I enjoyed word-of-mouth marketing firm GasPedal’s BlogWell program yesterday afternoon in San Jose. The focus was: “How big companies use social media: 8 great case studies on the best social media programs at large corporations.”
I attended, wearing my social media in the enterprise consulting hat, to get a feel for how social media initiatives were faring across a wide swath of corporate America: Intel, Cisco, UPS, Kaiser Permanente, the Home Depot,Wells Fargo, Graco and Walmart. Executives from the companies gave frank assessments of what’s working, or failing to work, with blogging and social media in the enterprise. I was able to attend three sessions (the presentations overlapped), but I managed to get short video interviews with John Earnhardt of Cisco and Jory Des Jardins, who discussed BlogHer’s recent experiment with JCPenney. Will post those soon.
Meantime, a few short takeaways:
• Andy Sernovitz, author of “Word of Mouth Marketing,” said of social media advocates within a large business: “Don’t underestimate the amount of bravery it takes. You find yourself almost immediately in a two-front war, fighting both an entrenched bureaucracy and a skeptical blogger audience.”
• Cisco’s Earnhardt held forth on why videoblogging is better than blogging — chiefly because of the impact, authenticity, transparency and personal nature of videos.
• More Earnhardt: Fast is better than polished and time-consuming. “We don’t put a lot of time or money into production values.”
• Cisco’s return on investment (ROI) for videos:
Cost, from $1,000 to $7,000 per video setup
They have 2 PR cams at cost of $5,000
To date, they’ve produced 185 videos
Cost per video: $30 and falling
Views per video 700
Cost per view: 4 cents
• Ken E. Kaplan of Intel: “We used to host all our videos on the Intel server. It used to be, no way, man, we gotta own this stuff. But eventually it became obvious that you had to let people share and embed and see these videos on YouTube. We told the lawyers what we want to do with this stuff and they gave us
the power to run faster.”
• Debbie Curtis-Magley of UPS identified a secret social media ally in the workplace: the company receptionist. They’re at the computer all day and love to communicate and help people out.
• More Sernovitz: When companies get into trouble over social media campaigns, it’s almost always because of lack of a disclosure policy. “Here are 10 magic words to keep you out of trouble: I work for X, and this is my personal opinion.” It helps separate official company policy from personal views.