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"Excuse me, Colonel; we got quite a mare's nest out here. You might want to come out and see." - Davy Crockett, "The Alamo," Touchstone Pictures (2004)
Social networks and social marketing get a lot of attention, especially when someone "liberates" a ton of names and passwords as they did recently with LinkedIn. You know the site with all the marketing, communications resumes on it.
Security breaches are so common today they have to be really huge - okay, as big as Texas - to make people think twice about the occurrence.
It's so boringly common that when it was "uncovered" that 6.5 million LinkedIn members and their passwords had been posted to the world, one user said that now at least someone knows what his password is.
But the security concern isn't going to keep marketing folks away because they see a rich new opportunity for them to reach new customers, build their brand, improve customer loyalty, carry out direct marketing, establish e-commerce activities and generate leads.
Use 'Em All - Marketing is bent on leveraging every social media and online communications tool possible to reach customers and prospects. Their stated goal is to do everything they can to deliver a personalized customer experience, which also includes listening. Source - Alterian
Marketing professionals and newly born social media experts have been aggressively working to use social networks and tools to move the needle and influence their brand reputation, brand awareness.
Work in Progress
Sure, they haven't been real effective - at least from a documentation perspective - in generating sales leads and dramatically increasing online sales. However, they have been able to increase their marketing arsenal and convince the boss how good it's gonna' be with just a little more budget and a lot more patience.
Looking at the challenge, Sam Houston emphasized, "You'll settle for blood. I want Texas."
If it Sells, it Works - Marketing organizations are increasingly using ecommerce technologies to help their organizations increase brand identity and loyalty. In many instances, this also means tying in as closely as possible with what the consumer is doing it and where he/she is doing it. Source - SLI Systems
The savvy guys and gals are focusing their attention and new applications on grabbing people's attention, getting them involved with the brands by delivering coupons, offering coupons and conducting activities that will drive store traffic and response.
Online sales organizations and e-tailers are encouraging users to share information on their browsing and purchasing activities at e-commerce sites with their social friends.
Along the way, they've developed 10s of thousands of followers and fans.
But measuring their social media marketing success is still elusive.
Validation - Online activities enable companies to grab and follow tons of information about users, user communities, actions. Unfortunately, translating the big data into something that can be quantified as a direct, immediate customer action is still a work in progress. Source - blog.pablo-morales
That's why they've come up with new measurements - soft ROI (Return on Investment).
You know, a stronger brand social media presence shows that the brand performs better... at least when you measure conversations.
It just doesn't translate into something that can be added to the bottom line.
Looking at the results, Davy Crockett observed, "I thought he'd be taller."
Can't fault anyone for being creative in proving the budget was well spent because the social media world is constantly changing.
Just when you think you have a good handle on consumer sentiment, attitude, action; everything changes.
The best you can do is keep people on the consumption trail... awareness, interest, investigation, buying, loyal, telling others.
That's a huge job as every marketing/communications person will tell you; and they have to do everything they can to move the needle.
Of course, all of that work and effort outside the company makes IT people sweat bullets.
All of the "normal" security policies and restrictions have a moderate to significant impact on the way marketing/communications folks are "supposed to" use social networking sites.
Internal Security - While everyone in the organization understands the need for and importance of protecting sensitive and/or private company information, getting people to follow the security guidelines IT has established is still a work in progress. The biggest security risk in the public and private workplace is still the employees and management.
Of course, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend doesn't help because business and security managers have to protect sensitive data while users have the ability to use all of the devices and apps they feel are important to them.
Jim Bowie looked over the corporate landscape and asked, "Tell me, Buck, in Alabama, precisely how many is 'a few'?"
This is especially true of marketing/communications folks who focus all of their effort and activity on reaching out to the outside world.
This year, Gartner estimates that more than 30 percent of the firms won't own the devices so dictating, controlling, managing their use is difficult to impossible.
Everyone is somewhat concerned about the security of their personal data but millennials just aren't that concerned.
Difficult Protection - With employees increasingly using their own devices - notebooks, smartphones, tablets - at work, it is becoming more difficult for IT and security personnel to dictate what can be added to the device and what controls need to be in place. In addition, the volume of employee personal data IT must manage and protect continues to grow. Source - eMarketer
That's probably why Symantec found that more than half of the notebooks people were using for business either didn't have antivirus apps or they weren't up-to-date.
Can you imagine how safe the smartphones and tablets are that a lot of us use as a primary internet access point?
According to a Cisco/IDC report, only seven percent of the businesses support user devices, let alone have a program for extending security solutions to the devices.
Of course, that doesn't mean that management and IT are simply going to look the other way and hope nothing bad happens, because we all know that ain't gonna work!
Looking at the situation and challenges, William Travis said, "One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name."
Targets - No company, no organization is immune from the possibility of hacker or cybercriminal attack. Last year, more than 5 million records were reported to have been compromised. Security experts stress that these were only the intrusions that were reported and the actual numbers could be even 3-4 times higher. Source - Verizon, Secret Service
That's probably why Gartner recently reported that companies are beginning to roll-out technologies that allow them to monitor Internet and social media use at their facilities. After all, they're already monitoring social media for their brand management, marketing activities; so what the heck, might as well check everything.
Of course, there's always the possibility that folks may get a "little aggressive" in monitoring for more than security problems and unauthorized posts. You know, as long as you're monitoring what the individual is saying and posting with customers, might as well learn a little more about the individual.
Monitoring is the easy way out for management and IT because it's too easy to look at using automated solutions to examine signatures, heuristics, and use cutting-edge detection tools.
It's harder, but the better approach for marketing/communications folks is to be proactive and go to management and IT to ask them help get the entire organization more aware of the security issues and solutions that are available to help them help the company.
We know it isn't you, but you do know people on your marketing/communications team who are really ignorant, inattentive and gullible.
Gauging the IQ of his marketing team, Jim Bowie commented, "I don't deserve mercy. I do deserve a drink."
You don't want to tell them and hurt their feelings or get on their bad side (especially if it's your boss); so isn't it better to encourage IT to push the security education effort?
Just think, if you help those other folks combine security with their devices, think how much safer your stuff is going to be.
Random and focused attacks from hackers, whackers, cybercriminals and phishers aren't going to go away; and the chances of some of it hitting your really important information can only increase once a bad guy/gal gets inside.
Think of it as one less concern you'll have in your hectic life.
In our new open market environment there's a lot of opportunities, lot of work, lot of issues that can arise.
Looking at the pros and cons, Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana explained today's social marketing situation best, "Without blood, without tears, there's no glory."
Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.
Keywords:social media, social business
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