An Evening of Social Media Leadership
On Nov. 9, 2011, executives from the greater Jacksonville area gathered for Social Media for Executives, a private reception and panel discussion co-hosted by Jacksonville-based integrated communications firm Burdette Ketchum and Social Strategy1, a Ponte Vedra-based business intelligence company.
The reception began with a networking hour, allowing attendees to mingle and meet before settling in for the highlight of the evening, a speaker panel featuring Michael Lewis, CEO of SocialStrategy1 and author of Social Media Leadership: How to Get off the Bench and Into the Game; Mindy Batchelor, Director of Digital Strategy for Burdette Ketchum; and Stacey Gross, Director of e-Commerce at Interline Brands. Steve Ennen, President and Chief Intelligence Officer for SocialStrategy1, moderated the panel.
Much of the panel discussion focused on understanding the importance of social media and its impact on overall business goals. One point of significance was that social media should be supported from the C-level in a business.
“Social media is not just Facebook; it’s a way to bring people together,” said Mindy Batchelor. Batchelor emphasized the point that social media is a conversation, an organic tool that businesses can leverage to build consumer confidence in their products.
According to Michael Lewis, “The challenge with the C-suite is to be aware that conversations about your brand are going on with or without you. So why not be a part of it?” Lewis offered suggestions to help upper level management better understand the power of social media, including using analytics to show the reach of social media, and the ability to show the breadth of conversation about a brand happening online. He added, “It could actually identify trends that might influence the performance of your business. At some point, I think social media will become part of a company’s internal and external financial reporting and audit processes.”
Steve Ennen also offered insight into how the speed of social media affects reputation and customer service. “Look at [former New York Congressman] Anthony Weiner and other cases – one tweet can end up in The New York Times. So a lot of those customer service issues can be far-reaching if they surface out of a singular tweet or a singular post on a blog. That’s why the listening becomes so important. From an overall customer service perspective, you can actually look at a trend and understand if there are problems surfacing. Maybe it’s a regional situation. Maybe it’s something inside the organizational structure … That’s why it becomes so important to connect with customers and hear the voice of the customer.”
The evening also was an opportunity to celebrate the launch of Michael Lewis’ new book, Social Media Leadership: How to Get Off the Bench and Into the Game. In addition to being the CEO of Social Strategy1, Lewis is Chairman and CEO of ILD Corp. and a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. Lewis’ book aims to explain the basics of social media in order to help companies understand it, and learn to build their own social strategy. He also offers examples of businesses and brands that are effectively using social media in their marketing efforts.