11 September 2008

Six Things I Learned From Kodak

Reading the recent Q&A with Kodak (see parts one and two), I was struck by a number of simple but compelling takeaways from their success that I think any company can and should pay attention to.

1. Get on Twitter.
Twitter isn't nearly the obscure, niche site it once was. Companies are using it, and it's snowballing when they realize what they can do with it. Kodak has dozens of members from around the globe on Twitter, and they're not alone. Check out this collection of brands using Twitter, and this great take from the inimitable Chris Brogan about how businesses can make the most of it.

2. Understand your goals.
This isn't exclusive to social media. Any solid communication effort requires understanding what you want to get out of it. Who are you talking to, and what are you hoping they'll do or say as a result of that conversation? Then, and only then, can you move on to deciding what tools to use. Which brings me to:

3. Choose the tools that are best for your business.
This isn't the same for everyone. Some businesses can make great use of a blog if they've already got a large contingent of their customers online and and interested in what they have to say. Forums can be great for connecting brand evangelists with one another. A Facebook page can work if you can deliver content and activities that get and keep people engaged. Kodak looked carefully at the tools they knew they could learn, maintain, and get excited about while achieving their goals.

4. Find the right people.
There's been a lot of debate about where the responsibility for social media lies within an organization (just ask Jason Falls). And while I agree that it should be guided and managed by people who have an understanding of good communication practices, the people participating on your blog or on Twitter absolutely, positively have to want to to it. They need to enjoy forging and building relationships with customers, period. And they can be found outside your marketing or PR department, in the form of product managers or customer support people, or even in (gasp) finance or IT. Kodak found the passionate people in their organization, and put them to work.

5. Social media results aren't instant.
Kodak, like many other companies, has realized that social media is a long term investment of time, effort, and dedication. Like the development of any relationships, participating in social media has to be something that a company commits to and works hard at in order to reap all the rewards. It's not a silver bullet. (Check out my post on other things that social media isn't, for more thoughts along these lines).

6. ROI isn't always about direct revenue.
No, I'm not saying social media shouldn't HAVE an ROI. But I took notice that, on Kodak's list of social media ROI, not one of them cited any dollar figures. It's about building relationships, building your brand, and making people want to learn more about you. These are the things that drive revenue for your company over the long term, even if it's a meandering path.

Bonus: Have Fun.
It's so clear to me that the Kodak team enjoys what they do. I mean, really! Jenny Cisney gets to talk about her passion for her company, for photography, and go to the Olympics to showcase it. That can't possibly suck, on any level (ok ok, I know it's still work). Not everything worth doing in business has to be drudgery.

So what did you take away from this? Did you learn anything about your own social media exploits by reading Kodak's point of view? Did they encourage you to try something in social media that you hadn't considered? I'd love to know what you think.

Image credit: foundphotoslj

5 comments:

ljc said...

Yeah, I love my job. Even when I was up at 3am at the Olympics scaling the great firewall of China, I was loving it. Thanks again for your insights! - Jenny Cisney (aka LJC)

Frank MArtin said...

Amber, this was a great series, and should be required reading for companies that are considering a foray into social media for all the wrong reasons - this would set them on the right path.

Mack Collier said...

I think #5 and #6 are the hardest for most companies to get their heads wrapped around. SM can yield big results, but it's a long-term commitment. And SM impacts so many areas of business. It has a wonderful way of making EXISTING business functions more efficient.

Great series Amber, and Jenny and the rest of Kodak were very smart to participate!

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

A lot in this post made sense to me directly in my mission as the Social Media Swami at Network Solutions. Making people want to learn more about your company is a great point.

I must tell you I came to this post via Flickr. I was checking out Jason Falls photostream

I Can't Keep Up said...

Great series Amber! I am so glad you pointed out that using SM takes a long-term commitment. So many folks want instant results; social networking requires time to develop and nurture relationships. Really,, any good customer relations program should rely on a long-term commitment to customers- whether you are on, or offline.

11 September 2008

Six Things I Learned From Kodak

Reading the recent Q&A with Kodak (see parts one and two), I was struck by a number of simple but compelling takeaways from their success that I think any company can and should pay attention to.

1. Get on Twitter.
Twitter isn't nearly the obscure, niche site it once was. Companies are using it, and it's snowballing when they realize what they can do with it. Kodak has dozens of members from around the globe on Twitter, and they're not alone. Check out this collection of brands using Twitter, and this great take from the inimitable Chris Brogan about how businesses can make the most of it.

2. Understand your goals.
This isn't exclusive to social media. Any solid communication effort requires understanding what you want to get out of it. Who are you talking to, and what are you hoping they'll do or say as a result of that conversation? Then, and only then, can you move on to deciding what tools to use. Which brings me to:

3. Choose the tools that are best for your business.
This isn't the same for everyone. Some businesses can make great use of a blog if they've already got a large contingent of their customers online and and interested in what they have to say. Forums can be great for connecting brand evangelists with one another. A Facebook page can work if you can deliver content and activities that get and keep people engaged. Kodak looked carefully at the tools they knew they could learn, maintain, and get excited about while achieving their goals.

4. Find the right people.
There's been a lot of debate about where the responsibility for social media lies within an organization (just ask Jason Falls). And while I agree that it should be guided and managed by people who have an understanding of good communication practices, the people participating on your blog or on Twitter absolutely, positively have to want to to it. They need to enjoy forging and building relationships with customers, period. And they can be found outside your marketing or PR department, in the form of product managers or customer support people, or even in (gasp) finance or IT. Kodak found the passionate people in their organization, and put them to work.

5. Social media results aren't instant.
Kodak, like many other companies, has realized that social media is a long term investment of time, effort, and dedication. Like the development of any relationships, participating in social media has to be something that a company commits to and works hard at in order to reap all the rewards. It's not a silver bullet. (Check out my post on other things that social media isn't, for more thoughts along these lines).

6. ROI isn't always about direct revenue.
No, I'm not saying social media shouldn't HAVE an ROI. But I took notice that, on Kodak's list of social media ROI, not one of them cited any dollar figures. It's about building relationships, building your brand, and making people want to learn more about you. These are the things that drive revenue for your company over the long term, even if it's a meandering path.

Bonus: Have Fun.
It's so clear to me that the Kodak team enjoys what they do. I mean, really! Jenny Cisney gets to talk about her passion for her company, for photography, and go to the Olympics to showcase it. That can't possibly suck, on any level (ok ok, I know it's still work). Not everything worth doing in business has to be drudgery.

So what did you take away from this? Did you learn anything about your own social media exploits by reading Kodak's point of view? Did they encourage you to try something in social media that you hadn't considered? I'd love to know what you think.

Image credit: foundphotoslj

5 comments:

ljc said...

Yeah, I love my job. Even when I was up at 3am at the Olympics scaling the great firewall of China, I was loving it. Thanks again for your insights! - Jenny Cisney (aka LJC)

Frank MArtin said...

Amber, this was a great series, and should be required reading for companies that are considering a foray into social media for all the wrong reasons - this would set them on the right path.

Mack Collier said...

I think #5 and #6 are the hardest for most companies to get their heads wrapped around. SM can yield big results, but it's a long-term commitment. And SM impacts so many areas of business. It has a wonderful way of making EXISTING business functions more efficient.

Great series Amber, and Jenny and the rest of Kodak were very smart to participate!

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

A lot in this post made sense to me directly in my mission as the Social Media Swami at Network Solutions. Making people want to learn more about your company is a great point.

I must tell you I came to this post via Flickr. I was checking out Jason Falls photostream

I Can't Keep Up said...

Great series Amber! I am so glad you pointed out that using SM takes a long-term commitment. So many folks want instant results; social networking requires time to develop and nurture relationships. Really,, any good customer relations program should rely on a long-term commitment to customers- whether you are on, or offline.

11 September 2008

Six Things I Learned From Kodak

Reading the recent Q&A with Kodak (see parts one and two), I was struck by a number of simple but compelling takeaways from their success that I think any company can and should pay attention to.

1. Get on Twitter.
Twitter isn't nearly the obscure, niche site it once was. Companies are using it, and it's snowballing when they realize what they can do with it. Kodak has dozens of members from around the globe on Twitter, and they're not alone. Check out this collection of brands using Twitter, and this great take from the inimitable Chris Brogan about how businesses can make the most of it.

2. Understand your goals.
This isn't exclusive to social media. Any solid communication effort requires understanding what you want to get out of it. Who are you talking to, and what are you hoping they'll do or say as a result of that conversation? Then, and only then, can you move on to deciding what tools to use. Which brings me to:

3. Choose the tools that are best for your business.
This isn't the same for everyone. Some businesses can make great use of a blog if they've already got a large contingent of their customers online and and interested in what they have to say. Forums can be great for connecting brand evangelists with one another. A Facebook page can work if you can deliver content and activities that get and keep people engaged. Kodak looked carefully at the tools they knew they could learn, maintain, and get excited about while achieving their goals.

4. Find the right people.
There's been a lot of debate about where the responsibility for social media lies within an organization (just ask Jason Falls). And while I agree that it should be guided and managed by people who have an understanding of good communication practices, the people participating on your blog or on Twitter absolutely, positively have to want to to it. They need to enjoy forging and building relationships with customers, period. And they can be found outside your marketing or PR department, in the form of product managers or customer support people, or even in (gasp) finance or IT. Kodak found the passionate people in their organization, and put them to work.

5. Social media results aren't instant.
Kodak, like many other companies, has realized that social media is a long term investment of time, effort, and dedication. Like the development of any relationships, participating in social media has to be something that a company commits to and works hard at in order to reap all the rewards. It's not a silver bullet. (Check out my post on other things that social media isn't, for more thoughts along these lines).

6. ROI isn't always about direct revenue.
No, I'm not saying social media shouldn't HAVE an ROI. But I took notice that, on Kodak's list of social media ROI, not one of them cited any dollar figures. It's about building relationships, building your brand, and making people want to learn more about you. These are the things that drive revenue for your company over the long term, even if it's a meandering path.

Bonus: Have Fun.
It's so clear to me that the Kodak team enjoys what they do. I mean, really! Jenny Cisney gets to talk about her passion for her company, for photography, and go to the Olympics to showcase it. That can't possibly suck, on any level (ok ok, I know it's still work). Not everything worth doing in business has to be drudgery.

So what did you take away from this? Did you learn anything about your own social media exploits by reading Kodak's point of view? Did they encourage you to try something in social media that you hadn't considered? I'd love to know what you think.

Image credit: foundphotoslj

5 comments:

ljc said...

Yeah, I love my job. Even when I was up at 3am at the Olympics scaling the great firewall of China, I was loving it. Thanks again for your insights! - Jenny Cisney (aka LJC)

Frank MArtin said...

Amber, this was a great series, and should be required reading for companies that are considering a foray into social media for all the wrong reasons - this would set them on the right path.

Mack Collier said...

I think #5 and #6 are the hardest for most companies to get their heads wrapped around. SM can yield big results, but it's a long-term commitment. And SM impacts so many areas of business. It has a wonderful way of making EXISTING business functions more efficient.

Great series Amber, and Jenny and the rest of Kodak were very smart to participate!

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

A lot in this post made sense to me directly in my mission as the Social Media Swami at Network Solutions. Making people want to learn more about your company is a great point.

I must tell you I came to this post via Flickr. I was checking out Jason Falls photostream

I Can't Keep Up said...

Great series Amber! I am so glad you pointed out that using SM takes a long-term commitment. So many folks want instant results; social networking requires time to develop and nurture relationships. Really,, any good customer relations program should rely on a long-term commitment to customers- whether you are on, or offline.