and 3) “superficial” use of social media is not an option

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