Social Media Technology Thought Leader Interview Series

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1 Social Media Technology Thought Leader Interview Series Ivan Fernandes, MediaCom Global Director, Social Media Technology, interviews Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media Welcome to the first Social Media Thought Leader Interview, a series of regular interviews with some of the world s best and brightest innovators, conducted by Ivan Fernandes, MediaCom s Global Head of Social Media Technology. These conversations will contain numerous ideas and insights that brands may be able to use to enhance their social media development strategies. Every two weeks, we will take a look at key changes in the social media technology landscape and implications on the way brands engage with their customers. Read what's on global thought leaders' minds. In line with our philosophy of People first, better results, Ivan works to reinforce MediaCom s position as the agency that best understands consumers in the digital sphere. Ivan oversees work around digital measurement and social media technology to inspire our clients to make the most out of paid, owned and earned media. If you are a thought leader that wishes to participate in a future interview, please contact Ivan at **************************************************************************************************** In our first interview, I speak with Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media. Michael is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded four successful internet-based media companies. He has a passion for creating, managing and growing companies from the ground up. Michael is currently Chairman and CEO of Buddy Media, Inc., a New York-based company whose social enterprise management system, the Buddy Media Social Marketing Suite, is used by eight out of the top 10 global advertisers. Michael and his companies have won numerous industry awards and accolades. In June 2011, Michael was named the New York region Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Buddy Media was named to Advertising Age's 2011 "Digital A-list", Ad Week s 2010 Insurgent of the Year and won the "Best Enterprise" application honour at the 2011 TechCrunch Crunchie Awards. I talk to Michael about the new business strategies and discuss how he sees Social Media Technology evolving. Some of the key takeaways from our interview with Michael include: Companies that connect with their consumers, listen to them, engage with them and then power those connections will grow shareholder value Brands need to shift their focus from building an audience to an emphasis on engaging and powering connections And one of the biggest trends in social media and social business today is this idea that silos are keeping organizations from truly reorganizing effectively around people. Ivan Fernandes, Global Director, Social Media Technology, MediaCom Worldwide ****************************************************************************************************

2 Background 1. Tell us about Buddy Media in 140 characters or less. Buddy Media is the social enterprise software for eight of the world s top 10 global advertisers. 2. How and why did you get into social media business? Tell me about Buddy Media how it was created and what you do. What makes Buddy Media different from your competitors? On May 24, 2007, Mark Zuckerberg launched the Facebook platform, and it immediately hit me that it was one of the most powerful things to happen to the Internet. This radical opening of a website, to be able to build on top of this social graph, would make the next communications revolution about reorganizing around people. My wife Kass and I decided to just jump in because it felt right to us. At its core, Buddy Media provides a social marketing software suite that helps companies connect with their customers, employees, vendors and others in their social umbrella. When the largest social platforms look to grow their developer eco-system, and specifically their offerings for brands and agency marketers, they turn to Buddy Media. We are the only company to be a charter member of the preferred developer programs for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. 3. Can you tell me a little bit about how your technology works? What are some of the more important new business strategies being deployed at Buddy Media? The Buddy Media Social Marketing Suite has four core products. ProfileBuddy allows brands to easily create and deploy content inside social networks, such as Facebook Pages. ConversationBuddy gives brands the power to manage two-way stream communications on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. ReachBuddy takes the power of social content and deploys it across the open web. ConversionBuddy analyses how social media drives sales and conversions. To tie it all together, our analytics product comes with all of our offerings, and provides our customers the tools to track performance across their social campaigns. Brands and agencies want to be able to conduct more and more of their social media programmes via one software suite and we give them the ability to do that. Technology 1. How is social media technology affecting the marketing landscape today? We have a very simple vision here. Companies that connect with their consumers listen to them, engage with them and then power those connections will grow shareholder value. Those that don t engage and don t listen, but instead ignore, will destroy shareholder value. We provide the tools to power those connections and message their customers where they want to be messaged, whether that s on Facebook, Twitter, or the rest of the web. 2. Are there any social media technologies that have caught your eye recently? I recently did an interview with TagMan, which is the leading tag management system. Brands need to better understand social media attribution, so that they can tie conversions to social 2

3 media campaigns. With the number of emerging technologies that allow brands to do this, tag management becomes pretty important. A management system that can help publishers and online retailers better organize their tags and improve performance can help better understand each customer s path to conversion. I m also really interested in Tumblr. Their growth has been absolutely amazing to watch and I think they can be the next big social technology business on the consumer side. 3. What are some of the most exciting breakthroughs that you are seeing in the technology or methodologies related to social media? One of the big things that we re really starting to see with brands is a shift in focus from building an audience to an emphasis on engaging and powering connections. It s not enough to have users press the Like button or the Follow button and then just ignore them. Instead, we re seeing brands really look at turning fans into brand advocates, which is when social media truly becomes powerful. 4. Here we are in January 2012, what do you see as the biggest challenges facing social media technologies/platforms in the coming year? What's currently missing? I think there will be a bigger emphasis on social attribution in 2012, which means brands need to use a tool that delivers them information on sales and conversions that are a direct result from their social programmes. We realized this pretty early on, which is why we acquired Spinback and integrated their social analytics technology into our ConversionBuddy product. Social Media 1. What are the possibilities? What would be your top tip for a brand looking to start harnessing social media? A lot of brands decide that they need a Facebook Page, and so they create one and just start trying to collect fans and hope for the best. That may have worked three years ago, but brands need to take a more holistic approach now. My number one piece of advice would be to make everything you do social by design. Don t focus just on Facebook, or Twitter, or your website, but instead focus on creating a social element for every piece of content, every big idea. 2. Which verticals are most affected or benefited by social media? Do you recommend different social media strategies for different types of companies (like retail versus business-to-business), and can you give some examples? I don t know that there are certain verticals most affected by social media, because I think every type of business can effectively utilize the power of two-way communication with their consumers. However, there are also clearly differences. Certainly regulated industries like financial services and pharma were not affected as quickly, while media and entertainment were on the front lines. In terms of examples, we worked with L Oreal launch a program for 6,000 salons on Facebook. L Oreal provided each salon with access to our social marketing suite, as well as other things like training and a $50 Facebook ad credit. L Oreal realized they need to empower these salons 3

4 where their products are sold and the programme was recognized with a Forrester Groundswell Award. The type of content and the brand s business goals will ultimately determine what type of strategy proves most effective. 3. Do you think social media metrics are important for brands and businesses? What do you think are the most important metrics to track? Social media metrics are critically important for brands and businesses. The campaigns that brands run are not very useful if you can t actually gauge their effectiveness. With every business it s different. How many people are you reaching through your social media efforts and how often are you reaching them? What does engagement look like? What is the result from that engagement, in terms of traffic to your website or revenue? 4. How should brands organize for social media success? Are there any hard and fast social media guidelines to follow? One of the biggest trends in social media and social business today is this idea that silos are keeping organizations from truly reorganizing effectively around people. Our report with Booz and Co. last year showed that social media teams are spread out across a number of different departments within a company. So this year, we re making it a priority to help companies better coordinate the ways in which they touch customers. It s why we recently partnered with Bazaarvoice to bring together online reviews and social media presences. So eliminating the silos removes a huge barrier within companies to effectively run their social teams. 5. If you could give just one piece of advice to someone starting social media for the first time, what would it be? I think the most important thing is to make everything you do social by design. Just like silos exist within companies, there are silos that exist within companies social strategies. Brands should make sure that everything they touch on the web has a social element to it. Your customers want to have a voice whenever they interact with you online, so don t deny them that opportunity, and then watch how quickly they become brand advocates. 6. It seems like every day there is a new network being launched. And they are becoming much more specific. How can a business owner know where to direct their efforts? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have reached scale. But it s important not to ignore the rest of the web. Ultimately, choosing social networks is a combination of adoption by the public and utility for the brand. But you need to focus on the experiences first. What will get people to share and engage? And then focus on the networks. 7. How do you measure the ROI of social media? Is there an effective way to marketing success? Look at a company like Ticketmaster, who announced that they see $5.50 in revenue-per-share on Facebook. The average share that we help create with ConversionBuddy back to Facebook is a little over $2.00. Every time someone shares, you re generating for a retailer $2.00 in incremental sales. So there s absolutely a way to measure the ROI of social media, but brands have to set objectives that relate back to their business goals. 4

5 Future 1. What does the future of digital innovation look like in the next five years? Finally, what does 2012 hold for you and Buddy Media? I think you ll continue to see the silos crumble all across social media. Social media teams will steadily become integrated into the rest of a brand s business. When that happens, you ll see social innovation reach a new level, because all digital innovation will include social media capabilities. You re already seeing it with brands like Ford including social capabilities in their newest cars. What s next for Buddy Media is continuing to grow our business. We continue to look at ways to integrate with the most popular social networks out there. Our expansion beyond Facebook into Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and the open web will continue to help our company grow, and I m excited to see what comes next as a result. 2. What s your view on BRIC markets and social media opportunities in US, UK, Russia and Germany? What s next for them? The world is reorganizing around people, regardless of country. We are seeing social media usage explode in different regions of Asia, which is why we opened our Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. We want to meet the demand that lies outside the US. and Europe. Obviously there has been some government intervention at times in some countries, but we've seen the power of social media in places like Egypt, where it helped fuel revolution. As for social media opportunities in places like the US. and Russia and Germany, I think you're only going to see current trends continue. Everyone is becoming connected via social media. All you have to do is look at the fact that one in seven minutes online are spent on Facebook. Social media connects people, and will no doubt continue to do so. Thank you very much, Michael! The next interview in the MediaCom Thought Leader interview series is with Sam Flemming (Founder, CIC - China focused Internet Word of Mouth), one of the most innovative thinkers in China. Ivan Fernandes, Global Director, Social Media Technology at MediaCom 5

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