Integrated Communications Goes Social

Text is out, out, out. Images are in, in, in.

That’s one of the many takeaways I picked up at the Chicago Integrated Communications Forum today, presented by Business Development Institute and PR Newswire. Packed to capacity, this event featured three keynote presentations and a panel discussion. I participated on the panel as a representative of Social Media Club Chicago.

Arriving a fashionably five minutes late due to traffic [I hate to be late!], I got there in time to watch Suzanne Fanning’s, president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association [WOMMA] presentation. After seeing Suzanne present on Social Media Day in June, I was looking forward to hearing more from her.

Suzanne started out with this social media marketing budget stat from the CMO survey.

In the next 5 years, marketers expect to spend 19.5% of their budgets on social media.

She said, “Social engagement is a serious business objective . The trick is to keep your focus.”

That’s where a word of mouth marketing [WOMM] program comes in.

A good WOMM program is respectful, credible, respectful, social, measurable, and repeatable.

Buzz campaigns are dead – what’s in now is building measurable and sustainable campaigns. As Suzanne ran down the list of what used to work, it hit me how quickly outdated social media marketing can become.

Does social media marketing really matter?

According to Nielsen’s consumer global trust in earned media study, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18% since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.

The social media marketing memory lane goes back to getting products in celebrity’s hands, then reaching out to bloggers, then targeting segmented bloggers [moms], Facebook popped up next, then twitter came along with the most influential people by far, then tumblr and YouTube, The emerging space is visual influencers. Suzanne says these are the ones you want to tap today on instagram and Pinterest.

Content is social currency.

Because content is social currency, Suzanne suggests you be clever, mix it up and pay attention to what gets engagement.

A good example is Oscar Mayer gave one man 3000 pounds of bacon to barter his way across the country.

A focus on Converged Media will bring all efforts together to amplify everything you’re doing. Want to know more?

Thanks to @Sprinklr for tweeting the link to Altimeter Group’s report on Converged Media.

Building Thought Leadership Internally

While some companies look outward to align with thought leaders, Chrysler positions their people as thought leaders.

Ed Garsten, head of electronic communication at Chrysler, talked about thought leadership inside the company.

In order to be a leader, you have to have courage to break the rules and you can’t live in the past. He quoted two of Chrysler’s leaders.

“I’m only interested in the future because that’s where I intend to spend the rest of my life.” Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler

“If people are buying into products, they are also buying into values.” Olivier Francois, CMO, Chrysler and Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Commercial Wrangler

People want to believe in the company and what it stands for.

Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots contributed to turning the company around and to Chrysler 200 sales.

Ed looked back at how PR used to be the company’s storysellers to the media. Now, PR has become the company’s in-house storytellers. The company produces its own videos and uses social media tools in inventive ways.

For example, all 5,000 Jeep Wrangler tiki edition vehicles were sold through twitter with no paid advertising.

Communicating in Forums

Often overlooked as a social communication channel, community forums are one of the most dynamic and valuable places for research, customer service and community outreach.

Tim Albright and Amanda Mitchell talked about their work with Jive Software and their client support community.

Jive Software is a product company that doesn’t run its own products. How to help, and support, comes from their clients.

Social media does not equal social business.

The intent people have for each is different. In social media, the primary intent is to be social or to share, then maybe do a business task.

The primary intent on a social business support forum is to first perform a business task and then maybe make social connections.

Social business keeps the company focused on their clients and their community.

Jive Software’s clients are their ROI. Tim says when people ask about ROI he answers, “To get the RO, first you have to give a little I.” It’s a humorous way to answer the question.

In talking about what’s next, Tim brought up gamification. The psychological levers built into social gaming are real and deliver bigger results than most companies can imagine. Tim invited us all to Jive World, coming up in Las Vegas, where 95% of the time, it’s their customers talking, not them.

Thanks to Sarah Skerik, vice president of social media at PR Newswire for moderating the panel and asking intriguing questions.


It’s always humbling and gratifying to read what people tweet while you talk. Thanks to these folks for sharing information!

@wiredprworks companies are looking for employees to be influencers, ambassadors #prnbdi

Great nugget of wisdom @wiredprworks…employees to be your ambassador #prnbdi

@wiredprworks goes by the 3 D’s of marketing: Direct, Digital and Dynamic. #prnbdi

Social media gives you the power to share your values, be who you are, and influence others. @Wiredprworks #workdsofwiz #prnbdi

Everyone in this room is influential. ~@wiredprworks #prnbdi // find your passion and people will listen

“Everyone has value and what they say matters.” @wiredprworks#PRNBDI

#SMCChicago Founder @wiredprworks on panel @bdionline@prnewswire Chicago Integrated Marketing Forum this am

About the image

Our son, Warren, turned 18 on September 9. I didn’t bake a cake because he didn’t want one. Our daughter came home with this cute cupcake quad, a gift from her manager for her brother. At first, I took pictures in the clear plastic carrier. But, since these cupcakes were now upgraded to birthday treats, I decided to present them on a Fitz and Floyd plate. Much more festive . . . and I added in a few hashtags. Thanks to Warren, an instagram fan known for his skateboarding pics, for reminding me to tag the image.

How about you? How do you integrate social into your business, community and communications?

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