On October 25th, 2011, I met with Columbia Business School's Centers and Programs Group to share best social media practices and online marketing advice. David Rogers [see The Network Is Your Customer by David Rogers] joined me, sharing perspective gained as Executive Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership. After our formal comments, we participated in a Q&A moderated by Brett Essler, web editor for CBS.
The event was great fun with plenty of discussion and thoughtful questions. You see, Columbia Business School has already established a robust Facebook Fan Page and YouTube channel [including a successful series called Ask Admissions], Twitter account, Flickr group, and iTunes playlists [note: may want to launch iTunes].
Many of Columbia Business School's Centers have established Facebook and Twitter presences and are in the midst of figuring out what makes most sense given each's distinct area of focus. The Centers, by the way, provide a bridge between business theory and practice; they've become an important part of the MBA experience.
The online marketing advice I shared addressed what I consider critical to social media success. Namely,
- Establish goals
- Be willing to interact, engage and experiment as people rather than as brands or institutions
- Remember that each network is different. Don't think of social media as a broadcast medium.
- Integrate efforts around a hub [ideally a blog on your website]
- Produce remarkable and relevant content consistently. Social platforms are hungry mouths to feed! Know what's important to your audience and what's appropriate to specific social networks
- This is a long term commitment: a marathon rather than a sprint
I also brought up these strategic questions that every business [or Center] should ask itself:
- What are you about? What value do you offer audiences? [Be sure to listen intensely!]
- Who is your audience? [Develop personas.]
- What action would you like your audience to take? [What are your goals?]
- How is your audience finding you now? What are your most effective search terms/keywords? Where is your audience congregating now?
- What does success look like? How will you manage content and engagement?
What would you add to either of these lists?
Can you imagine how an educational institution might leverage the rich academic content environment and extended community to create engagement using social media and online marketing? How might you do it? It's certainly different from the experience I had as a student, but one I would find hugely relevant! Talk about bringing theory and practice to life! Wouldn't an ongoing Twitter chat series with specific professors be interesting?
Thank you Caroline Hasegawa and Katrina Barnas for inviting me!