OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: BlogHer Business Closing Keynote: Be a Social Media Champion

BlogHer Original Post

Updated: 6:20 PM

Welcome to the liveblog of the BlogHer Business '10 panel: Closing Keynote: Being a Social Media Champion.

This panel starts at 5:15pm and ends at 6:15pm Eastern time on August 5, 2010. Keep refreshing this page as the panel takes place for more liveblogging!


Integrated social media strategies are slowly becoming the rule, rather than the exception at Fortune 500 companies. The companies that are charging ahead tend to have a couple of things in common: An executive level internal champion, willing to be a social media champion in the C-Suite and the Board Room, and a consultative evangelist who helps them make the case. These are the companies who are charging ahead, taking the risks and reaping the measurable rewards. Carol Hymowitz, Editor-in-Chief of ForbesWoman, moderates this conversation with Leslie Dance, VP Brand Marketing and Communications at Kodak; Jory Des Jardins, co-founder of BlogHer, Inc.; Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace; and Lesley Pinckney, General Manager of

Meanwhile, check out more BlogHer '10-related posts:



Carol Hymowitz (CH)
Diane Hessan (DH)
Lesley Pinckney (LP)
Sandy Carter [VP of IBM and Social Media Evangelist] (SC)
Jory Des Jardins (JDJ)

CH: Everyone here is a convert to social media but for it to work it requires a lot of buy-in at every level up to the very top of the organization.

CH: Nobody can do this alone - need buy in from the powerful people at the top.

SC: IBM started with social media in 2005 and started with posting YouTube videos. Sandy posted a video without asking permission. Was a top 10 video for 88 weeks. HQ noticed when video was tagged with porn. Easily fixed.

Invited to discuss ROI. Helped social media at IBM gain some angels.

CH: How do you show ROI?

DH: If you can't show how to measure results you'll always be the "kids" i.e. junior and won't get strategic assignments. If execs say I don't understand why we need to be on Facebook how do you take it out of social media language and introduce power language, e.g. test, measure, ... and translate from lurk, tweet, etc... Make a business case. Maybe it's reduce cycle time, increase market share, ... Which disasters can you help people avoid?

Example: guy sued Kraft because Oreos made him fat. Agency brought in social media conversations (guy/lawsuit are silly) to lawyers to help them understand.

LP: How to incorporate social media into sales, programming strategy. So many times someone will bring up in a meeting "just put up a Facebook page." Have to bring in more tech savvy people to explain different strategies for different tools not just what they saw in the New York Times yesterday.

Constant education so people aren't suggesting inappropriate tools and programs.

SC: Leverage outside examples - some competitor is likely doing something you are not. Look for cases to share.

JDJ: Always have to show lawyers why not to shut down. Show them how bloggers are making things happen and getting top results. Leading from a place of fear never works when introducing brands to social media.

CH: How do you get buy in (OK from top)

JDJ: Until you have that it is hard to develop experience/case studies to prove results. Some companies have evangelists in house who help build support within organizations. Slow build, find case studies, constantly remind. Sometimes more powerful than management not yet ready to embrace.

CH: Are people listening correctly?

Panel: For crisis communications, can listen to determine when and how to develop response strategies. Also adjust way you are listening if necessary. Best way for marketers to understand is to lurk and pay attention. Have to have a two way street in order to be successful.

DH: In a down economy, it's a terrible time to be out of touch with your customers. Executives fear brand will lose its luster or relevance (Krispy Kreme, Sharper Image) or crash (Goldman Sachs). If you position yourself as the social media evangelist then easy to be dismissed as "Facebook guy" or "Twitter lady." It's not about social media it's about positioning your brand, responding to customers and building business better and faster.

Audience Question (AQ): Companies want to be in social media but don't want to spend money.

SC: IBM did a study 88% of CEOs #1 strategy planning to pursue is listening to consumers. Top results when used multiple listening methods and social media was #1 approach. Numbers and facts prove.

CH: Myth: all the noise will bring you customers.

LP: Brands pay us to listen to what black women want. Brands are looking to publishers who better understand verticals/psychographics. Companies might be investing indirectly vs. directly. Essence becoming like an agency as well. Lines are blurring, listening happening in different places and information coming in different ways.

DH: If what you are learning is just free Google Alerts then budgets will stay small. Invest in tools, maybe $500/month but tell me something I don't already know. Allows you to reframe your business. Don't get a twitter budget by telling a story about making one customer happier.

JDJ: Faux listening comes up a lot. Build a Facebook page but no real interaction. Set up the campaign then react when tough questions come in. What's the point if the rest of the company hasn't bought in. Put up a campaign, don't respond, that becomes the bigger story.

J&J Motrin situation - went far in response but didn't go all the way. J&J responded to Twitter storm by taking down ad rather than responding and engaging in the conversation that was started. Very few consumers knew about the controversy. Missed opportunity to engage around a provocative conversation.

AQ: Crisis communications amplified by social media. Does it cause companies to rethink response strategies?

Panel: Reinforce core values if they were misunderstood/misrepresented. Also recognize where times/values have changed and conversation with customers has to change as a result.

AQ: How do we stay in front of, close to new social media tools with shrinking staff and cutbacks?

LP: Interns, interns, interns :) Get more people with social media DNA. Interns is a way to get that energy and knowledge in an organization. Look at what your audience is gravitating towards and be there. Even if a platform is big pursue only if your audience is there. e.g. not a lot of black people on Gather though it's growing in popularity.

CH: I'm going to be a devil's advocate, I love interns but they turnover and lose that knowledge.

JDJ: We use a hub-and-spoke system, integrate gradually. We've always tapped into community leaders. Go out and see what is bubbling up in the community.

SC: Every quarter IBM publishes top 10 tech trends. I was #5 on 4Square early on because I wanted to try it out.

DH: Ask your suppliers. Clients ask all the time, what is hot? I go out on Twitter every couple of weeks and ask what are you excited about? Heard about 4Square, Chat Roulette and Flipboard this way.

AQ: Where can we find IBM research studies?

SC: Go to search for "CEOs" "Top Trends"

CH: What are some trends you see?

SC: Gaming - average gamer is now 35. 35 year old will beat me not my nine-year-old. Added a gaming element to a technology and shot to number 1. Now a top education and demand tactic.

LP: Social media revenue went from zero to six figures in three months. Excited to leverage audience and build communication as a result.

DH: Use tools to tell stories, bring them to life. Don't need a creative team to do for you - you can do it.