Managing Marketing: The importance of social media making the CEO the public face of business

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Suzie Shaw , CEO, We Are Social Australia explores with Darren the role of social media in business today and why the CEO should be taking the lead here representing the public face of the organisation through social media. It challenges the conventional gap between marketing and corporate affairs as they tussle for control of reputation management.

Suzie Shaw

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and this week I’m joined by Suzie Shaw, CEO of We Are Social, welcome Suzie.

Suzie:

Thank you Darren.

Darren:

Suzie, you wrote a terrific article for the blog about CEOs of organisations being the public face of companies and we’ve had such great interest in that article, there’s been a lot of social sharing, a lot of readership, why do you think it’s such an interesting topic for people?

The impact of social media

Suzie:

Well firstly it’s great to hear that it has been well read, because I think it’s something that people should be engaging with, I think CEOs should be engaging in social and I think people who are responsible for the reputation of an organisation should be engaging.

So, I’m pleased to hear that it’s pricking up people’s ears. The reason I think people are engaging in it is because, generally, social media is having a big impact on the world, not just the world of marketing, but I think every individual knows themselves how much social media they’re consuming.

So, I think people are becoming aware of how important it’s becoming simply from a reach and awareness perspective and for that reason I think CEOs are tuning in. They also know how influential it can be, social media is becoming the biggest publisher that we have globally.

Facebook’s becoming the new network and publishers like The Guardian or The Australian, they’re actually having to pay money to Facebook simply to distribute their content and so it’s simply becoming more and more influential and I think for that reason people are sitting up and paying attention to it.

Darren:

I think one of the powers of social media is in the name itself and that’s the social part. I mean, it’s such a powerful way of connecting and sharing information among people you either know or respect or want to follow isn’t it?

Suzie:

Absolutely, I really think about social as word of mouth. Word of mouth has always been powerful but what social has done is supercharged it because it has created a marketplace, a really efficient marketplace for amplifying word of mouth.

So, people can go there and have conversations that will be overheard by big groups of people and the brilliant thing is that social enables you to target those conversations to the audiences that you want to hear them and so it’s just created this really super market place for having those overheard conversations.

Darren:

It’s interesting because not all social networks are the same are they?

Suzie:

No.

Darren:

I mean, I have noticed journalists especially are very big on Twitter.

Suzie:

Yep.

Darren:

More about finding out what’s going on than necessarily sharing their stories. But then Facebook is different again and what else is there? LinkedIn for business and, uh, Snapchat seems to be on the rise as well.

Suzie:

Absolutely. Yeah, all the social networks are different. I think that social is maturing, so I think it would be tough to start a big, successful social network today because some of the social networks that exist already have captured such a strong hold on the market that there is a limit to how much attention consumers have so they can’t be taking on too many more platforms.

But those that have emerged and have become strong, have done so because they offer something really powerful to both consumers who want to spend their precious time consuming content on their social networks and to advertisers and brands who want to reach those audiences.

So, there is more momentum in some of these social media businesses than there is in any mainstream, traditional publishers because they’ve captured an audience, that audience is spending a lot of time in these platforms and they have created functionality that enables a level of sophistication around targeting that’s really, really impressive.

Darren:

Social media is such a powerful way of communicating and I think we’re both examples of people that use it both professionally and personally.

But I was reading an article in Fortune Magazine and, they looked at the Fortune 500 in the U.S. and only a handful of CEOs, even in the U.S. – which is sort of social media mad compared to say a market like Australia – are using social media in a professional sense, in the way that you were extolling in the article that you wrote.

Suzie:

Yeah, yeah it’s interesting.

The troubles CEOs have with social

Darren:

Why do you think that is? Why does it seem that CEOs especially, not just in Australia, but everywhere, seem to have trouble understanding the role it has or the benefit it has?

Suzie:

I think there are a few reasons. Number one, they’re most likely digital migrants rather than digital natives, so it’s not, potentially, a natural thing for them and they might not be as heavy users of social media as some of the younger people in an organisation for one.

So they might not be as confident. They might not have recognised, personally, the value of it yet. For two, I think there’s some anxiety around doing the wrong thing.

Whether it be CEOs or public figures in organisations, there’s two sort of really salient examples. One is those that are really impressive, have a really strong social profile, seem to be witty, have great content, live exciting lives and then there’s the second where it goes horribly wrong and they’re the two things that spring to people’s minds.

Darren:

So, the celebrity CEO and then the dufus.

Suzie:

Yes. You might put Donald Trump in that camp. But, that’s where I think there’s some anxiety about whether they might be able to live up to the celebrity CEO status or whether they might fall into the camp of the dufus.

They’re both things to think through to make sure you can achieve your objectives, but there are real benefits to using social for a CEO, primarily around building profile, it helps many organisations to have a high profile CEO but it’s also about building trust.

Darren:

Yeah, because you get to know the individual. But one of the things, I belonged to a CEO institute, council I think it was called and talking to CEOs of even medium-sized companies, they were really hesitant about what they saw as a loss of privacy which just blew me away.

They said, “oh, social media, you’re putting everything out there” and they couldn’t get their head around this concept of curating your messages for social media. They seemed to think it was like Facebook and you had to put the photos of you getting drunk on the weekend on your second bottle of Bordeaux or something.

Why do you think that is their attitude? Is that the not being digital natives thing?

Suzie:

It could be. I mean in some ways it’s a little bit egotistical, to think that everyone cares about you, you know watching you get drunk. But I think the reality is we would advise any corporation or individual that you need to have a strategy and you need to be clear about why are you using social.

This goes for the individual and people do this, even if it’s unknowingly, but you need to have a strategy. Why am I doing this? And then you need to think about well what am I, what am I trying to portray, what’s the brand of me I’m trying to portray, how am I trying to position myself?

And as part of that, what’s the strategy? What do I talk about? What do I show? Who am I spending time with? And, if you have a selection of platforms that you use, you might decide well, you know, Facebook’s my platform for communicating and sharing with my friends whereas LinkedIn is my professional platform.

It’s not the case that everything needs to be open and everything needs to be public or that you use every platform in the same way and I think most savvy, social users will have figured that out but some people probably just need a bit of education about how you can set some privacy settings, or make sure you’ve got a focused strategy around which channel you use for what reason.

Where should a CEO start?

Darren:

So as part of the work that We Are Social does obviously there is a component of that of working with organisations and also their CEOs.

Where would you suggest a CEO start if they were going to look at having a social media presence that fits with their business strategy?

Suzie:

Yeah, so you would start by developing a strategy in the same way you would for any sort of communications, you would say, why am doing this? What are the objectives? You would say who’s my audience? Who am I trying to reach?

Go about the process of figuring out in that case, what’s the best platform and how do I reach that audience? And I think where we talked before about the anxiety around saying the wrong thing, the reality is, the biggest risk for any CEO is that they don’t capture an audience.

You’ve got to think about how do I create content or say things that are interesting? And how do I outreach and make sure that I do build up an audience?

Darren:

I swear a CEO that I know, the first tweet they did was “this is a test, is anybody listening?” and then they gave up because no one responded. I think they thought it was email actually.

Suzie:

Yeah, yeah well some people do think of Facebook as email and you do have to understand the platforms. That’s the important thing, thinking about how you build up that audience and most often you get success by engaging with the audience that you’re going after.

Plus, it’s a reciprocal thing, if you follow, they follow. So, that growth strategy is very important to make sure you’re reaching the right people and identifying who are the influencers? And who do you want to be re-tweeting your messages or following you?

Darren:

One of the things we’ve noticed recently and sort of moving on from the CEO, is organisations are now talking a lot to us about bringing social media management in-house.

There seems to be a real demarcation dispute between marketing and corporate affairs or corporate strategy. Have you got a point of view on that because I know that it’s one of those issues because corporate affairs are targeting shareholders and institutional investors and marketing is targeting consumers and customers and so they’ve got different groups.

How do you bring those two together?

Communicating to different groups

Suzie:

It’s a really good question because social can have a role in the whole spectrum of communications within an organisation. We see businesses that want to use social for targeting consumers, as a customer service channel or targeting a corporate audience, for their corporate reputation or even employee engagement.

So, it’s right that lots of people in the organisation have a right to use it as a channel and I can see why there’s sometimes a battle for control of those channels. But I think an organisation needs to go through the process of developing the strategy so that you are segmenting your audience and using the right channels to target the right people and then figuring out a collaborative and productive way of working together to make sure that the channels make sense.

If someone follows you, let’s say on Facebook, they need to know what they’re there for. Are they there to hear, you know, a corporate party line or are they there to engage with the brand? And if the two things need to happen you probably need separate channels because otherwise you’re going to give a schizophrenic view of that brand potentially.

It needs coordination.

Darren:

So if I’m a CEO in an organisation and I’m thinking of using social media, I would then need to consider what my strategy was as to where I would go within the organisation to develop that strategy. Because if my strategy is to talk to investors and shareholders, that’s going to be a very different strategy to talking to customers.

Suzie:

Absolutely. Absolutely and I think when we talk about the CEOs using social to build up their profile and to help compliment the reputation of the organisation, it probably is a corporate comms task rather than a brand and marketing task.

So yes, it is important to think about who is best being responsible for that and it all comes down to defining the objectives.

Darren:

But often a CEO will find themselves sort of torn between the two and I think we’ve seen some great examples in the last 5, 6 years where the CEO is giving what looks like good news to investors, “we’re cutting costs, we’re laying off staff and we’re doing all that to get costs down” and at the same time, the consumer customer is hearing less service, you know, poorer quality, less investment in me.

Suzie:

Absolutely. That’s why it requires coordination because if you’re going out on social to deliver news or have a conversation with a particular constituency, you have to recognise that it could be overheard and that needs to be given consideration.

But, you know, the same is true of let’s say PR. The benefit of building up a social following is you are in control of when you go to market with a message and what that message is.

How it’s received, you can’t control and that’s the same as PR and also, you need to be prepared to respond if people want to engage with you on that issue. In contrast to if you are only relying on PR to get your message out, you’re then beholden to the media to determine when you can speak and what you can speak about and how that message will be reported.

So at least with social you can have a bit more control but at the same time you have to be prepared to engage.

Darren:

Well the journalists are there on Twitter waiting for everything that they can pounce on and turn into a story.

Suzie:

Absolutely.

Darren:

So they’re still there and also since the 80’s when there was this big shift to getting Mums and Dads with Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Qantas and the like, a lot of shareholders today are also consumers.

Suzie:

Absolutely.

Darren:

So, this idea that you could segment them anyway is ridiculous, whether you’re using PR, if something runs in the business pages of The Australian, The Fin Review or even The Daily Telegraph, it’s going to be read by everyone the same as social media, you can’t really segment social media.

You can target people that you want to connect with, but you could be connected by a lot of people, especially on Twitter.

Suzie:

Absolutely. You certainly need to be cognisant of the fact that you have to have a holistic view of your comms. You have to expect that if you go out there with one message in any channel it could be heard and interpreted by another audience in a way that you don’t necessarily want it to be.

You just have to have a more holistic view of your messaging and take into consideration a number of audiences when you land a message.

Understanding the various social platforms

Darren:

Beyond Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn there’s also all these other social media channels and platforms that are popping up. Pinterest was hot for a while, Tumblr for social blogging and Snapchat. Snapchat seems to be getting a lot of coverage for marketers.

Suzie:

Oh yeah. Snapchat’s going wild, it’s seeing a level of growth and momentum that probably none of the other social media platforms had in their relative stage of development. Incredibly, it’s got very high penetration and high daily usage amongst young teens and young adults which is obviously a very hot audience for many brands and marketers, and I think that audience have a great deal of affinity for that platform.

What it does, it does very well and I think it’s a bit of an enigma to a lot of brands at the moment. They can see that audiences are using it really heavily but they’re not quite sure how they’re gonna get in there with their advertising messages.

So, people are eager to get involved, but it’s, as yet, a bit of an untested channel from an advertising perspective but watch this space, it will happen.

I think the other thing about Snapchat is one of my favourite follows is The White House on Snapchat and I think it’s a really good example of the opportunity that exists for people like CEOs, where it’s giving a behind the scenes view of The White House and helps to humanise it.

It helps to make it feel transparent and helps to make you feel close to what’s going on within the government and I think it’s a really good example of what’s possible for corporations with social media. But yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity there with Snapchat and lots of the other channels. You know Pinterest is certainly not dead.

Darren:

No and then we’ve got Periscope and a stack of live video streaming applications as well and they would all be included as part of social media wouldn’t they?

Suzie:

Absolutely. I mean, live, I think is the next big innovation in social, but as yet I think it’s an innovation without having yet found its perfect application. I think in the next year or two we will see a huge growth in the use of live to open doors to consumers whether that be through events or corporations just wanting to enable consumers to see and hear about what’s going on, behind the scenes and really open things up for consumers.

Darren:

One of the things to make it work is we’re going to have to get rid of time zones. I’m sick of waking up in the morning and looking at Facebook and seeing Harvard Business Review and someone else had a live session at 3am and I missed it. I click on it and it just sits there waiting to load the pre-recorded video.

Suzie:

Yeah, it’s not helpful when you’re in Australia. Saying that, one of the brilliant things about most of those live technologies is that you can usually record it and then keep that video for later so people who are in Australia and have missed the Harvard Business Review live stream should be able to watch it back.

Darren:

Oh you can, it just lacks the interactive component where you see other people interacting with it and you feel like you’re having less of an experience.

Suzie:

It’s a less engaging experience. That is the brilliance of live is that it drives very high volumes of engagement. What people seek today is experiences and these shareable experiences that you can talk about and watching a video is not really a shareable experience whereas “I engaged with Cheryl Samberg” is probably something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Darren:

Going back to Snapchat, one of the other things is the immediacy of it isn’t it? Because the content doesn’t stay there forever.

Suzie:

No, no.

Darren:

So that’s quite an interesting way of thinking because most other social media, as you say, will create the content and then stick it in some sort of timeline be it Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook that you can go back to and refer to over and over again.

Do you think it’s part of that “in the moment” that makes it so popular?

Suzie:

Absolutely. I think that’s what teens and young people are loving about Snapchat is it’s diverting everything else that’s become the norm in social media and about trying to project a perfect life.

Snapchat doesn’t require you to project a perfect life because it doesn’t need to be orchestrated and it’s very natural and casual and what’s really going on in my life but it’s not leaving a digital footprint so there’s no pressure. No pressure to get likes or friends or whatever it’s all just about communication and an exchange of moments with people.

Darren:

That’s one I missed. Instagram.

Suzie:

Yeah.

Darren:

Instagram, obviously because of the platform a very visual medium and yet a lot of brands don’t necessarily think visually to use it do they? Or do they?

Suzie:

The brands that succeed are visual because they’ve got a visual product or they’ve managed to create a visual language around the brand that it is a table stake for Instagram. That is the content that does well but, you know, it’s surprising how many brands are doing very well on Instagram because they’ve adopted really good strategies.

Darren:

They recently changed their logo and there was all this outcry, I mean it looks a bit pithy compared to the one that they had but do you think changing the logo makes a big difference?

Suzie:

It got noticed, it got attention, I think generally the world doesn’t love change so the fact that they changed in itself was a story. It’s not an old company so the logo wasn’t that old. I don’t think anyone was expecting it. But I do think it modernises the brand and the business because the logo was obviously quite retro in style previously.

Darren:

Yep.

Suzie:

For me jury’s out. I still feel a lot of love for the old logo and I miss that a little bit.

Darren:

It just simply is a PR piece that seemed to be very successful because for a week there was so many stories about, “oohh they’ve changed the logo, they’ve changed the logo”. And in some ways, if you are a CEO of a company, you would love that sort of interest or buying in  to your brand that changing the logo would have such a big impact.

Suzie:

Absolutely. I mean, that’s the point right?

I think people care so much about these platforms because number one, it’s probably something that we look at every day and is probably on most people’s home screen of their smartphone.

Number two, they’re probably engaging every day and that’s why they care because you’ve changed my window into my special world that I want to enter every day. And you’re right, many brands could learn a lot from the way social media platforms position themselves and engage audiences because they’ve created a lot of love for what they do.

Chinese platforms: built on top of Ecommerce

Darren:

Have you seen much use of the Chinese social media app WeChat at all in this market?

Suzie:

Not a lot in this market but it is a question that’s coming up to us more frequently, both WeChat and Weibo. So many brands are saying there’s a growing base of Chinese people living in Australia and we’d like to find ways to target them.

It is challenging because you really need to speak in their native language on those channels and also being China, it’s quite restrictive in terms of what you can promote on the channel. So, I think there’s a growing interest in it, but I don’t know how many brands have been successful in doing it.

Darren:

One of the things that amazes me is that here’s the Chinese, they have taken a social media platform, because WeChat it’s a combination, there’s some micro blogging like Twitter, there’s messaging, there’s a little bit of Facebook with the timeline or moments I think they call it and then they’ve built the whole thing on top of an Ecommerce platform.

That seems to me such an amazing idea because when you think of all of the other social media platforms, no one else has built a social media platform on top of an Ecommerce platform have they? There’s no one else doing it.

Suzie:

No but there has been quite a lot of talk about Facebook integrating a booking capability into the App so I think if it happens, Facebook will probably get there first. But you’re right, WeChat is a very impressive platform. It has got a stranglehold on a massive market.

Darren:

I think it’s 600 million Chinese are using it on a daily basis and you can pay for taxis, and book restaurants and pay all sorts of things. It’s like having Apple Pay on Facebook with a bit of Twitter, it’s all in one App.

Suzie:

Yeah. I would say Facebook will develop in that way.

Darren:

It’s a certainty, Facebook’s a powerful and dominant player in the market.

Suzie:

Absolutely.

Darren:

Everyone else is trying to knock them off.

Suzie:

Well, I mean, I don’t know if anyone could even begin to think about it, oh you mean knock them off like imitate them?

Darren:

Yeah.

Facebook and LinkedIn

Suzie:

Well, yeah, yes and no. I think Facebook, one of the things that’s challenging for all of the other platforms is that Facebook seemed very fast with innovation so in many ways, anyone that does come up with good innovation, Facebook are quite quick to copy that so they are almost making redundant any new and interesting emerging platforms.

Like, they’ve launched Masquerade. One of the best things about Snapchat is of course the filters and so on and Facebook have been very quick to bring on innovation and technology that almost mimics that functionality.

So I think Facebook are very fast and nimble when it comes to innovation and a lot of the time bringing out functionality that you’re not quite sure why you need it or want it but I guess that’s their strategy.

They develop a lot of MPD’s and some things fly and some things don’t because all of the testing and learning inside of a lab won’t necessarily tell you what’s going to fly with an audience or what’s going to fly with an audience today versus whether, you know, it’ll take off in a year’s time.

So, I think that their strategy is good and impressive. They obviously invest a lot in making their platform better and better all the time and I think for that reason they’re pretty hard to beat.

Darren:

And poor old Google, there was Google Plus which is sort of just hanging in there because it seems to add to the algorithm, the search algorithm, but they really haven’t been able to crack social media have they?

Suzie:

Google Plus has not been a success but I wouldn’t say “poor old Google”, I think they’re doing really, really well.

Darren:

In the social media space, not necessarily in search and all those things.

Suzie:

Absolutely, but search is one of the most powerful marketing methods that exists and they do it incredibly well, it’s just getting better and better all the time and I think it’s becoming, if you do nothing else, it’s almost the number one tool for any business.

Darren:

LinkedIn’s gone through a huge amount of change and some people are saying not so good but it’s still the only business social media platform isn’t it?

Suzie:

Yes. I think they’ve been very effective. They were probably a slower build platform but they’ve been very effective at capturing the right audience, a committed audience and subsequently a pretty expensive platform to advertise on because they can guarantee you will reach the right audience.

If you’re targeting a professional audience you can be sure that you’ll get them there and it’s got really good content on there so people enjoy spending time there and they don’t have to create that content so it’s a very strong platform for that reason.

Darren:

Though, the criticism that I’ve heard recently from people is that there are so many people signing up to it that are using it just to harangue sales calls.

Suzie:

Yeah.

Darren:

It seems to be one of the big challenges that they’re facing but you would still rate it as a way of building your business profile?

Suzie:

Absolutely. I think for building your profile as an individual within the professional environment but also as a business it is a very, very effective tool for both those things.

Darren:

In that B2B area?

Suzie:

Yeah. It’s becoming more spammy and I think people will become a bit tighter with the way in which they engage with people.

Darren:

It’s interesting you mentioned spamming because in some ways, all of these social media platforms are evolving into more media and less social, they’ve got to find a way to pay for this and so you see things like sponsored posts, sponsored tweets and increasingly, the timeline or experience is being more commercialised.

Do you think that getting that balance right is critical for success?

Suzie:

It is critical to success because I think social media consumers will not engage with the brand or give it any of their attention unless that content that’s being served is of some value to them.

Unlike broadcast where you cannot avoid the ads and you’re probably sat back on the sofa and probably not going to be bothered to lean over and get the remote and switch over or turn it off, with social you can very quickly move along.

So, if a brand wants to reach an audience they really do need to create content that’s going to add some value and engage. But you’re right, these platforms have invested huge sums of money in building fantastic technology that we all love and they need to monetise that investment and so brand and ad-funded content is a reality

It’s just then down to the brands to make that investment that they’re going to make in reaching the audience pay off by creating good content.

Other areas that businesses can use social for

Darren:

So, going back to where we started from, apart from the CEO, you mentioned a few other areas that businesses could be using any one of these platforms. I think it was staff engagement, employee engagement, customer service, what else, what other areas do you see or regularly work with clients on?

Suzie:

So, corporate comms and reputation building, customer service as you said. The whole spectrum of brand and marketing, so everything from building a brand right through to direct response. An area which I would call social CRM, really identifying the people you want to target and getting your sales messages to them and driving a direct response.

So very much across the whole spectrum of marketing/comms, social plays a role. In many ways because it’s just so big in terms of reach these days and as we’ve talked about really, really sharp in terms of targeting.

Darren:

Because customer service is such a fast way to be able to change someone’s perception of a brand.

Suzie:

Yes.

Darren:

Customer experience almost becomes the brand builder and an example that still sticks with me but it’s now a couple of years old, is I was at Surrey Hills at the Australia Post and the service was really bad and I was just standing there and I tweeted that it was really bad and within a minute, I got Australia Post’s response saying we’re working on it, it should be adjusted soon and suddenly two more staff members turned up and started clearing the backlog of customers.

You know, that responsiveness is such a great opportunity for social media but apart from Australia Post and maybe a couple of others, you don’t see a lot of companies really investing in that do you? Or is that changing? Is it increasing?

Suzie:

That is changing yeah.

Darren:

Is it?

Suzie:

Yeah, It’s definitely changing. I think the example you’ve just used is a great one because that’s just good customer service, they heard you, they responded and they improved the pace at which the line was clearing.

But they did it in a forum that was actually quite public, so everyone you know was able to see how well they addressed your problem. The brilliant thing about that, using social, is that it’s public, that can go both ways. You can see people delivering good customer service or bad customer service.

You can see if the customer was actually satisfied or not. But it’s actually becoming a really efficient way to do customer service. It’s in many ways cheaper than having people on phones.

Darren:

Yep.

Suzie:

And it can be done remotely. Where we’ve had trouble in the past, particularly in Australia, people are keen on having Australian based call centres, it’s a lot easier to service customers from other markets when you’re doing it via social.

Darren:

My perception is that the reason it’s not done a lot is that there is a lot of businesses that when you make a complaint, you don’t get any response at all.

Suzie:

That is just poor customer service. We will often talk to clients about how rapidly they should service complaints or queries on social media because I think you need to think about it much like you would if an angry customer walked into, let’s say a branch of a bank and started telling at you about their problem, potentially in quite an aggravated way.

If you left them waiting for 2 and a half hours they’d be pretty pissed off and I think really brands need to be thinking about it in the same way. Responsiveness shows a customer you’ve heard and it demonstrates what your customer service is like, this pace at which you respond is indicative of how good your customer service is.

Really, you should be able to do it quite quickly. There’s no reason not to. It just diffuses a problem if you can get back to a customer quickly assuming you’re going to satisfy them with your resolution but it can really help turn someone around from a detractor to an advocate when you respond quickly and satisfactorily.

Darren:

Especially the public nature as you pointed out, this is all happening in the public domain, anyone can see it, anyone can search it, anyone can find it. It seems to me that it’s an area where perhaps if it’s not seen by the organisation, if it’s not see by the CEO, then they believe it doesn’t exist perhaps?

Using the data from social

Suzie:

Potentially. We do quite a lot of research on behalf of brands where we will use social data to help a brand understand what their reputation is and how many people are talking about them because that’s of course, a big indicator.

You might have really positive sentiment but if only a few people are talking about you, you’ve probably still got a problem. So we’ll look at volume of conversation, share a voice amongst your competitive set, your reputation, what the key themes of positive or negative sentiment are.

This really helps inform an organisation about where they stand in the world and a lot of brands aren’t using it. We hear a lot talked about big data and our view is, we’re not even using small data. and I call small social data properly so

let’s put big data to one side before we really start listening to what’s being said out there and think about how we use that insight. But yeah, you’re right, CEOs might be detached from that but it’s all there if they want to listen, if they want to tune in. It’s very easy to tap that data.

Darren:

There’s a lot of talk going on at boards around technology. It seems to me that you’ve pointed out all the different ways that social media can actually be integrated into the way the business runs that a social, listening and managing platform would be one of the essential components of a stack wouldn’t it?

Suzie:

Yes and no. What we’re seeing is that the sources of data from social are becoming more and more. As with all these things, just having the data doesn’t necessarily give you the capability to interpret that data.

So I think we do see some organisations say “oh we’ve bought this tool in-house”, but actually they don’t use it because you really need an analyst and someone who’s quite skilled at crunching the data but then analysing it and interpreting it and helping to determine what does that mean and then developing outcomes and a strategy around that data.

So, it’s just like with big data. Data is in abundance, it’s a question about have you got the capability and the resources to do something with it.

Darren:

Yeah, the hierarchy. Data is the ones and the zeros, the bits of information. But then collect them together and you start to get information. Then, if you analyse it you get insights, that’s knowledge and over time, knowledge will build to wisdom, you know, but that’s a definite process.

The data itself will not solve any problems.

Suzie:

Absolutely, absolutely.

Darren:

In fact, you’ll just drown in it before you learn to swim.

Suzie:

Absolutely! And even having the insight and the wisdom, you still need to have the resources to implement the strategy that might be developed, so it’s a process but it definitely means that there’s a lot more intelligence to be had if people are open to it.

Darren:

So it’s just given me a thought on where we started, where we talked about the CEO in some ways, if the CEO starts to acknowledge and perhaps use social media as a way of building their profile, becoming the face of the corporation, it sends a message throughout the organisation that this is a very important part of the business doesn’t it?

Suzie:

It really does. There are so many reasons I believe it’s useful for CEOs to have a social profile and it signals how open you are to hearing what people have to say. It signals that you’re forward-thinking, that you’re future-facing as an organisation and as an individual.

It is a new world of communication and it also means that you’ve got an audience you can communicate with, should you want to and hopefully those people do want to.

I think there’s an expectation in today’s world that people we do business with are open to hearing what we’ve got to say and are transparent and are trustworthy and are honest and I think knowing the individual that heads up an organisation through them talking through social media does help to give a sense of them being open and honest and human.

Darren:

Well let’s hope that we see a trend towards more of our CEOs becoming the face of their organisations. Thanks for your time Suzie.

Suzie:

My pleasure. Thanks Darren.

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About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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