WITI’s Panel on Social Media & Social Enterprise Provides Big & Small Brand Insights

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Social social The WITI (Women in Technology International) Summit had a social media and social enterprise panel at their annual event in San Jose earlier this week.

WITI is the premiere global organization empowering women in business and technology to achieve unimagined possibilities.

Financial Times reporter April Dembosky moderated the panel which included Senior VP of HR at Adobe Donna Morris, Coca-Cola CIO Miriam McLemore and Heather Meeker, VP of Corp. Comm at GOGll.

What would your top social media tool be if you had to choose one? Of course, I couldn’t choose one since that would be like choosing one medium over another or one audience and not another and nearly every product I’ve ever represented targets more than one and has more than one need.

Adobe 25% of all hires for Adobe is through LinkedIn so it’s a critical tool for them to not only hire but sustain talent.

They also keep tabs on employees LinkedIn profiles – how they represent themselves and what their interests are. “It’s good to know how people are branding themselves,” says Morris.

Adobe’s marketing obviously uses analytics so they can get an idea of how long people stay on their career site so they can learn what kinds of things they should focus on. Says Morris, “if we see that students are not going to our career site that often, we might put more effort on Facebook & Twitter to reach students.”

They spend a lot of time evaluating what tools are actually sticky. She adds, “with LinkedIn, we use measures to attract talent. Being very focused and targeted is very important, so make sure you put measures in place with all those tools, otherwise your approach is very fragmented.”

A question from the audience to Morris about the boundaries of LinkedIn? Is your employee going to be Big Brother or Big Sister, will they get that signal that they’re not as engaged internally at the company?

She says, “all of us are our own brands, we’re all our own agents. It’s up to the company to recruit you on a regular basis. People are not as wise today to keep their brand alive – it’s important for you to keep yourself as an asset. It’s always good to have a choice and it’s great when your choice is your current employer.”

We are our own brands and the big brands that get that are the ones that are going to keep the best talent around.

Coca cola On handling mistakes and marketing issues, what went wrong, what went right? McLemore talked about Coca Cola’s Diet Coke and Mentos bottle incident and while the “exploding bottle was getting millions of views over YouTube”, they stood back and distanced themselves.

“We kept saying we care about children’s safety when it could have been an incredible marketing opportunity for us.”

For most marketers, there are a couple of audiences they are trying to reach, but for Coca-Cola, they have dozens of audiences in numerous countries around the globe. AND, that message needs to be consistent.

Think about it. They have investment communities, collectors, sustainability supporters, shareholders, NGOs, the government, fans and health practitioners. “We need to take a much more holistic approach,” says McLemore. “People interact with us, but all of them communicate and reach out for different reasons.”

She adds, “Spray and pray doesn’t work. Liquid and Linked marketing…it has to be linked. We have to have liquid content but it has to be linked so it shows up everywhere. It has to flow. That link for us is storytelling.” They can’t have completely different messages coming out of Latin America, Europe and the states. AND, they also have to make sure they’re consistent on the technology side as well.

While they like to be on the leading edge and use new technology tools in the market, they have to be sure that it scales. Measurement and moderation is big for them so they tend to use much larger companies to handle that for them. They need to be big and robust to be able to handle their needs.

Textplus Heather comes out of the start-up world so therefore uses social tools a little differently than a lot of major brands do. She also faces different kinds of corporate communications issues, since it’s much harder to build traction and get a less known brand out there amidst so much social media noise.

She echos what Morris says in that we are all our own brands. This is more vital for start-ups and smaller companies.

They use Twitter extensively to reach influencers and monitor trends, but she also uses Google+ to see what early adopters and tech VIPs are thinking and saying. I’m in the same camp of course and utilize both for similar reasons and in similar ways.

“Having a Twitter profile is a huge asset,” says Heather. “It’s important for people to see your brand out there on other social networks. As much as you’re allowed to do, you should do. Being a brand ambassador for yourself is very helpful for the brand you represent. It’s a power for building relationships on and offline.” Hear hear and spot on.

Great panel and great follow up discussion with attendees in the room who largely came from giant brands, some of which had legal and compliance issues around social media outreach. That said, the playing field has changed and if you’re not online and not creating a voice for yourself, someone else will. Don’t be left behind.

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