Bernie Borges is with us today for the Business 2 Community Expert Interview series, and we’re excited to have him here to talk social media! Bernie is founder and CEO of digital marketing agency, Find and Convert.
He is the lead blogger on Find and Convert’s OptimizeThis blog. Bernie is the host of the Social Business Engine digital TV show and the author of Marketing 2.0, a popular book on social media marketing strategy. He served as a faculty member of the American Marketing Association where he delivered live training events on social marketing strategies. Bernie also speaks at digital marketing industry conferences around the U.S. and delivers private training events for clients on transformational digital marketing strategies.
7 Questions on Social Media With Bernie Borges
1. How did you get your start in the industry?
I ran marketing for a softare company in mid/late 1990s. Under my leadership, we developed our first corporate website and I was hooked by the web. I joined a 125 person web design shop in 2000. The company imploded to about 25 people after the dot com bubble burst. Then, I started my own web dev shop focused on SMB. In less than one year we ceased doing web dev to focus 100% on SEO/internet marketing and never looked back. We rebranded my agency to Find and Convert in 2006, embraced social media marketing and content marketing strategies. My book Marketing 2.0, published in 2009. This year I launched the Social Business Engine digital TV show to help spread the word about going social for business ROI. That’s our current focus as an agency and my content focus.
2. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry?
I believe the biggest challenge facing the digital industry is the gap between those who understand the need to create a relevant digital experience and those that don’t. There is still a significant population of marketers whose mindset is anchored in interruptive, product focused marketing campaigns. Those companies are very difficult to service because the strategies we (in the agency world) recommend are either positively received by the marketing executive, but not supported in the C suite, or simply not embraced by the client at all. When the laggards become extinct, we’ll see improved digital marketing in the aggregate.
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3. What is the method to your blogging success? What inspires your blogs?
Let’s face it, blogging is hard. It is time consuming. It requires careful thought, preparation and a lot of effort. I get my inspiration for our blog from experiences I have on a daily basis with clients, prospective clients, staff and others with whom I interact. I often drill down on a specific topic that warrants editorial coverage. I try to write a blog post to explain a concept in some detail or give examples of success factors that can provide inspiration to other marketers and actionable take-aways.
4. What do you think is the future of social media?
Social media is fast becoming a communication and engagement channel used by many departments in an enterprise, not just the marketing department. When an organization recognizes that social media channels are best utilized as engagement and communication channels that build community and advocacy we are closer to being a social business. Consequently, I think the job “social media manager” or “community manager” is on its way to becoming obsolete those responsibilities will blend into functional departments. The specialization element we see today will no longer exist. They will be absorbed into functional departments through culture and processes that enable employees to use social media in ways that support their business goals. One simple example is when a customer service department uses social media to engage with customers. Internally, there needs to be collaboration from a corporate communication point of view. But, day-to-day, the customer service department (in this example) should be the front line of social media interaction in certain situations.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Develop a digital strategy that starts with alignment with the company’s business goals. This is critically important. Get C-suite support from day one. Identify people in the enterprise with domain expertise who will contribute quality content and will be willing and available to engage online about topics customers care about, not about product promotion. Restructure the marketing department (over a span of time) to have a mix of skills including analytical, creative and journalistic. The top marketing person’s greatest skill should be diplomacy to cast the vision to the entire company. Don’t try to “boil the ocean.” This is a marathon, not a sprint. Expect the success journey to be a two to three year journey with many mini successes along the way that can prove sustained value. A child doesn’t become an adult in 6 months. Likewise, your social business strategy doesn’t reach mature, sustained results in 6 months. With proper planning, support and diligent execution, the business results are achievable.
6. Where can we find you on the web/on Twitter/Facebook/etc.?
7. What do you think is the most important takeaway from your session?
Business professionals should come to the understanding that “social business” is a mindset that needs to be embraced culturally throughout the company, not just the marketing department. Executive support is a must. Employees that contribute their subject matter expertise contribute to the brand’s overall performance. Creating highly relevant experiences for customers is the best path to achieving desired business outcomes. A social business mindset starting at the top is the way to get there through proper planning and attention to detail in execution.
You can hear from Bernie and other great presenters at our virtual event from November 11th – 22nd. Please visit the #LEARNDigital page for more information. Click here to read more interviews from our presenters.