Social Marketing: Are You "Doing" or "Being"?
Social Marketing is a customer-expectation more and more each day. Businesses are acknowledging the value SM brings but have taken differing paths implementing how they are getting there. Some are "doing" social while others are "being" social. Which are you?
Let's talk about how they differ...
"Doing" social is having a toe in the water. You may have a blog on your website and even set up Twitter & Facebook accounts. Only 1 or 2 people are involved and are likely in the marketing department. However, you may have hired someone to do this for you. It's a valiant effort and allows you to say you are "doing" social marketing.
On the other hand, "Being" social is including your entire company to engage customers. It includes the blog & social media presence but it also includes allowing your employees to participate in the process.
Let's look at a couple of businesses that are "being" social.
American Family Insurance has 8000 employees who are encouraged to participate in social media. They provide "listening" services - expanding the reach of the company to hear what is being said. They also can "amplify" message by sharing company-related information within their networks.
AFI has also created the HERO team - Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives. Team members come from marketing, customer service, sales and other areas of the company and engage customers on behalf of the company. Forrest Research's Josh Bernoff reflects "Embracing HEROs gets innovation coming from everywhere in the company.”
Source: Social Pro Files
Southwest Airlines has been in the social marketing space for a long time, at least in SM years (kind of like dog years :-). When they refreshed their blog, they increased their innovative employee-centric structure to improve internal and external engagement. They recruited a team of 30 employees from around the company in most departments and taught them how to be content providers. Armed with flip-cams and the smarts to know when to say something and when not to, these bloggers add content that is fresh and customer-focused on a regular basis. Talk about a customer engagement opportunity!
Check out the Nuts About Southwest blog.
Is it wrong to be "doing" social? No. But IMHO it will eventually lead to struggle. For me it boils down to saying something for yourself or letting someone say it for you. And eventually will likely lead to market shifts as the increasingly saavy customer moves their business from those "doing" social to companies that embrace "being" social.