Tag Archives: social media

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies

Asking a marketer to describe their brand’s content strategy is like asking my wife what she wants for dinner. You’ll hear 50 different answers that really only distill down to a handful of choices:

  • FORMAT – “We use video, images and real-time engagement…”
  • MEDIA – “We create paid, owned and earned experiences…”
  • CHANNEL – “We use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn…”
  • SOURCE – “We have curated, syndicated, and costume content…”
  • INTENT – “We drive traffic to our blog for lead gen and SEO…”

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian ParkerThe only answer you won’t hear is “I don’t know.”

While these inputs represent vital building blocks for connecting ideas, communities and people, successful content marketing strategies start with 2 core questions:

1. Who are we talking to… and why should they care?

2. What are we saying… and why should they share?

Content is the oxygen of your social media ecosystem. Strategy is the process of converting it into results by regulating what you do, why you do it and how. A content marketing strategy dependent on a specific channel, format or source will soon be on life-support as technology changes and interest wanes.

There is a better way. At Intuit we’ve had the opportunity to test, learn and iterate on several campaigns targeting global business professionals and small business owners. The content marketing strategy we’ve adopted focuses on maximizing the 2 core questions and scaffolding our content plans around consumer-driven motivations.

The best and worst of content marketing strategies come to life in 4 types:

4 Types of Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian Parker

WORST: Vanity Content

With lagging consumer relevancy and even lower trust, many traditional, outbound marketing tactics fall into the vanity category. Companies struggle to hit tomorrow’s revenue forecast and reach today’s audience with yesterday’s playbook.  Until recently the marketing solar system revolved around products and brands, not consumers. Mass scale was rewarded, encouraged and expected. Vanity content strategies are like a bad blind date that expects you to pay for dinner after blabbering about themselves through three painful courses. To be fair, vanity content pieces do have a place and a purpose but a strategy built on this approach is destined to fail. Just say no.

GOOD: Conversational Content

Conversational content powers Twitter timelines, serving as a virtual village where ideas go to spread or die. The steady stream of share-bait presents easy access to news, information, updates and random distractions. Done right, this approach requires dedicated resources who are equipped with the right tools and empowered by leaders. Like a great dinner party, the key to great conversational content is to start the discussion, not own it. Conversations can quickly become viral or convictional based on how audiences respond so leave room for the unplanned.

BETTER: Convictional Content

Content that evokes emotions, strengthens beliefs or confronts assumptions is challenging to produce yet powerful to consume. We often speak of “humanizing” or “personifying” our brand, alluding to the notion that people connect more easily with other people. This approach works extremely well when focused on the people behind your products and a story bigger than your brand. What this content approach lacks in scale it makes up for in transparency and trust. Great content elicits an action, which is the ultimate goal of most brand marketing and media. Instead of asking for the action, convictional content asks for a discussion.

BEST: Viral Content

The word “viral” has been abused more than Charlie’s bitten finger. By definition, the term denotes that new consumption comes from the activities of current consumers. Or said another way, users begat other users. Even within Intuit virality has various degrees. Sales enabling content for QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition (B2B) performs very differently from a TurboTax video campaign (B2C). While every piece of viral content isn’t necessarily marketing, all viral marketing delivers on the core 2 motivators: giving consumers a reason to share and care.

It begs an obvious question: In a world transformed by digital technology, why is viral content so prevalent online yet elusive for marketers? Easy answer: We’re busy creating innovative ways to talk about what we know best – ourselves.

Let’s Talk

In business, strategies answer obvious questions and question obvious answers. Any content plan will evolve over time but should always serve as a true north representation of what and who your brand stands for. Last week at Social Fresh West in San Diego I had the opportunity to discuss how to drive digital results by focusing on relationships. This “Care & Share Model” illustrates how it came together using a recent case study from Intuit. You can check out the full presentation on Slideshare or below.

I look forward to hearing how brands and small businesses alike tackle these challenges. If your content strategy had a Facebook page, would any of your customers like it? Leave a comment below with how you would rank your own content marketing strategy. Feel free to link to examples!

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

5 Signs Your Brand is Abusing Social Media

Everything and everyone has a purpose, an intended reason for being created. Birds were born to fly. Fish were formed to swim. Social media was made to________.

The word you used to fill in that blank reveals all you need to know about how successful social strategies will be at driving growth in your organization. Abuse – defined as “abnormal use” – simply means the utilization of something for a purpose it was not manufactured for. Pencils as cue tips, credit cards as therapists, food as a best friend and people as punching bags are all obvious examples of something abnormally used.

If you or your team have misaligned expectations about the role of social interactions there isn’t much chance fitting the proverbial square peg into the round hole. Over the last 3 years I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and coach business leaders across the globe and I’ve learned to spot the social media abusers fairly quickly. There are usually 5 ways businesses abuse social media so watch out for these warnings signs in your organization:

5 Signs Social Media Abuse - Adrian Parker Intuit

1) You get an email every month asking how much revenue was driven from Facebook. Social connections and peer recommendations hugely impact purchase decisions but using your channels as a direct response vehicle is the #1 sign you’re an abuser. This offense is worsened if you actually reply to said email with a dollar figure and no other context about your customers. Measuring the value of social activity purely in dollar signs is like measuring the ROI of your mom by her life insurance amount. It doesn’t make sense and actually impairs the ROI of your efforts by missing the bigger picture (lifetime value, media efficiency, loyalty, recommendations and trust). Click here for more on social attribution models and ROI.

2) Your customer care team isn’t actively monitoring social channels. When you said “yes” to using Twitter to connect with customers you also said “yes” to providing timely answers and follow-up to relevant inquiries. It’s a marriage. For richer or for poorer you have a responsibility to be present in the conversation even when it’s not convenient. Companies that sell or serve online have an obligation to treat online conversations in the same manner they would address a face-to-face interaction. Would you like to know how responsive you are as a brand? Try the Twitter Customer Analysis report from Simply Measured (it’s free).

3) You talk about yourself all day. Every day. Can you (Adrian is hot) imagine how (Adrian can’t cook) annoying (Adrian is from Texas) it is to attempt to (Adrian misses his hair) converse with (Adrian wants you to read this) someone who is constantly (Adrian has a budget meeting today) talking about themselves. Just stop it. Inside our companies we all spend an obsessive amount of time talking to, at and about our products as if the earth is still flat and the sun revolves around them. Outside your conference room is where the real world starts. It’s round, customers are real people and relationships matter. Here’s my 37-slide point-of-view on how to create content that drives connections.

4) The leaders who decide social budgets, staffing and resources aren’t active online. Your CMO doesn’t need to have a verified Twitter account or a custom WordPress blog but the key trigger-pullers in your organization do need to be present and participatory online. It truly is the only way to form an accurate end-to-end picture of how to best utilize social as a business mechanism. Imagine Jennifer Quotson, Visual Merchandising Director for Starbucks, procuring vendors to redesign their stores without ever stepping inside one. Better yet, picture Ross Meyercord, CIO of Salesforce.com, deciding next year’s staffing and expense plan without an understanding of customer trends or cloud adoption rates. It’s laughable but it happens more frequently than you think. As a leader, when you reduce your brand’s online experience to a row in an Excel spreadsheet you’re ill-equipped to make intelligent decisions about how best to drive growth. Shifting a company culture to a social first mindset isn’t easy but here are some tools to start the journey.

5) One team “owns” social media or mobile. Social media is ultimately about connections, not control. If one group holds the keys to the kingdom (either by design or default) you’re driving a Porsche 911 stuck in neutral. The true power of these peer connections is realized when a company’s culture embraces engagement as an opportunity to learn, hear and connect more with the people who keep you in business. It’s not a PR function or a marketing campaign, though those are key elements. With 1 billion people on Facebook and half the United States using a smartphone, digital and mobile strategy is everyone’s job. Realign your team and recalibrate your mindset or you may very well be the bottleneck to progress. Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons your social strategy is incomplete without mobile.

Abuse – abnormal use – can be expected with nascent, emerging technologies that require us all to flex muscles in new ways. With constant change comes constant learning. The opportunity lies in dispelling misinformation regarding interactive marketing and enabling both teams and leaders to learn new ways to drive growth from the inside out. Stop the abuse and take the time to do it right.

I’d love to hear from social media leaders and marketers alike. What are some ways you see social engagement mis-used in organizations and what are the barriers to increasing our social IQ? Leave a comment below.

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Leadership, Social Media

Put A Ring On It: Moving Beyond Social Engagement

Social media has significantly changed business but business is also changing the way we do social media.  How do you measure, monetize and optimize social interactions in a business environment?  Look no further than your marriage.  Everything I’ve learned about social media I got from my wife.  Kinda.

This is a quick share of the presentation slides and a video from the WCG Social Commerce event at SXSW 2013.  I was honored to speak to and learn from some of the most brilliant brands and digital minds around.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

ROI can come from the most important places.  Many thanks to my wife Alisha for being a good sport and awesome partner.

Video created by UPG

Slideshare presentation: Put A Ring On It: Moving Beyond Social Engagement

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, intuit, Learnings & Insight

4 Reasons Your Social Strategy Is Incomplete Without Mobile

It finally happened.  Last year social and mobile tied the knot in a private ceremony and now they’re having kids.  With smartphone adoption in the U.S. surging to new heights and social networking surpassing pornography as the #1 online activity, business as usual is obsolete.  Interactive strategies must now solve for social experiences on a mobile device and mobile content consumed socially.  Anything less is simply insufficient.

At Intuit, we’ve taken this task to heart.  Our CEO Brad Smith is bullish about reimagining our products and services to fully realize the fruits of a social, mobile and global world.  For my team, this means our social and mobile marketing strategies live within the same group and we plan activities simultaneously with collaboration from our web and product partners.  It’s not an easy journey but it is a necessary one.  I believe there are 4 reasons to begin building out a true SoMo (social/mobile) approach to business.

4 Reasons Your Social Strategy is Incomplete Without Mobile

1. A social-only strategy is a job half-done
Brand have an obligation to stay social in a mobile world.  As consumer usage shifts from online/desktop toward mobile, everything has changed.  And nothing has changed.  In Intuit’s accounting professional division, 70% of our accounting and tax professionals are on a smartphone, and about 30% of those professionals are using a tablet.  We’ve evolved our approach to serve customers in their channel of choice.  Users can access software, training, social information and content as easily from a mobile device as they can from their desktop. Concurrently, if you see product information on LinkedIn, a blog or a forum, we’ll also provide that info via email or a representative’s phone call.

Our goal is to “leave no desktop behind.”  We’re still going to support our desktop software users who are more comfortable and confident in that environment.  Meanwhile, we continue to build up capability for the future.  It’s no longer enough to have one page, one language or one mobile device.  The most powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool is a great product experience.  A focus on delighting costumers begins and ends with great product, with marketing being the gracious host.

2. Consumer connections are the offspring of social and mobile getting hitched
Social and mobile proliferation creates limitless opportunity for us to connect with real people.  Customers are engaging on their mobile device or via a social channel long before they visit Intuit.com, call a sales representative or interact with a retail worker.  For Intuit’s accounting professionals division, we now have a virtual seat at that table when customers are having the conversations about our brand. Then we can observe, influence and respond in real-time. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with users in ways that weren’t possible two years ago.  For instance, a tax professional can now do their client’s taxes while they’re on their iPad, sitting on the beach.  A CPA can get trained and certified in QuickBooks Online on their iPhone while they’re waiting in an airport.  After completion, they can even share progress across social channels and tell their clients that they are certified with one click of a button to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.  All made possible by the marriage of SoMo.

3. Technology will only continue to shrink the world, raise the bar and stretch our boundaries
Brands must now be trilingual, with complete mastery of social, mobile and global best practices because customers expect it.  Once you shift to a social, mobile-first mindset, you’re automatically  global because conversations take place anywhere across the world.  No longer is there a barrier.  We recently launched global-ready training that can be viewed on any mobile device across the board, whether it’s Windows, iOS or Android.  We’re exploring global-ready experiences on YouTube page that auto-detect location and adjust language and content settings.  Being device and geography agnostic requires organizational commitments.  For global corporations, it’s inadequate to have one web experience, one language or one mobile device.  Relevancy requires having a portfolio mindset.

4. Brands cannot live by Facebook tabs alone
When I started in social media three-plus years ago, every campaign was centered on a gorgeous Facebook tab with a promotional call to action.  It was a creative extension of your traditional marketing campaign. These days, you need robust photos, video, text and content on the timeline that really create authentic engagement.  It’s no longer enough to build out a core tab function.  Facebook is doing a lot of work to really integrate more of those functions into the mobile dialogue, but for the most part, users are in their newsfeed – wanting to hear from their friends and family.  Not only does it provide a barrier for brands, but also it requires we earn our way into the conversation. Simply put, it’s sink or swim time.

As always, perfection is elusive so the focus should be on progressing your efforts year over year.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how social and mobile intersect to impact how you go-to-market, or not.

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Filed under Learnings & Insight, Mobile, Social Media

What is Intuit’s Approach To Building Agile Content?

 

Back in April 2012 I led a discussion at the PR Newswire Content Marketing & Communications Leadership Forum in Dallas to discuss best practices and swap updates.  PR Newswire wrote a quick overview of the session that can be viewed on their blog.

During a video interview after the event they asked me a very simple question: what is your approach to agile communications and content?

I gave a not-so-simple answer.  Check it out below.

 

 

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Filed under Innovation, Social Media

15 Signs of a Great Community Manager

From Fortune 500 corporations to mom & pop shops, community management is arguably the most pivotal function of any social media team. A brand is the sum of its parts and oftentimes the person behind the social channel becomes the eyes, ears, voice and face of your brand’s online footprint. Choose carefully.

I’ve been lucky to meet, work with, teach and even learn from some of the best Community Managers in the industry. Whether you’re looking for new talent or assessing the performance of your current roster, these are 15 signs of a great Community Manager:

      1. They have immediate access to the pulse of what’s going on in your industry and among your customers. A great Community Manager doesn’t wait for the weekly company buzz report, they write it.
      2. They have empathetic eyes, possessing an ability to view online content and campaigns from the consumer’s perspective. They know their audience and continually seek ways to improve the customer experience from the inside out.
      3. They don’t just seek ways to improve (see #2), they actually act on solutions. Great Community Managers have a bias for action.
      4. They are multilingual when it comes to media. They produce videos, pictures and promotions with the same ease as writing posts and articles.
      5. They have a passion for engagement and conversing with customers that is infectious. They overwhelm you with creative ideas and are a constant source of good thinking.
      6. They are “professionally offended” if their content fails to get engagement and immediately seek constructive ways to do better next time. Great Community Managers never stop optimizing.
      7. They spend more time conversing with customers than sitting in a room talking about them. They monitor your social channel metrics daily and don’t depend solely on Radian6 to be your online ears.
      8. They regularly scrutinize your brand, your peers, competition and influencers to garner ideas of what can be done better or differently.
      9. They love to test, learn and derive insights from new technology. Change doesn’t paralyze, it invigorates.
      10. They are mobile-savvy and equally comfortable engaging on a phone or tablet as a desktop. They have created the proper barriers between the work account and their personal accounts to prevent social snafus.
      11. They engage on evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure your brand has a human voice that participates in relevant cultural and industry happenings. They do this without being asked.
      12. They know your company’s vision and can clearly articulate your strategy and how social impacts all of the above.
      13. They have an urgent desire to amplify your online presence tempered with an understanding that it takes time to grow. Great Community Managers are patiently impatient.
      14. They spend time each day reading about trends, happenings and people in order to develop a perspective for your brand.
      15. They have an expert understanding of each social channel’s publishing, reporting and administrative tools. Don’t assume this is common knowledge.

Perhaps the best sign of a great Community Manager is fairly simple: they read lists like this and immediately identify key areas where they can do better to help your brand. I’m grateful for the great folks I know.

Are you a Community Manager? Let me know what you think of the list and what indicators you think are valuable when looking for competent talent in this emerging space.

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

Elevate: Launching and Leading A Social Media Practice

On June 7, 2010 the late Steve Jobs took the stage at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco to announce Apple’s latest break through release, the iPhone 4.  The tag line read “This changes everything. Again.”

He wasn’t lying.

I was 6 months into my newly minted role managing social media for RadioShack, their first foray into the space.  This announcement signaled the end of my honeymoon phase and represented the first time in RadioShack’s 90-year history that the iconic retailer would be a launch-day destination for Apple devices. Previously they only received Cupertino’s finest imports after the national release and  after the competition.

That day we sardined into a conference room, throwing out options and brainstorms for how on earth we could tell the masses we would be slanging Apples.  The launch was in 17 days, which meant we had 7 days to convince customers we were actually selling the device and 7 hours to say it first.  Every eye in the room was like a spotlight facing my direction.  Enter social media.

Social Media Takes Center Stage

Seemingly overnight, social media at  RadioShack accelerated from being a nascent, emerging tool for niche conversations to an urgent channel for driving the business. What was previously a thermometer – reacting to consumer and business stimuli – became  a thermostat, setting the pace for how our brand comes to life across 35,000 associates in 27 countries and 6,000 stores.

It was the end of my honeymoon and the beginning of an inevitable journey.  The business no longer needed someone to manage social.  They needed someone to lead it.  My approach was no longer sufficient.  They needed a visionary and a coach more than a community manager.  The business required internal alignment and strategy, not just advocacy.  It was time for me and social media to grow up.

I’m convinced any conversation about social business has one undeniable punchline: social leadership.  When done right, social media marketing evolves into a business practice that builds internal and external relationships across the organization.  It was never intended to be a solo show.  For me, this conversion from circus act to ring leader involved 7 points of individual and organizational elevation.

Social leaders must elevate…

1. From Community Manager to Coach

Community is the currency of social media.  Managing those relationships is vital, but it’s also teachable and transferable.  Recruit the right talent and give them permission to fail.  I know, it’s one of the hardest things to do but also the most critical.  Don’t expect them to say and do things exactly how you would.  Instead, a good coach builds a playbook that agencies, interns and co-workers can follow.  Create a social media  practice that works without you, not because of you.

2. From Evangelist to Educator

My focus is no longer on spreading the gospel of social media.  Ironically, the ever-growing ocean of stats, facts and figures regarding social usage are useless until you educate your business on how to be social.  This requires an elevation in your approach.  Speak to people about data, specific use-cases, financial impact and consumer response.  Most CMOs already know the cost of social so it’s a leader’s job to show the value.

3. From External Advocacy to Internal Alignment

Without an audience there is no brand.  Without alignment there is no business.  Outreach to influencers and brand ambassadors requires dedicated efforts across the organization.  As a social chief, it becomes my job to balance this external focus with my internal function as a liaison, ensuring we deliver on the conversations our advocates are having.  It’s perfectly OK to have multiple leaders own a piece of social strategy.  In fact, it’s a sign of organizational maturity. Just remember: leadership is plural, vision is singular.  Elevate and be the visionary.

4. From Test & Learn to Prove & Do

Innovation is important but it’s not everything (I can’t believe I just typed that).  Once you test a platform and evaluate its merits, it’s time to take action.  I had to elevate my conversations from mere recaps of engagement metrics (likes, fans, followers, retweets, etc.) to performance measures that are relevant to the business.  Contrary to popular opinion, there is a ROI component to social media and it’s the leader’s responsibility to represent this internally.  Here are the 4 measures I have found most valuable:

1. Competitive Share of Voice – How much of the online conversation did we impact/influence versus our competitive set? Measured via Radian6, Alterian or whatever your listening tool of choice is.

2. Media Efficiency – How much money did we save by using social channels and tactics versus conventional media?  Measured by calculating a CPM for the total audience and comparing directly to paid media rates (or industry benchmarks if you’re in PR).

3. Revenue Attribution – How many sales transactions resulted from this campaign? Measured by injecting a direct response component (unique code, digital tracking, etc.) into the social experience that connects potential customers to actual transactions.

4. Online Profit – How much profit (return on ad spend) did this interactive campaign drive.  If your business has an e-commerce function this is simply measured using the same approach as other digital drivers.

5. From Brand Program to Business Practice

As it matures, social becomes much bigger than a marketing channel.  Leading a practice requires oversight of enterprise-wide needs that fall well beyond the job description of a community manager or individual contributor.  This includes budgeting for operational support and social advertising, constantly reviewing agency rosters to assess scope and competency, evolving and championing staffing plans and procuring proven talent for specialized needs.  This point of elevation required me to take off the rock star hat and build a stage where everyone can have rock star results.

6. From Mobile as 3rd Screen to 1st Screen

I’ll admit it.  Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is increasing faster than the I.Q. of most marketers.  What was once an extension of our traditional campaigns has become the center of our consumer interactions.  Forty percent of social users are accessing the channels via mobile devices and some, my wife included, have no clue what the desktop version of Facebook even looks like.  I suppose we can thank Mr. Jobs for that as well.

7. From Policies to Protection

This one isn’t much fun.  When I wrote the social media policy for The Shack, it was intended to instill guiding principles and philosophies for navigating the online space.  It was an internal document with an intentional focus – protect our brand from itself.  The most urgent need now is protection from others.  The business of social media is the business of trust.  Without it, disaster ensues.  That trust must be protected by guarding privacy, securing intellectual property, scrutinizing licensing agreements and even counteracting legal claims.  Technology has created immense opportunity, especially for lawyers.  Leaders keep their enemies close and their lawyer on speed-dial.

What’s Next?

Managing communities, growing advocates, testing technology and crafting creative marketing programs are the core of social media and abundantly necessary.  A social leader must be able to manage these critical components while also looking at the bigger, sometimes blurry, picture.  These are the guiding principles I will take with me in my new position leading social, mobile and emerging media at Intuit.  I start next Monday.

I’m looking forward to presenting them today at the Social Fresh conference in Tampa.  As a follow-up, I’m committing to post links and more detailed examples of the tools I used to elevate.  If you find them helpful let me know your thoughts and if you totally disagree, let me know why.

UPDATE: Follow the tag #ElevateSocial for more updates, including my SlideShare presentation and a follow-up blog post, Staying Social Fresh.

AP

Twitter – @adriandparker
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/adriandparker

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Filed under Leadership, Social Media

10 Things I’ll Miss About RadioShack

Stephen had a horrible poker face.  I couldn’t read his mind but as I examined his eyes I was sure of one thing: he was dreaming up something that would make me uncomfortable.

It was October 9, 2009 and I was sitting across from RadioShack’s VP of Marketing at the time.  We swapped philosophies on retail management, leadership styles, life passions and perspectives on why Redbox was destined to kick Blockbuster’s butt from the beginning.

Then the discussion took an interesting twist.  “What do you think about social media?  Would you be interested in figuring it out for us?”

Funny thing is, I don’t recall what I actually said but I do remember what I thought.  Instantly, I remembered launching an online TV network and forum in 2003 for Footaction USA, 2 years before YouTube.  It failed.

I reminisced about Locker Freakz, the online sneakerhead community we built for Foot Locker that was accessed via a secret 3D lenticular code.  Not many people bothered in 2005.

And of course I couldn’t forget the pride and joy of unveiling one of the first MySpace pages at Liz Claiborne for the MEXX brand in 2006!   We all know how that ended.

Aside from my personal use of social networks and some freelance stuff for non-profits, my social media journey was littered with digital skeletons.  For pride’s sake I’d like to think I was a man ahead of my time.  A digital Da Vinci of sorts.  Dreaming up helicopters and solar power before we ever realized the Earth was actually not the center of the universe.  Or not.

Whatever the case, the conversation that day planted a seed worth watering.  Two years later and the RadioShack social practice has blossomed beyond my greatest expectations.  This time around, the team can look back and see thriving programs that raised the bar and built a blueprint for an iconic brand.  The skeletons have become lessons.

Today is my last day at The Shack.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with, learn from, challenge and grow alongside such a talented team.  Staying true to my sappy heritage, here’s my list of the top 10 things I’ll miss at RadioShack.

10. Cupcakes


I seriously gained at least 15 pounds my first year here.  From birthdays to baby showers, we never turn down an opportunity to dine on these delightful little devils.

9. Cycling

Mouthfuls of cupcakes in 2010 led to miles of cycling in 2011.  Our Team RadioShack partnership introduced me to an intriguing sport and a community of people who are dedicated to beating cancer.  (Yes, I’ll take my bike to Plano)

8. Award Hardware

I remain immensely proud of the work this team has delivered in such a short time.  Having the opportunity to accept a Forrester Research Groundswell award on behalf of our social team and agency partners is something not easily forgotten.  The award will stay here where it belongs.

7. Meeting Tweeple

I’ve been all over the U.S. representing the brand and flipping the switch on mental light bulbs as people rediscovered RadioShack.  Our Twitter chats and Facebook promotions were notable, but no replacement for a handshake, a face-to-face discussion, a concert ticket gifted to an unexpected fan or the thrill of hearing thousands of fans scream “RadioShack!” as their favorite cyclist races by.

6. Lawyers

Yep, lawyers.  RadioShack attorneys aren’t just mere legal experts wielding torts and bylaws.  These studs are lawyers by trade and cowboys by birth.  Many have worked here since nineteen-eighty-sumthin’ and they remind me of Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones‘ characters from the western film classic Lonesome Dove.  My favorite RadioShack cowboy is Toss Hobbs who penned the all-time best response for employees who insists they have the right to curse out their employer online (immortalized in the pic above).

5. Paulisms

Every office has a Paul.  He’s the guy who has perfected the art of the corporate cliché to the point where it comes way too naturally.  Paul’s finest phraseology includes: “All boats rise.  Top of the trees.  Don’t boil the ocean.  That’s not a big idea.  Circle the wagons.  Peel back the onion.  Low hanging fruit.”  Interestingly enough, we all know what he means.  You will be missed my friend.

4. Videos

The team produced more than 260 videos in 1 year and doubled our YouTube views.  These guys unboxed phones, crashed CES, bonded with geeks, discovered the Abominable Snowman and brought a 90-year-old brand to life.  I should have been an agent.

3. Nerd Power

Once upon a time geeks ruled the world and RadioShack was their playground.  These days they still call the shots and we’re trying to win them back.  In 2011 we made a concerted, deliberate effort to re-engage the DIY community and start a real conversation.  The feedback we received was real, warranted and way overdue.  Ultimately it’s made us a stronger marketing team by enhancing the most critical exercise of all, listening.

2. Friends of The Shack

If good help is hard to find then I struck the goldmine.  Our agencies (BSSP, Mindshare, imc2, Weber Shandwick) are second to none and I was lucky to work with such passionate partners.  The campaigns we produced working with Facebook, foursquare, Twitter, Google and other social allies collectively moved the needle and taught us all a thing or two in the process. [My 5 Favorite RadioShack Social Media Campaigns]

1. Team RadioShack

This one’s predictable but certain.  The RadioShack family is 35,000 members strong and my wife and I are proud of our time together.  Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, RadioShack always represented technology, innovation and community.  It’s great to know those things still remain true and the brand is in capable hands.

See you soon!

Twitter – @adriandparker
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/adriandparker

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, RadioShack

10 Ways Social Media Can Get You Laid Off

Found this blog post on Thoughtpick by Beirut titled,  Fun-List: Top 10 Ways in Which Social Media Can Get You Fired!

Speaking as someone who wrote and implemented a corporate Social Media Policy, I can confirm that your online conversations are easier to track, capture and report than most realize. A great rule of thumb: When in doubt, don’t!

Shout out to Beirut for a great piece. Click here to check it out!

 

Leave a comment. Do you know of anyone who had a social media meltdown and lost their gig? Did you?

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Filed under Learnings & Insight, Social Media

365 Days of Social Media: How I Learned by Shutting My Mouth

One year ago today I traded in my brand consulting hat for a full-time gig as head of social media for RadioShack Corporation.  RadioShack (aka “The Shack”) was an iconic retail brand in the middle of an immense push to amplify their voice and give consumers a compelling reason to tune back in.  And there I was, a guy who made a living showing, telling and selling others on how to make their marketing work smarter. A love affair ensued.

Of course, as with interpersonal relationships, there were strings attached. To be quite transparent, though I was blessed with a career working with some really great brands and people, I was not a social media guru (imagine the shame). To effectively embrace the shift from employer to employee, marketing generalist to social specialist and agency to client, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I shut up.

Why? After years of always having the answers, it was nice to listen, learn, unlearn and focus on asking the right questions.  Focus is a fruit of priorities so I chose to do a little self-pruning in order to make social media a professional priority, not just a personal hobby.

I went radio silent on my own social branding efforts. No more personal blogging. No more consulting sessions. Tweeting was sporadic at best. Though I love speaking at conferences and swapping ideas, you couldn’t find me on any panel. Equipped with only a handful of questions and a good attitude, I jumped head first into this space, determined to understand both social media and The Shack from the inside out.

There’s a material reason practically every business planning process begins with the same first step, research.  Afterall, being understood as a problem-solver requires that you first understand the problem. The not-so-obvious challenge to many in interactive marketing and emerging media, especially on the brand side, is we oftentimes must construct our own research through experience.  This isn’t research in the traditional sense of analytics, insights, segmentation and data mining, though that’s critically important too. The experiences required to birth and grow a sustainable social media presence on the enterprise level involve an additional layer of education.

I like to call it a Social Media Learning Plan. Essentially, it’s a hands-on approach to figuring out what to do while testing how to do it.  Mine consisted of 3 related, yet discreet, phases:

Phase 1: Identify and understand your audience from the outside in.

Phase 2: Transform social media goals into enterprise-wide objectives.

Phase 3: Test, learn and implement the strategy while building the tools to support.

It begins and ends with doing, learning is the hard earned by-product. A learning plan means making a deliberate effort not to pull the trigger and, instead, opting to educate yourself about your weapon, the ammunition and, most importantly, the target.  While considered table stakes in some industries, planning for interactive learning is a luxury in retail that often decays under tremendous pressure to perform, exceed and adjust simultaneously.

Over the next several days, I’d like to remove the virtual duct tape from my mouth and share this learning plan along with the fruits of my 365 days of social learning. From missteps and milestones to failures and discoveries, experience has been a great teacher. Of course, I’d love to swap learnings, resources and perspectives on interactive marketing with you. It’s also an exciting time to be in the Consumer Electronics and Mobility sector – I’ll discuss tech info when I can.

As always, feedback is a gift.

Thx for taking the time to read and feel free to connect with me on Twitter at @adriandparker.

AP

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, RadioShack, Social Media