There's just days left to get Social Buzz Awards entries in - they close tomorrow and we thought we'd let judge Jeremy Waite, the Head of Social Strategy for TBG Digital, help give you some inspiration...
What got you into social media?
Gary Vaynerchuk initially got me into Twitter. He told me it would be "word of mouth on steroids". The brash New Yorker who ran Wine Library TV and now runs Vayner Media. I wasn't initially a fan of Facebook – remember when everyone was throwing sheep at each other? I never got that…. ;)
Who does it well - either as an individual or company?
I think the best companies doing social really well are Dell, Vodafone, Nike (who have practically invented their own platform with a great community) and Red Bull (obviously!). Personally – Gary Vaynerchuk still does great personal PR – as does Brian Solis
Is it for every business?
Social media isn't a platform. It's not about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc… these are just tools. Social media is about connecting with people. So yes – it is for EVERY business. (That's not to be confused with Facebook is for every business!)
Is there a lot of snake oil about over social media?
Of course! Far too much. Social media gurus, ninjas and wizards exist around every street corner in Shoreditch! 85% of people who work in social media have been in it less that 2 years – based upon a recent survey on LinkedIn. Too many people giving bad advice, promising the world – and pitching social media as something that it isn't. Always a problem – be careful who you listen to!
There’s an old argument that PR/marketing/advertising should own social media - should any of them?
None of them. Marketing usually does. Customer service should. PR needs to be involved - especially where crisis comms are concerned. But ideally it needs to exist in its own department – perhaps as a virtual team with representatives from each department. Let's not forget that social media is brilliant at selling stuff! Sales departments need to be involved in social too. Many of the UK's top retailers have their social teams as part of commercial/e–commerce now.
Why is there such a fear over traditional ROI? Surely it’s the best metric to be using?
People don't understand what ROI is. Everything is still looking for 1 answer as if theres a holy grail that will work for every business. The ROI for each brand will be different. Syncapse made this mistake 2 years ago when they told everyone a Facebook "like" was worth $136. It was good methodology but it caused more problems than it solved. Some business can track ROI (investment), but for others it might be ROI (Impressions / Interactions, Influence….) This is why I'm at TBG – because we are right on the cutting edge of showing our clients why ROI really means for them. This is why we are the biggest agency of our kind in the world (sorry if that sounded salesy!!)
What are your favourite social media sites?
I use Flipboard everyday for news. LOVE Twitter. Huge Pinterest fan (its where I store all my infographics, links and research reports) and wish I had more time to spend on Instagram. Also secretly like the explore function on the newly designed FourSquare – great for finding new bars and hangouts.
In your eyes, what’s the biggest barrier to adoption of social media? And how would you tell people/firms to overcome this?
Social media is about people. It's about word of mouth at scale. And it lets your brand get exposure in a way that no other platform allows you to. Unlike Google – you are not just having a direct conversation with 1 person anymore – you're talking to their 140 friends (and friends of friends). What's not to love about that?
If you had to choose one platform - for you personally - what would it be and why?
Twitter. Real time news & instant interactions. Great conversations in bite sized chunks.
What’s the can’t live without App on your Smartphone (and what make is the phone)?
iPhone 4 – can't live without the phone button. The best app on it. It puts me in touch with real people. (Surprising how few people use their phone as a phone anymore). I'd much rather have a real conversation than a virtual one if possible. I love Spotify too though.
What’s the must-have Apps on your tablet (and, again, what make is it)?
iPad – Flipboard . Flipboard. Flipboard. Eurosport (for the cycling). Discovr is great for new apps. And I'm a big Angry Birds fan. Space HD is brilliant. I love those Rovio guys. Wired and Fast Compay have great apps too.
What motivates you when you’re down/seeking creativity - what’s the one thing that gets the brain going when you have to dig deep?
Cycling around Richmond Park.
Given that the way most social media institutions - Facebook, Google, Twitter - are making their money is through the most traditional of ways - advertising - is this a failure of thinking? Surely if social media is such a paradigm shift, we wouldn’t be relying on advertising just like we have done since 1955?
That's true if you judge social ads in the same way you judge "traditional" ads. In my opinion though the 2 are not the same thing. Ajaz from AKQA says "The best advertising isn't advertising". That’s very true. It's about making a real connection with a person. Social media lets you do that because you have context, friend recommendations (sponsored stories) and relevance. Traditional ads have never been able to give us this before.
Should the phrase “social media” be abolished as there is so much to it - it can be linkbuilding, community engagement, community building, sales, SEO, blogging, gathering and seeding visual information - should we be at a stage now where people get to specify what part of this their talents lie in?
Yes. Call it the social web. Call it the internet. Media has always been a "push" medium. This is what I want you to read etc… Social is a "pull" medium. The user (not the brand) is in control. It's not really a media platform at all is it. It's a conversation platform.
People should work where their talents lie. But social is still very young and companies are still figuring out what to do with it. If you team / budget is big enough – specialise for sure. Until then – all of us social media people will probably have about 16 job titles.
Companies seem to be concentrating their efforts on Facebook - is this a dangerous move?
No. 930m+ users. 50% are active every day. Hugely valuable commercial data is available to companies. A platform where you are encouraging trust and people to recommend you to their friends. It's an awesome platform. Businesses are not concentrating enough on Facebook
A huge element of social media seems to be based around customer satisfaction but should companies - and customers - accept that you won’t always get it your own way?
The customer is always right. Always.
Where do you see social media being in five years time?
At the heart of all successful businesses, in it's own department, with it's own team – made up of representatives from sales, commercial, marketing, PR, customer service & HR. It won't be called "social media" (hopefully!)
For those thinking of getting into social media, any tips or pointers?
Read my interest boards! www.pinterest.com/jeremywaite or ask me on twitter @jeremywaite working in social media is the best job in the world right now. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
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