Social media: amazing, mediocre or worthless tool for large enterprises? Executives in large enterprise companies face one of those three choices when evaluating social search.
Much of the effect can be measured or scored based upon the conversion or reach that each campaign receives. Unfortunately, most companies have little to no understanding about social media optimization and what it can do for their organizations.
This is most apparent when looking at enterprise-level companies who spend blindly on traditional marketing due to the college or business school education their chief marketing officer and senior execs received.
SEO for CMOs?
Any high-level software developer can tell you that the information they learned in college was extremely out-of-date when they entered the "real world" and tried to find a job. It was like going back to school and starting from scratch, but being paid for it, instead of paying for it.
Recently I looked at the bullet points for an SEO (define) class given at the top Bay Area school. The information in the class description was four years old and shouldn't have been given. The same goes for any large company entering the Internet world, either from a simple Web site that explains what the company does, to full function Web sites that can close deals without a customer picking up the phone.
A local cable company that I worked for more than 10 years ago has a site with tons of great information about their service. When it came to the final ordering process, though, I was thrown into a live chat room.
Instead of checking out, I had to provide every single option that I had selected over again. That made a four minute multiple choice shopping cart into a more than two hour process. No kidding. Obviously this was a first step in digitizing the new and current user experience.
How Can CMOs Adapt to Change?
This example illustrates the inability of large corporations to adapt to change. Without constant research and updates, many companies simply fail. They need an aggressive education program that should either mainly or exclusively use leading trade shows for personal and professional growth.
In the search world we commonly look to the Search Engine Strategies conferences and a few others to pick up new tactics and meet new people who have additional expertise. That's where executives trade invaluable information with SEM (define) professionals and one another.
Looking at change within a social media atmosphere is difficult, especially since details can change as often as a few hours to several weeks apart. Hiring a staff that can learn and adapt in this way is critical.
SEO experts with more than five years of experience can handle these jobs with a greater level of tact than any traditional marketing expert could offer. It's critical to make sure these leaders are able to learn and have little to no fear about trying new things.
Social Search Will Continue To Evolve
Recently we've seen further shifts in social media optimization, especially with applications developed for sites such as Facebook. Other startups such as Spock.com specialize in gathering information about people in a very easy to update medium.
With the widespread growth of social media, including blogs, communities, and forums, it's difficult to transfer information from one page to the next. This is causing users to spend unnecessary amounts of time managing multiple social search engines.
A new browser I've come to love is called Flock, and it's an easy installation for most Mozilla-based browsers on either Mac or Windows. This software allows simple drag and drop capabilities between your more common social sites and blogs. Try it out; it's a new favorite tool of mine.
A browser plug-in, though, won't begin to solve the challenges large enterprises face in managing social media.
A CMO doesn't need a Ph.D. The only degree they need? Three letters: SES.