Blog #5: No mistakes, just support

By Cindy Macdonald

If you are a small business owner, social media marketing can be time-consuming, confusing and risky. But it’s not an easy function to outsource because effective marketing requires an intimate knowledge of the client’s business and the target audience. It is easy to make a mis-step and damage your business’ reputation.

As an experienced business writer and social media strategist, I can achieve that balance of learning your business and growing its presence on social media. I know that you don’t retweet Greenpeace when you work in the logging and forestry sector, not matter how cute the video is. You don’t complain about being stuck in the office when your audience is construction workers labouring outside on a hot and humid July day.

Having reported on manufacturing, automotive, forestry, retail, security, agriculture and cleantech for 25+ years, I can relate to almost any Canadian industry.

Also, when you’re paying someone for their specialized expertise, you need them to walk a fine line between suggesting improvements and completely taking over your process.

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This is where I fit in. As a freelance writer and editor, I am accustomed to joining a company for a defined term to complete a specific project. I make things happen once the company’s leaders have decided what should happen. I’m a tactician, not a strategist. Part of the crew, not the captain.

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One of my strengths is #collaboration. One of the key functions of an editor is to work with writers, to make their articles better without obscuring their voice. This is what I feel a social media manager should do: collaborate, boost the marketing message and be a team player.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

COM0014 – Blog Post #5 – Personal Brand

Some of the personal qualities and characteristics that set me apart from my competitors include the ability to work alone or to collaborate with others in a team environment. Through my personable, friendly nature I am able to successfully develop and grow relationships with internal and external clients. Honesty and sincerity are an important part of who I am and what I expect from others.

My capacity to manage projects is as the result of my dependability, reliability and organizational skills.  Through insight and resourcefulness I am able to solve problems.

Lately, I have made myself standout by taking on the challenges of a new role with keen interest, including successfully managing a high profile project with only a short tenure in my position.

My colleagues would say that my best traits are the sincere and personable way that I communicate with clients.

I am most proud of the choices I have made to continue my education, which has broadened my range of interests and helped to make me resilient in the face of changing economic times. Additionally, I am very proud of the opportunity to meet with clients to learn about their business plans, and to provide direction and resources that they can use to position themselves towards success.

COM0015 Assignment #5 | Socially Driven Collaboration: How Social Business Is Changing the Role of Marketing and IT

Marketing and IT statOn Nov. 19, I participated in a webinar hosted by Social Media Today entitled Socially Driven Collaboration: How Social Business Is Changing the Role of Marketing and IT. As the person responsible for marketing and communications for my organization, I’m interested in any opportunity to learn about trends and best practices related to my field. And, as our organization is incorporating social media more into its communications and business models, I thought this webinar would be a worthwhile experience.

The webinar explored the fact that as more companies are embracing social business activities (e.g. using social technologies to listen, respond, gather feedback and connect with customers and partners), marketing and IT departments are having to work together to achieve social business goals. The webinar focused on how to achieve better alignment between the marketing and IT departments as collaboration improves all outputs/outcomes. The webinar offered five tips for better collaboration:

  1.  Get C-suite buy-in for shared goals.
  2. Understand your peer’s perspective. Understand the needs and offerings of each group.
  3. Be the role model. Reach out to the other department. Make the first move to work together.
  4. Find meaningful metrics to measure your success. Collaboration can yield many benefits.
  5. Avoid tech mistakes by carefully choosing your tools.

The webinar was moderated by Paul Dunay, Global Vice President of Marketing for Maxymiser, and featured panellists Erika Jolly Brookes, Vice President of Product Strategy for Oracle, and Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks. The speakers and participants could all interact with each other through Go to Webinar or on Twitter using the hashtag #SMTLive. Many people, including me, were tweeting quotable quotes from the webinar or asking questions and tagging them with the hashtag. I was happy to see Vanessa DiMauro answer my question. As an organization without an IT department—we have one person on staff for basic support and to liaise with our IT consultants—and as an organization that has a number of small businesses as stakeholders, I wanted to know if the rise of social business was enough of a business case for convincing your CEO to build an IT department into the business plan. Vanessa responded that identifying a business process that could be enhanced or accelerated via social technologies could help make the case for an in-house IT department.

Through the webinar, I gained a better appreciation for our IT consultants and see how it’s important to keep them in the loop of our activities. The message that I took away is: “When marketing and IT collaborate, the results are stronger marketing messages and a reduction in operational costs.” The webinar left me thinking of how I could work more collaboratively with our IT consultants to select or develop tools that will help us become more socially enabled.

Social Media Today offers free, weekly webinars on a variety of topics related to social business. I find the topics relevant to my job, and as they take place over the lunch hour, they’re very convenient. You also get a copy of the presentation, which makes great reference material. I highly recommend these webinars and will be attending more in the future.

What free social business-based webinars have you come across and would recommend?

Image from the presentation Socially Driven Collaboration: How Social Business Is Changing the Role of Marketing and IT by Erika Jolly Brookes and Vanessa DiMauro.