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Business - Written by on Monday, November 3, 2008 16:00 - 0 Comments

Denis Hancock
Big Brand Social Media Interview

How big, well known brands can best leverage social media is a hot topic right now. A couple of weeks ago the TopRankBlog posted a very interesting interview with representatives from Wells Fargo (Tim Collins, SVP of Experiential Marketing), UPS (Debbie Curtis-Magley, Public Relations Manager), Graco (Lindsay Lebresco, Social Media ManageR), and Home Depot (Nick Ayres, Interactive Marketing Manager). If you click on the link, you’ll find each of their responses to the following questions (with some of my favorite responses below):

Please define “social media”

Tim Collins: Social media is media that anyone can participate in.  Not just as a consumer, but also as a creator.

What arguments or business case justifications have you found to be the most effective for investing time, people and other resources into social media engagement?

Debbie Curtis-Magley: As a communications function, we look at social media’s ability to extend and amplify the reach of our messages. Ultimately, the communications tactics we use need to demonstrate contributions to our business goals. We also share examples from other companies’ success with social media to show how it can be effectively used.

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?

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.

What strategies do you use to measure the effectiveness of social media?  What metrics make the most impact upstream (C-level) in your organization?

Debbie Curtis-Magley: One example that I can share is our launch of UPS Delivery Intercept in 2007. To complement our media outreach, we used MySpace and YouTube to promote the service. Delivery Intercept has exceeded its revenue plan. During the first 12 months that the service was offered, UPS received well over 1 million requests from more than 165,000 distinct customers for this fee-based service.  In a company that is highly focused on numbers, usage continues to run significantly above plan.

Do you outsource any social media work and if so, do you have tips for other large company social media marketers for finding and managing consultants?

Nick Ayres: We’ve used a few agencies for different things, but we do keep a lot in-house. That being said, everybody is pitching “social media” these days, whether they have any experience in the space or not so mostly definitely do your homework. In today’s times, it’s really not hard or time-consuming to do. Ask for case studies, talk to their current clients, search out the blogosphere around campaigns an agency currently has in the market, and see what the agency is doing with social media on its own behalf.

Bonus question:  Please share 3-4 resources for staying on top of social media marketing trends and tactics.

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