One of the coolest things about social media is that ANYONE can take part in using it. No matter what level of experience or education one may have, the platforms are there for anyone to leverage. Increasingly, we’re seeing members of the C-suite take control of social media themselves and thinking of new ways to bring into their organizations.
As CEO of NM Incite (a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey), Dave Hudson is proof positive that senior leadership can serve as a springboard for social media. We could all learn a thing or two—or ten—from what an executive like Dave could offer up about social media. As you’ll see, he had his AHA moment in one of the unlikeliest of places.
On that note, Dave, when was your first “AHA” moment being introduced to the power of social media?
A few years ago we were remodeling our kitchen. We had an idea about what we wanted in terms of brands for our major appliances. Once I started reading product reviews and remodeling blogs, I decided to go a totally different direction. Based on simply reading what other consumers had written, I redirected thousands of dollars of spend. That was my “aha” moment.
How do you explain the value of social media to brands and companies out there who are aware of its power and influence, yet unsure how to best leverage the platforms?
There are a few myths that we try to dispel for brands when we work with them on building out a social media strategy. Social media should not be a “one size fits all” approach and executives need to understand this. With so many conversations happening in so many places, it’s important to understand where conversations are happening for different segments across the consumer decision journey, and where you are most likely to have an impact with your social media initiatives. A focused approach will allow for the greatest impact and the highest return on investment.
Also, there is a lot of focus on the volume of conversation, but companies should be equally concerned about the reach of that conversation. How many people have been exposed to discussions about my brand? If you have 10,000 people talking about your brand, but that conversation is read by only 10,000 other people, it probably doesn’t matter that much. But if those 10,000 mentions are read by a million or 10 million people, and that conversation happens to be negative, you’ve got a big issue to deal with. Marketers have always understood the power of word of mouth. Social media is word of mouth on steroids.
What does transparency mean to you, both personally as well as within your organization?
To me, transparency for both people and in business means owning up to problems and mistakes that are an inevitably part of everyday life. Social media has really ratcheted up the importance of transparency, authenticity and trust. We no longer live in a world where companies can pretend like they don’t make mistakes. Customers now have a bigger stake in controlling the conversation and companies and executives not only need to learn how to become more comfortable with this, but how to use authenticity and transparency to their advantage.