My First Blog Post on Edelman Digital Blog, Authenticities

27Jun08

This week, my first blog post on the Edelman Digital blog, Authenticities, went live. It was a pretty big moment for me and really marked the start of my new job. When your bosses give you a login that allows you to publish your perspective on the company’s site, you really get the sense that you’re a part of the team. You can see the original here. Would love to hear your thoughts.

This is my first post on Authenticities, so I might as well go out on a limb and be totally honest: I, like my friends Francios and Max, am bothered by most “social media marketing.” I agree with Francois when he says that too many companies still see social media as simply another channel to monitor and reach their customers. By doing so, they miss the point (and opportunity) entirely. Social media shouldn’t just change the way you market your company; it should change the way your company does business. Here’s why (or at least how I see it):

My generation of twentysomething digital natives grew up with the Web. And as most people know by now, our habits have forced a seismic shift in the way businesses and media operate. But we haven’t seen anything yet. There’s an entirely new breed of digital natives growing up with access to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo and Club Penguin. These sites connect them from the start to a global community of friends and followers, as well as your brands and company decision makers who are beginning to engage in the space.

They’re growing up with instant access to speak directly with @richardatdell, Comcast’s Frank Eliason or the CEO of Zappos on Twitter. They’re able to talk to influencers in R+D on MyStarbucksIdea.com (Disclosure: Starbucks is an Edelman client) or Dell Ideastorm and tell these companies what they’d like them to create next. They’re engrained with the notion that if they invest their allowance in your product and it breaks or doesn’t work as expected, they should be able to log into their social network and either speak directly with a key decision maker in your company to openly work out a mutually satisfying solution, or simply vent to their growing network of followers and friends. The notion of calling a 1-800 number and waiting on hold to reach an outsourced customer support center has never been a part of their lives and for the most part, the 30 second spot, whether placed on TV or retrofitted into a social network, doesn’t work for them either.

Just wait and see what happens when this generation grows up with this perspective and goes from having a $5/week allowance worth of sway in your industry to having enough income to influence your company’s and its competitors’ market share. More than ever before, they’ll demand direct, authentic engagement from your company on their turf, not yours, any time they want to log in and get in touch. They’ll demand that they’re taken as seriously in the decision making process of your company as you take your other stakeholders and they’ll want this to continue far after your marketing campaign has shifted or your new product has hit store shelves.

When it’s midnight on a school night during finals and they need help with their computers, they won’t be thinking about your last homepage takeover; they’ll be gauging whether you’re available via DM for help. Are you ready?

-Amanda Mooney




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