Your Business and the Social Media Sensation


This morning I am at the Harvard Club at the Social Media: Risks & Rewards conference. The line-up for this panel:

  • Moderator: Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News
  • Michele Mitchell, VP of Audience Development and Retention of NBC Universal
  • Cheryl Givner, Managing Counsel Worldwide Marketing & Core Products of MasterCard Worldwide
  • Nicole Black, Of Counsel Fiandach & Fiandach
  • Andy Mitchell, VP Digital Marketing and Marketing Development of CNN Worldwide

Cheryl started off look at corporate brands in social media. Her first point was the United Breaks Guitars video complaint. Over 5.5 million people saw this and created a viral backlash against United. MasterCard runs a lot of analytics on what people are saying about the company. They just launched a Twitter feed: @MasterCardNews.

Niki emphasized the need for goals. But at the minimum, you need to know the basics of how these tools work. Then she moved on to the benefits of some of the major social media tools. She emphasized that professional networking and personal/social networking overlap. (Aren’t some of your professional colleagues also your friends?) People want to connect with a person when dealing with legal services.

Niki also pointed out that if you”lawyer-up” when you are subject to negative social media attention you are likely to increase the negative publicity. Demanding that someone remove criticism of your company is more likely to backfire.

Andy took the microphone to discuss how CNN has been using social media and how they involve their audience. There was the first presidential Twitter debate last year. CNN moved on to Facebook and took advantage of the Facebook Connect tool. The first test of their use of Facebook was one of the vice-presidential debate (“Debate the Debate”). CNN was out on the cutting edge of these tools for a mainstream media company. They generate tremendous traffic, updates and views. He made a strong case for how much consumers want to engage with brands. “Give up some control of your brand (But not so much that you risk harming your brand)”

Michele focused on social media trends. She emphasized the importance of a feedback loop. After all the ability to easily connect with consumers is a key way to leverage social media.

There was a question from the audience that emphasized the need to engage the legal department in developing the tools. An example was a marketing promotion for a hashtags sweepstakes and free shipping special. It ended up with a complaint from a state attorney general.

My first presentation is scheduled right after this one. I already published the outline and materials for the event: Develop your Company’s Corporate Policy for Social Media.