The We First Blog.

Like it or not, you must own your social media reputation

September 4, 2012 Comments

With each passing day political parties and citizens, business leaders and employees, and brands and consumers, have an increasing array of media outlets through which to share and access personal information. As such, it’s more important than ever to own and manage your reputation before another person or institution defines it for you.

This is no simple matter, in substance or execution, as your personal and professional reputation are now blurred by social media. Plus, at any one time your reputation is a multi-faceted entity playing out across many channels making it even more difficult to track and manage. Let’s explore how it lives on four key levels.

1. REPUTATION WITH YOUR FAMILY (Social Media User): Like so many Facebook, Twitter and Google+  users, our relationship with our family and loved ones is on display like never before with your friends, colleagues and invariably strangers.

2. REPUTATION WITH YOUR COMPANY (Social Brand): Whether you are an employee, self-employed or running your own company, the profile of your personal life that your craft across social media has an impact on your professional reputation, your job security, the company’s reputation.

3. REPUTATION WITHIN YOUR COMPANY (Social Employee): Your reputation specific to your role within your company is critical whether you are in leadership, product/service development, customer service or accounting.

4. REPUTATION WITH THE PUBLIC (Social Citizen): As one of millions (in fact, almost a billion) people who volunteer their personal information across multiple channels to then be leveraged by marketers, political institutions and corporations, and by extension, countless strangers, each individual must studiously manage their information they share.

With these four levels in mind, it’s wise to place several filters over the information you share in either a personal or professional capacity:

1. Share content about your personal life (your children,  family, friends or personal time) judged not against today’s privacy standards, but factoring in a potentially far greater erosion of privacy and appropriation of data in the future.

2. Consider your personal life an extension of your professional career, quite literally, assuming that everything your share on any channel is visible to your boss, fellow employees, and future employers.

3. Accept that your personal communication across social media and professionally within the company are always liable for exposure and attribution to the company with potentially damaging consequences.

4. Be diligent about monitoring the moving target that are privacy settings and constantly upgrade your personal network settings to reflect your life choices.

Only by applying such filters and constantly monitoring the information you share can you secure ownership of your reputation, personally and professionally, allowing social media to amplify your best self rather than mischaracterize you.

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Top ten ways the smartest marketers become the most ‘Liked’ brands

August 29, 2012 Comments

With so much understandable anxiety over budget allocation and concrete ROI, especially is you’re a small company, it’s valuable to study the best practices of those brands that have earned their way into the likability Hall of Fame. So here’s ten brands that are each among the most liked and a unique strategy they employ to achieve this:

1. HERITAGE: Burberry has done a masterful job of leveraging their heritage to engage loyal fans and to win new ones. Fans can even access Burberry Acoustic to watch videos and hear music about the company.

2. FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE: Levi’s was the first brand to launch a Facebook brand page and it created the first Facebook focused shopping experience, the Levis Friends store.

3. TIMELINESS: Zara is a specialist in timely updates as to what is in or out in the fashion world specific to different looks or seasons. they even launched the Zara Lookbook that gives you weekly, monthly and seasonal updates.

4. ORIGINALITY: Focused on originality and creativity, Adidas specializes in contests such as the Adidas Originals #Represent. Fans were asked to submit photos, videos or audio representing what they stand for.

5. FUN: Target has done a great job of investing their brand with personality. For instance, during the Olympics they posted the Target logo around the City of London and posing cheeky (and very English) questions. One such post got 15,630 likes, 1,592 comments, and 231 shares.

6.  SERVICE: Despite its size, Walmart interacts with customer requests on a very personal level across the mind-boggling array of product categories it sells. This extends to pages specific to individual stores and employees.

7. CROSS-POLLINATION: Victoria’s Secret needs to do little heavy lifting to sell itself in light of its imagery, but one smart strategy they employ is to promote a Pinterest contest on Facebook challenging fans to build Pinterest pages featuring their products.

8. CREATIVITY: Pringles does a great job of tapping into the daily life and emotions of their fans, poking fun at everything from Monday mornings to working late. By not taking themselves too seriously they encourage their fans to write much of the content on their page.

9. EMPLOYEES: McDonald’s does a great job of letting employees serve as brand ambassadors. Recently they followed five employees as they discovered the Olympics in London.

10. INTEGRATION: Skittles consciously migrates its community from its website to its social channels. It also features it’s fun and often weird TV commercials on You Tube which it then posts on its Facebook page.

Finally, the most liked brand on Facebook, Coca-Cola, has excelled at perhaps the most powerful ingredient in social media engagement – TRUST. Coca-Cola trusts its content to fans, artists, and musicians, allowing their community to co-create the story of the brand.  Ultimately this strategy stands the test of time best of all, because it positions the brand in the service of its customers to the point of literally sharing the brand with them, and that consumer ownership is what propels the brand’s success.

Is there one strategy above that captures your interest the most? What the first step you must take to implement that strategy?


How social media turns the smartest CMO’s into Chief Customer Advocates

August 27, 2012 Comments

If there is one sure fire way to leverage social media data in the service of your company, it’s to engage that data to better serve your customers. This fact is not lost on CMO’s who, according to the survey by the CMO Club fund the number one use of social data by CMO’s is now brand management. By brand management they mean using that data to understanding and to respond to their customers needs more effectively driving sales and enhancing their reputation

This great new infographic from and the CMO Club brings this into dramatic relief. It’s notable that sales is a distant second because, while bottom line profits are important, effective reputation management is equally important to the long term survival of your company.

The data below is also instructive as it reveals exactly what CMO’s are looking for in social data. Principally trends in consumer behavior, identifying exactly who their customers are, how consumer feel about your brand, an what individuals or groups are driving sales.

The same benefits are reflected in CMO’s confidence in the core ROI (Return on Investment) of social media data with over 80% feeling confident that it impacts brands awareness and consumer loyalty.

Given the data above there are five concrete steps every Chief Marketing Officer (no matter what size the company is), can take:

1. Clearly define your brand and its story to enable consumers to pass that story on to others.

2. Identify, engage and reward these brand ambassadors to encourage more sharing.

3. Monitor conversations about your brand on key social media channels to identify areas to improve on, products or services to develop, or consumer complaints to address.

4. Train employees and customer service specialists to reflect the brand’s values in all communications.

5. Constantly monitor consumer behavior to identify new tolls and behavior to effectively  track to manage the brand’s reputation.

For more on how CMO’s use social media to build their brand, click here.

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The #1 oversight in social media community building

August 22, 2012 4 Comments

There are certain mainstays of social media community-building – creating content that commands or arrests the viewer’s attention, engaging them around some action or contribution motivated by shared values, and finally, rewarding them in some way that earns the participant …

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What a day in the life of twitter reveals about your brand

August 21, 2012 1 Comments

Diffbot‘s new Page Classifier API was used to provide this revealing snapshot of a day in the life of Twitter. The tool identifies the type of content behind any web link, and in this case, the Page Classifier analyzed 750,000 links posted …

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Live ‘n kickin: Social media makes claims on traditional media territory

August 14, 2012 0 Comments

A subtle but powerful shift is underway as brands and platforms that have thrived, in part, through social media are now trading up into traditional media territory on the strengths of the eyeballs and engagement they have captured.  To illustrate …

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Ben Bernacke on the need for a new measure of social well-being

August 8, 2012 0 Comments

An extraordinary thing happened this week. Ben Bernacke, the Federal Reserve Chairman made a compelling case for the quality of life we live over the quantity of life we consume. This is critical because this fundamental – and some no …

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Goldman Sachs and the art of good intentions

August 6, 2012 2 Comments

Goldman Sachs is making an unusual loan of $9.6 million to keep young men out of New York City jail. And while, yes, they can make millions out of the deal, there are good intentions behind it. It’s all part …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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