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Social Media Leadership: From The Pew To The Pulpit

November 9, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sometimes it takes an unpleasant jolt to make a business owner see the benefits of a new way to conduct commerce, especially one that’s as radically different from the norm as social media. As Author Michael F. Lewis, ILD Corp. co-founder and CEO of Social Strategy1 & OfficeArrow, discovered firsthand, for some unwary business owners, the world of social media can conceal unpleasant surprises that threaten a company’s reputation and viability.

Lewis describes ILD’s troubles during its early social media experiences in his book, Social Media Leadership: How to Get Off the Bench and Into the Game. Chapter 1, “From the Pew to the Pulpit,” recounts Lewis’ evolution from someone “asleep in the back pew” and unconcerned with the effects of social media to a fervent evangelist thundering forth from the pulpit about the crucial role of social media leadership in modern business practices.

At the time, ILD offered payment transaction services that allowed customers to charge purchases of various products and services to their telephone bills. The company had no online presence beyond the standard corporate website, and Lewis and his managers were unconcerned with social media interaction.

A random Google search one Monday morning changed that lax attitude. The search revealed multiple blogs and message boards where customers were posting sharply worded complaints about ILD’s business practices. They had not contacted ILD first, but instead took their grievances directly to a large online audience.

Lewis knew he had to quickly reposition his company to take active advantage of the benefits of social media rather than remaining a passive receiver of the online world’s negative side. ILD soon developed better ways to engage with customers via the Internet. The company also began to dedicate resources to monitoring the company’s reputation online.

Lewis’ biggest jolt was yet to come. At an industry conference in Philadelphia, a marketing professor told Lewis and other attendees that “if he were the head of a Fortune 500 company, he wouldn’t spend a dime on traditional marketing,” Lewis remembers. “His money, he said, would go to social media.”

Lewis knew then that he could no longer see social media participation as a nuisance and a drain on company resources. Social media “should be perceived as opportunity, not as obstacle,” he finally realized. “… Opportunities abound in the new social landscape, and the learning curve is well worth its mastery.”

Please join us at our upcoming webinar, Social Media: How to Measure Success and the Real Value to Your Business, today, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Sponsored by ServCorp, this session will by hosted by Steve Ennen, Social Strategy1’s CIO and president, and social media entrepreneur and strategist Alex Avendano. Attendance is limited, so register for this free webinar before time runs out.

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