Within this space, a small set of leaders are paving the way for how businesses are using social tools. Whether they are reimagining platforms or creating new tool for analyzing data, these visionaries are steering the way towards innovation.
Here are five masterminds that are redefining how businesses perceive, create, implement and analyze social media marketing programs.
1. Randi Zuckerberg, Marketing Director, Facebook
With more than 500 million active users spending more than 700 billion minutes per month on its platform,Facebook has quickly become the most visited websiteon the Internet. Furthermore, the social network is driving more and more traffic for major news and entertainment portals, a title once held across most of the web byGoogle.
As they should, digital marketers go where Internet users flock. Being that 50% of Facebook’s active users are logged in on any given day, it’s a great place to engage with consumers, but marketing on Facebook is something that a lot of businesses still don’t understand. That’s where Randi Zuckerberg’s team comes in.
Zuckerberg is the marketing director at Facebook, and also acts as a spokesperson for the company. She and her team are constantly on the lookout for businesses using Facebook in creative ways so that they can educate others on how to replicate those successes in scalable ways, Zuckerberg told Mashable in an e-mail conversation. Here’s how she describes her day-to-day responsibilities:
“The majority of my work tends to be with businesses/organizations with a consumer-facing brand on Facebook, whether that’s a celebrity, non-profit, major media company, politician, etc — so on a day-to-day basis, the majority of my conversations tend to focus around Facebook Pages. Creating a Facebook Page is an easy, free way to instantly engage with your customers or fans, but you only get out of it what you put in.”
Zuckerberg also threw out a quick tip for businesses with Facebook Pages: “My #1 tip to businesses who want to grow their Facebook Presence requires no additional work — it’s simply to include a photo with every post. A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and if you have a global brand, a photo needs no translation.”
Above and beyond crafting marketing programs for advertisers, Facebook’s marketing team puts a strong focus on education, conducting web seminars on the Facebook Live Channel on best practices, and creating education content, such as the Facebook for Non-Profits Page.
“The great thing about Facebook is that the same concepts/tips/best practices apply to everyone,” said Zuckerberg. “The reason businesses are so successful on Facebook is that the most valuable thing out there is a recommendation from a friend, whether it’s a brand or a movie or a cause. I make the same suggestions about how to most effectively use Facebook to almost everyone I meet with.”
While best practices may stay the same in many cases, it’s all up to brands to innovate. Zuckerberg says she’s “most proud of the projects I’ve worked on that have inspired other businesses/brands to think about marketing themselves on Facebook in a new way.” For example, Facebook’s partnership with CNN to live stream the 2009 Presidential Inauguration inspired many more media companies and businesses to live stream events on Facebook or on their sites using Facebook’s social plug-ins, she noted. Furthermore, Zuckerberg is proud of her team for their ongoing work around causes and social good.
2. Joe Fernandez, CEO & Co-founder, Klout
Marketing via social media can be really frustrating, especially for big brands that get tons of mentions across various platforms. Within the past few years, many new startups have tried to solve this problem, endeavoring to create a metric for measuring influence online. Klout, a San Francisco-based startup, is leading the way in standardizing social influence with what it calls a user’s “Klout Score.”
CEO and Co-founder Joe Fernandez first thought of the idea for Klout while recovering from jaw surgery in late 2007. With his jaw wired shut for three months, he turned to Twitter as his primary means of communication, finding that his network trusted him and his opinions. Fernandez told Mashable that during that period he “became obsessed with the idea of finding these signals of influence across the social web and measuring them.”
Klout is redefining the way marketers think about their audiences, “making brands recognize the power and impact of individual people,” explained Fernandez. He explained Klout’s process in a language that marketers understand:
“The idea of the funnel is core to most marketers. Rather than targeting as many people as possible and hoping the message makes it down the funnel to the few that convert, Klout is able to target the few key influencers who have authority around a given topic and allow them to tell the story. The message is then amplified up through the network to reach a large engaged audience that trusts the message sender. We’ve basically flipped the funnel upside down.”
Fernandez says that he’s most excited that “influencers are getting the recognition they deserve from brands. Brands are realizing that influencers are key stakeholders and relationships with them need to be tightly managed and respected. These are not normal customers but partners that in the future marketers will devote significant resources to building relationships with.”
3. Chris Ramsey, EVP Business Development & Co-founder, Radian6
No marketing program is complete without analytics that prove it’s a success — that’s why social media has been a hard sell for many traditional companies who couldn’t quite put a finger on its ROI. While the puzzle isn’t quite solved yet, companies like Radian6 are creating solutions that allow marketers to “listen, measure and engage” across social platforms.
CTO and Founder Chris Newton and EVP, Business Development and Co-Founder Chris Ramsey created Radian6 in 2006 with a focus on social media monitoring, realizing that customers had a need to listen to what was being said about their brands online.
Ramsey spoke with Mashable about the company’s roots and future, saying that he and his colleagues have always looked at social media more as the “social phone,” which differs from the traditional “one-to-many” view that some marketers initially took. “It is a two-way communication platform, not a broadcast platform, and it’s all about engagement and relationships,” explained Ramsey. “As a marketer you can learn a lot, very quickly, by analyzing all of these conversations that are taking place in real time.”
Radian6 is helping marketers humanize their brands and “provide a level of proactive customer service that is unprecedented when compared to the pre-social media era,” said Ramsey.
Make no mistake, social media monitoring, analytics and engagement tools have a way to go. Ramsey sees three key trends for these tools: integration into existing enterprise-wide applications (such as CRM and contact center systems, including Salesforce.com, Siebel and Convergys), automated insights (with integrations with advanced text analytics tools, such as Clarabridge, OpenCalais, and NetBase) and globalization (as many tools currently only focus on North America).
Ramsey reflected back to Radian6′s early days, saying that he’s most proud of the team of about 240 strong they’ve built over the past few years. “There was a time when I was the sales guy, the marketing guy, the customer support guy, and the training guy,” he said. “And now we have teams of such talented people that are doing things I truly never imagined we would get to in this company.”
4. Suzie Reider, Director of Display Advertising, YouTube
There are two paths for having a brand presence onYouTube: promoting your company’s content on YouTube or advertising alongside YouTube’s content. With both ways, there are lots of options, but some of the most innovative and customized options are taking place on the advertising side, headed by Suzie Reider.
Reider joined YouTube as its chief marketing officer in September 2006, and is now serving as director of display advertising. Reider’s role is to “figure out how advertisers and marketers can leverage the content and the opportunities on YouTube to connect with their consumers,” she told Mashable. To do that, Reider said that her team “works with marketers to deeply understand what their core marketing objectives are, and then crafts programs and campaigns to meet those objectives.” Tactically, this could come in the form of offerings like Promoted Videos, a homepage takeover, brand channels, or TrueView Video Ads. The goal is to produce campaigns that work for the YouTube audience, work for the advertiser and leverage partner content.
Beyond the ‘nuts and bolts’ advertising offerings on the site, YouTube also works with marketers to provide branded entertainment, contests, and sponsorship of live streaming events. Reider says she’s most proud to see marketing programs evolve which “celebrate our content creators and drive the marketer’s story forward at the same time.” Some of the recent marketing programs include Life in a Day (a documentary of one day, July 24, as seen through the camera lens of people around the world, sponsored by LG), YouTube Play (a biennial of creative video sourced from YouTube and exhibited at the Guggenheim, sponsored by HP and Intel), andUnstaged (a live streaming concert series, sponsored by Amex in partnership with VEVO).
Reider is at the helm of the company’s innovation in advertising, redefining what “display advertising” is all about for marketers.
5. Chloe Sladden, Director of Media Partnerships, Twitter
Chloe Sladden heads up Twitter’s three-person media team, which also includes Robin Sloan and Ross Hoffman. Working with media partners including MTV, CNN, ESPN, NYTimes.com, CBS Interactive, NBCOlympics.com, and The Huffington Post, Sladden’s role is “to harness Twitter to create new approaches to content creation, news reporting, interactivity and audience engagement, both online and on-air,” as described on her LinkedIn profile.
As the information network, Twitter has taken on a reputation as the place to find breaking news and see real-time commentary on live events. “What we’re seeing now is that Twitter is, in fact, about flocking audiences back to a shared experience, and that usually means a live one,” Sladden recently told Fast Company.
Sladden believes that it’s important to make the media team’s efforts scalable. Instead of leading a team of hundreds, she keeps her team small and focuses on creating programs that reach many. For example, Sladden’s team launched — via a tweet, of course — its Twitter Media blog last year, which includes best practices, case studies and tools on how to “use Twitter to transform TV, entertainment, sports and journalism.”
The blog is a one-stop-shop for learning about how to filter, curate, visualize and analyze tweets, among other areas of interest. While the team focuses on media, many of the best practices extend to businesses of all kinds.
Sladden and her team represent some of the most creative thinkers in social media and are changing the way marketers think about and use Twitter with each new partnership they form.