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  • A Look Back at PivotCon: Social Strategy Is About Being Transparent

    We’re back from PivotCon and have had time to reflect on the thought provoking sessions in NYC.

    Get Satisfaction joined some of the top social and marketing executives at PivotCon to share best practices around where social is heading. At PivotCon in New York City a few weeks ago we saw social recognized as something positively influencing companies and has become a core part of business strategy.

    PivotCon made it clear that brands are no longer hiring stand-ins for the customer courtship process. They’re sending out their own best and brightest to create social strategies.

    There were four stand-out speakers from PivotCon. The first included Linda Boff, Executive Director, Global Digital Marketing of GE who talked about innovation. She emphasized the fact that you can’t just be innovative. You have to be innovative on innovative platforms. As described on the PivotCon blog, “you can’t just show up in social media, you have to utilize it in a unique and revolutionary fashion…As Brian Solis said, its not a matter of humanizing the brand, rather its about putting a human behind the brand.”

    Solis has a point—and we would add that by putting a human behind a branded community, the brand effectively puts a human face to the brand.

    The second stand out speaker was Bloomberg’s Global Head of Social Media Rob Harles who shared how Bloomberg made the transition from banning employees from using social media to understanding why Bloomberg should get involved in these conversations. Bloomberg showed trust among employees by inviting them to get involved in the conversation as well.

    For Bloomberg trust is at the heart of social business.

    The third standout speaker was Ron Faris, Head of Brand Marketing at Virgin Mobile. Virgin gave an incredible session around content and how to do it well. As quoted in the Pivot Con wrap-up by Social Media Today contributor and fellow PivotCon speaker Maggie Fox, “’If we [Virgin Mobile] had a dude we could throw from the edge of space to get people to know about our salsa, of course we would do that!’ The reality is that brands can’t make all of the content they need themselves – and this is the point at which the final theme pulled it all together for me.’”

    The fourth and of course my favorite was the panel with our CEO Wendy Lea and Vala Afshar, just promoted to CMO od Enterasys after running Customer Service for years.  This panel provided testimony that CMOs need to understand and engage with customers. Wendy Lea talked about building authentic relationships with customers and prospects by using branded customer communities. Additionally the idea is to leverage that content as word-of-mouth marketing on websites.

    The major themes at PivotCon all touch the notion of social content. Content today is every brand’s coin of the realm—it needs to be engaging, authentic and of [course] public.

    Brian Solis, the producer of PivotCon recently wrote in his blog, The Erosion of Privacy and Why That’s A Good Thing, “publicity, not publicness is abundant. It is this publicity that accounts for the noise in social streams.”

    Publicity is easier for brands in the short term than “publicness.” PivotCon showed us that brands are getting serious about publicness. Brands are looking at how they will create meaningful relationships with customers without stand-ins.

    Brian Solis talks about your online persona as your own reality show, and that’s what companies are tasked with. The cameras are always on. Solis wrote, “In social networks, we are the architects of our experiences and also the personal impressions we create and display for others to interpret.”

    The ambassadors that represent the brand are important players—core to the business.  Additionally, where these ambassadors live and how they treat their guests is critical.

    Business executives who are incredible listeners and brilliant communicators will lead these brands to the right unique approach.

    Building trust and transparency with customers was a major theme at PivotCon. Brands build this by indicating that social needs to be authentic and not all about selling to prospects.   To Brian Solis’ point, “you have all of the power at your fingertips to define the ‘plausible you’ – the person and brand you wish others to see, admire, respect, and trust. It’s a shift from privacy….to build more meaningful relationships and through transparency earn a new level of trust that unlocks new opportunities.”

    Social is a business growth strategy. The c-suite is paying attention, and the proof reflected by how many senior executives attended PivotCon.



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    Wendy Lea

    About Wendy Lea

    Wendy Lea is the CEO of Get Satisfaction. Wendy currently serves as an angel investor, strategic advisor and board member for a long list of startup companies. Wendy chairs the board for women’s entrepreneur group Watermark and serves on the board of Silicon Valley Social Venture Capital (SV2.org) and Corporate Visions. She has been recognized as a Top 100 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley and was awarded the Watermark’s “Woman Who Made Her Mark” award.

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