If you attended any social media webinar, seminar, conference, panel or similar session in the last 12 months, the case studies referenced by the speakers to showcase the value of social media likely included Dell, Blend-Tec, Starbucks and/or Comcast.
And you probably heard them referenced multiple times by multiple people. The problem was that the social media professionals (call them consultants, gurus, experts, whatever) would take the microphone and share the same four or five stories to illustrate successful examples of corporate social media work. It was the same redundant thing every time.
I’m just as guilty as everyone else. Those case studies were standards in my deck over the last year and honestly, they were fantastic for introducing the possibilities of social media to an audience largely unfamiliar with the platforms and skeptical of their relevance. I might still use them from time to time with people new to the subject. But really, it’s time to move on.
If you’re still unfamiliar with these case studies, there is ample reference material online that I’ll link to here:
- Dell blogs and twitters and listens and makes money doing it ;
- Blend-Tec makes cool viral videos ;
- Starbucks empowers customers to talk back ;
- Comcast cares ;
It worked! The hundreds of hours spent evangelizing the benefits of social media combined with the crappiness of the current economy transformed words to action. Many brands have launched blogs, signed up for Twitter and established Facebook Fan pages. Often these case studies helped them to do it.
Many still don’t get it. It’s not enough to just set up a social media account and check it off the list. There’s still a lack of strategy behind many of these engagements, and part of the blame falls on how it’s presented (while the other part is management bureaucracy, budgets and a whole lot of other factors beyond our control). As trusted advisors, it’s important we illustrate the benefits of a solid social media strategy by using examples from a diverse set of industries.
If you are someone who is fortunate enough to have a speaking gig or two lined up in 2009 , I hope you’ll come armed with some new case studies. It would be very impressive if they were case studies from projects you actually worked on. At the very least, conduct a bit of original research so that your version of the case study has a nugget or two that we haven’t heard a thousand times before. We don’t want to hear only about companies that are doing a great job, but those that struggled out of the gate as well. We don’t want only big companies, but also small businesses and players in the B2B space.
You can start by checking out this wiki by Peter Kim that is updated with the latest and greatest examples of corporate social media.
Of course, I’m going to do the same. The gauntlet has been thrown. Bring it.
Photo credit: Tidewater_Muse