Social media expertise should be embedded in all teams

Marketing Week Live! 2011: Social media knowledge must be integrated across all a company’s marketing teams and not sit in a silo, advised leading marketers at the Marketing Week Live! show.

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Marketing director UK and Ireland for Fujitsu Vince Kerr (pictured) pressed the point on a centre stage panel focusing on mobile and social media.

He said: “You have to understand how to integrate social media – it’s not a stand alone activity. It can play a role across the whole media mix, including events and offline advertising.”

The panel, chaired by head of insights at CIM Thomas Brown, agreed that marketers using social media had to tread a fine line between being cautious and allowing teams to be creative and inspirational.

Nick Eades, chief marketing officer of Psion, said: “I think people are right not to be scared but they should be cautious of social media. You will have investors who wtach what you do and what you tweet.”

Kristof Fahy, group brand and marketing director for William Hill, agreed and added: “We want to encourage enthusiasm and creativity but we need to put some boundaries around it.”

The panel stressed that staff should be given some social media training and that those who showed aptitude should be empowered to use social media. However, anyone involved should be briefed on the negative side of social media. Fahy said: “Don’t get involved if you cannot deal with it. It’s not all positive in the world of social media.”

Talking about engaging with communities Kerr added: “You have to take a view whether a comment is damaging or is it better to let sleeping dogs lie.”

The panel admitted that measurement and explaining the value of social media to the CEO or CFO was a challenge but Eades stressed that it is no use just throwing unstructured data taken from social monitoring tools at board members. Make sure that your data is segmented and structured and that you can offer a decision or viewpoint, he advised.

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