Posted by Shirley Brady on June 21, 2010 06:00 PM
Last week I was honored to moderate two panels at the Corporate Social Media conference in New York, which included--unexpectedly--a lesson in how not to engage what you perceive as a target audience.
That came during my first session, a day two kick-off that featured Heather Oldani, head of corporate communications for McDonald's in the U.S., who oversees the chain's social media outreach including courting so-called mommy bloggers; and Bill Tolany, who runs integrated marketing including social media for Whole Foods, who talked about how the company amplifies its presence and engages customers on its blog, Facebook page and multi-pronged Twitter accounts. Oddly, particularly with all the talk of ambush marketing right now, an attempt by PETA to hijack the panel fell flat, judging by tweets from befuddled marketers in the audience.
My second panel featured Don Bartholomew, VP of research at Fleishman-Hillard, who explained why he's opposed to brand marketers using ROI, a financial term, in a non-financial way to quantify their social media marketing (a recurring theme on Don's blog); and Firouzeh Murray, brand leader, small business division, Intuit, who shared her insights into the success of the QuickBooks live community.
The final session, in which participants summed up what they saw as the most useful takeaways from the two-day event, may have been the most enlightening, as the audience got to weigh in. One of the biggest messages: don't worry about the number of fans your brand can boast on Facebook, or followers on Twitter. Think about the quality of engagement, and don't forget your company's goals for maintaining a presence on social networks in the first place.
More participants' feedback from that session is posted on Ogilvy digital SVP Rohit Bhargava's blog; read it over and let us know what you think.