Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall of a corporate meeting on social media? Many of the readers of this blog and listeners of the Marketing Edge podcast have been in those sessions where ideas are evaluated about whether to have a company blog, launch a podcast series or include bloggers in the media relations strategy.
Christopher Barger is a social media strategist and has been in the largest of corporations, IBM and GM, where those conversations and decisions take place. The beauty of Barger is his ability to see and articulate a legitimate objection from a personal management fear. Both are essential to understand and address in a corporate environment in order to make progress. It is part of the mutual respect in a team that allows that team to try new tactics, be innovative and, most importantly, learn.
In this podcast, Barger and I discuss his experience inside marketing and management groups deciding on social media tactics. He explains the difference and growth social media has had in General Motors product launches.
Some of GM’s efforts on the Web:
We highlight how marketing is changing from a predictable process to a participatory sport in which everyone becomes smarter. Yes, we even tackle the dreaded ROI of social media. Hmmmm, what’s the ROI of this blog post? Gee, will someone click on “Contact Us” and hire us and therefore I can say that the 2 hours I spent thinking through the conversation with Barger, recording it, editing it, and posting it will generate a dollar return?
Silly isn’t it? Right, it is, because as you’ll hear, the conversation was an enjoyable learning experience. It continues to build relationships, one with Barger and the other with Marketing Edge listeners, so the ROI is part of a much larger element of relationship and brand management.
To translate that to your company, it goes something like this: Who is this company? What type of people do they wish to associate with and how can the company, and its employees, add value to the lives of those with whom they associate?
As you hear in Barger’s description of working with specific communities in social media, such as parents and car enthusiasts, it’s all about being part of their passion and very little about selling them a car. The rewards to the company, however, are tangible. The value to the individual employees in GM that are participating is gratifying.
I’ll continue to say it, and the more I have conversations like this one with Barger, the more I believe it: Social media is a movement, not a market. This does not mean commerce is not supported by social media; it means that commerce is a result of adding value to the group, not meeting a quota tied to a logic that has no connection to that community.
We thank Chris for his insight and invite you to share your own thoughts below.