How are brands and companies organizing around social media? In the case of some very large enterprises, with commitment and decisiveness. Last night in New York, the Social Media Advertising Consortium (SMAC) hosted an elite panel of marketers – all in the top social media role at a global organization – to discuss selling social media processes, strategies and tactics internally.

pauline oresSo how do you get large organizations on board with social media? Until very recently, Pauline Ores (left) led IBM’s social media practice with a particular view to internal training. Of engineers. You know, those guys who use the opposite side of the brain that their colleagues in  marketing do.

Ores’ tactic was to identify one or two engineers in a division who exhibited at least some interest in a given social media channel, then concentrate on training them in that channel. An example she provided was customer support and feedback, in which employees were faced with repetitive tasks such as repeatedly having to respond to queries via email. Often, the same queries. Once a community forum was established, these employees often saw their workload drop considerably in this respect. “They’re answering each others’ questions!,” was one delighted discovery.

Once one or two or three advocates were sold on the efficacy of new social media channels, they in turn did the job of selling to their peers.

Smart.

bonin bough pepsicoA recent Econsultancy report on the value of social media found a third of companies don’t spend anything on social media marketing, while a further 36% spend under $5,000 a year. Now clearly, the panelists at this event are with organizations spending, oh, just a tad more, given their titles included VP & social media lead, Razorfish Inc; and director of web strategy, EMC Corporation. Clearly, these do not count among the organizations convinced that social media is (ahem) “free.” So how do they obtain actual budgets for social media spending?

Bonin Bough (right), global director of social media at PepsiCo, had the most compelling response: knitting social media components into virtually all of the company’s marketing efforts for its many hundreds of brands (this was the guy who spearheaded a social media campaign in lieu of Super Bowl advertising this year, remember). That way, said Bough, the budget is “integrated marketing,” not “social media.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Credit: Pauline Ores photo by Julian Cash