A lot of brands are still trying to solve for social media organization, activation and ROI. We thought we’d share a Q&A we had with Maria Poveromo, who has led and evolved our own social media efforts, to share some successes and takeaways from the past year.
What are your thoughts on the value of social business to an organization, and can you talk about how Adobe is organized around social media?
Social media represents a tremendous opportunity and paradigm shift for brands. For several years, brands were at the center of their marketing efforts – they controlled the message, their story, and how it was told publicly through designated spokespeople. Social media has turned this traditional communications model on its head. Today, customers are at the center of communications. In many cases, they can drive and shift brand perceptions by vocalizing their views on a brand or its products and services. Social media has also enabled brands to build direct relationships with customers at a level of magnitude that is unprecedented. The brands that embrace these shifts stand to win. So it is critical for businesses today to organize their social media programs, resource them adequately, engage with customers authentically and measure their effectiveness in order to be successful.
Adobe’s social media program was founded in December 2009 after we discovered great pockets of innovation across the company that were occurring in silos and lacking an overarching strategy. We adopted the popular “Hub and Spoke” model. The hub (or center of excellence) would enable more coordinated and strategic social media across the company through a common set of guidelines, trainings, and infrastructure, while the spokes (subject matter experts) would drive day-to-day social strategies for their specific line of business. Today, Adobe has moved towards the multiple hub and spoke model, where teams worldwide have established their own hub and spokes based on growing needs, with a dotted line to the teams at corporate.
2012 was a year where social media played a larger role in Adobe’s integrated campaign efforts like Create Now and Metrics Not Myths. There was room to test and take more risk. Thoughts on successes and takeaways for each campaign?
It is true that in 2012, social media started to play a strategic and critical role in campaign development and execution. The two primary campaigns that we launched as a company in 2012 were very different.
“Create Now” represents Adobe’s traditional DNA – enabling creative professionals to unleash their creativity with our tools and services. With “Create Now,” we focused on introducing the Creative Cloud and the opportunities it introduced to create freely and receive ongoing product updates with a relatively low price barrier.
The “Create Now” campaign represented the first time we launched a social campaign in a truly global fashion with a diligent focus on measuring tangible ROI. We delivered robust and engaging content to activate our fan base and experimented with games including real and virtual or online scavenger hunts to drive engagement. We also encouraged trial downloads and eventually purchase of our new offering. Through our rigorous measurement we were able to demonstrate high volumes of engagement with our customers, positive sentiment and significant ROI.
“Metrics not Myths” is a new type of campaign for Adobe. While Adobe is traditionally associated with our creative side of the business, few people know that a large portion of Adobe’s business is also focused on digital marketing. In order to drive greater awareness for Adobe’s leadership position in digital marketing, we launched a provocative campaign that focused on debunking traditional myths about marketing.
Through this campaign we learned that not all of our experimental efforts will be successful. In this case, we tried to establish a community of digital marketers on Facebook through an application through which we featured live debates and real time polling to engage our audience. We did not attract the number of marketers that we hoped we would and the level of engagement was lower than our target but we were able to grow our Twitter and Facebook communities and learn from these efforts.
One aspect of the program that was highly successful was the “ultimate case study” where we published the real-time results and takeaways from the campaign as it was being executed.
I think we are learning as we go with both campaigns. For Create Now, we want to focus on the ongoing value that a Creative Cloud membership provides as members have access to ongoing updates and benefits. For “Metrics not Myths” we are targeting ourselves – digital marketers who are in the market for solutions that ease our day to day tasks and ultimately help us prove the ROI of our efforts. Both are challenging and exciting in their own ways.
Social media ROI is a hot topic. You have team that spearheads measurement, analytics and even social e-commerce. What’s your perspective on ROI for social, particularly a B2B organization?
Adobe is fortunate to own analytics solutions that allow us to track and determine the impact of our social media efforts against traditional demand generation success metrics such as trial download, website traffic, and ultimately, revenue.
However, I believe that the true value of social media extends beyond ROI and demand generation. To me, the true value of social media lies in the interactions a brand has with its customers, and the consequent actions those customers take on behalf of the brand by defending it in times of crisis and promoting their positive experiences with your brand with their extended networks. Business impact and ROI are most certainly very important – and we extend great effort to measure and report on these metrics in order to improve our programs and prove their worth. At the same time, the value of building strong relationships with your customers is intangible but equally important.
Adobe just hit 10M fans and followers across its social media presence. Any plans you can share about activating them in the year ahead?
A primary focus of ours in 2013 will be to further activate our social media influencers and advocates by building more organized and consistent programs that recognize and reward our advocates for their actions. As mentioned, I believe the true value of social media lies in the relationships a brand builds with its customers. We hope to continue to delight our fans and followers by listening to their requests and by continuing to deliver compelling and engaging content.