Social Business Enables Better Marketing. It’s The Truth

Social Business Enables Better Marketing. It’s The Truth

Marketers have a bad wrap and it’s understandable. For years, college professors have been teaching old school marketing theories such as the 4 P’s of marketing with the 4th P being Promotion (or marketing). This is still the truth in the majority of today’s college curriculum (with some exceptions of course). And even today, many marketers are using social media to share marketing messages without any regard for building meaningful communities that can drive true business value.  And the ones who actually get it (I would classify myself in that category, thank you very much) are often poked fun at by the enterprise IT consultants and technologists because of our heritage. I don’t blame them and often poke fun back because well … that’s another blog post.

Point being, we all know what the outcomes of social business transformation can be … a more connected organization, culture change, stakeholder value, faster more efficient customer support, innovation, enterprise collaboration, employee engagement and (insert all the other buzz words).

But one outcome, which isn’t talked about much, is how social business can enable better marketing. I believe this. I believe this just about as much I as I believe that Magic Johnson is the greatest player to have ever played the game of basketball. And if you know me well, you know I am serious and can argue for days about this topic and usually win.

Here are a few examples of how this works. It’s not theory. It wasn’t a dream or vision.  And I didn’t read it somewhere. This works and I have done it. I believe it.

  • Real Time Marketing: Content is the number one challenge for marketing organizations today; especially for global firms with multiple social media channels and stakeholders. A social business (via collaboration, knowledge sharing, process creation and governance) can enable marketing to create content that matters – relevant content (the right content, at the right time, in the right channel, to the right customer).  This is done by creating a collaborative narrative about the product or brand internally coupled with real time monitoring of brand/industry related topics and conversations.
  • Real Time Monitoring: The establishment of a real time monitoring center (or command center or social listening center) requires a significant amount of cross-functional collaboration with customer support, IT, operations and applicable business units. The last thing marketers should be doing is making technology decisions without consulting with, or better yet, partnering with IT. Real time monitoring can ensure that the organization is front and center in the conversation – handling/escalating support issues, intercepting sales related conversations or general community engagement. And marketing teams are on the engagement front lines and have the opportunity to become more strategic in the organization by driving social business initiatives.
  • Marketing Analytics:  There are two truths about social media analytics.  Either organizations aren’t measuring their social media marketing efforts OR everyone in the organization is measuring it differently. In either case, that’s an ugly problem. Especially when the CMO wants to know how many people were reached globally through social media or is curious about engagement rates were for a given time-frame. A collaborative analytics framework will ensure everyone in the organization is measuring social consistently and will enable marketers to shift and iterate their content strategy based on real time data; and of course give the CMO what he/she wants, when he/she wants it.
  • Marketing Governance: I have written about the Social Business Center or Excellence in the past.  One responsibility of this team is to create systems and processes that will enable other marketing organizations, product teams, geographies and regions to build social media programs locally that can scale and take into consideration those very specific cultural trends and behaviors. Again, this goes back to content. Also, this type of governance can prevent organizations from creating a multitude of external communities without proper planning like identifying a community manager, content plan, measurement and crisis plan. The last thing you want for your business is 178 social media channels that undoubtedly confuse the hell out of customers.

I am sure you have your own examples of how social business can enable better marketing. These of course are my opinions. But hey, what do I know? I am just a marketer.

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Social media serves different purposes for different businesses.  The metrics that one company uses to measure success will be different than the metric used by the next company.  It’s important to develop a plan and how it will be measured from the get go.  

  • Marjorie Clayman

    So I’m just gonna skip on real quick through the part where I mention how much I love your posts, cuz like, that’s SO boring (but really, I do) and point to something that might be a whole can of worms.

    To wit, when did promotion become a bad word, per your first paragraph?

    At its heart, all promoting really means is telling other people about something, whether it’s someone else’s work, your work, something your kids did, or the fact that your puppy is the best trained canine in the world. You can promote ideas, services, brands, utopian dreams, whatever you want. Why is promoting bad? When did that happen exactly? Has it always been so?

    If you are a business using social media to marketing your brand/services/whatevers, you have to do some small amount of promotion, right? Otherwise you’re just chatting with people. Promoting, if done with grace and care, can not only be ungross (professional term), but it can actually be helpful. 

    So, are we potentially missing the boat by painting promotion in such an ugly way? Are we giving the impression to companies that saying anything about themselves online is inappropriate? If so, that could be a real serious problem. 

  • Michael Brito

    Thank you Marjorie, as usual.

    Maybe I didn’t approach the first couple of paragraphs the right way. Promotion isn’t a bad word at all. It’s when promotion is front and center in all social activity/community building that it’s an issue.
    At the end of the day, brands (big and small) have to decide if they can add value to the conversation. And value doesn’t always mean promotion .. Unless of course you live in Asia where most customers want the promotions/discounts/etc


    Michael Brito
    SVP, Social Business Planning
    Edelman Digital | San Francisco

  • Marjorie Clayman

    I wonder if companies are understanding that distinction though. I’m not just pointing to your paragraph, but it made me realize that a lot of the advice you see in the online world sort of implies that any type of company promotion is bad news (although promoting oneself seems to be ok. Weird that). I wonder if companies are finding that confusing. Prove your sales, prove your ROI, measure what you’re doing, but don’t promote. Is the nuance being pounded enough? I’m thinking maybe not.

  • Riley Gibson

    Hi Michael – this is such a good post.  I have been struggling for a few month to figure out where my company fits in all the change and craziness of social media. Looking at social business and how it can fuel better marketing really helps to crystalize something I believe: When it comes to social networks like Facebook, companies are placing too much emphasis on sweepstakes and yet another promotion, instead of cultivating more engaged and collaborative communities that drive business value in terms of insights, customer loyalty, and even innovation.  

  • Michael Brito


    Thanks for the note. I agree with you. Contests and sweepstakes might help fuel community growth but the content is what will turn friends, fans and followers into advocates (in my opinion.)
    Appreciate the comment.

  • Chen Lavonia

    that’s SO boring (but really, I do) and point to something that might be a whole can of worms.