Following strong reception to the Brainzooming recap of January's Kansas City American Marketing Association luncheon on Southwest Airlines social media strategy, I was compelled to attend the February panel on "Social Media for Marketing Communications Professionals." The guest speakers were three well-known faces (and avatars) in the Kansas City social media community:

Five content areas stood out particularly for me, with one of them warranting a rant!

Social Media Coming and Going

Chris and Ramsey talked about the steps before and after your audience interacts with your social media sites. Chris discussed the importance of your offline marketing clearly (as in spell out your Twitter and Facebook ids) driving audience members to check out your social media presences. Ramsey reminded everyone that even super fans of your brand won't hang around your website for kicks. They're there for utility, then moving on to social networking sites to interact with people. His comments were a great reminder that you need to also be present online where your audiences are already spending time.

Influencer Marketing - Where Events and Social Media Intersect

The combination of social media and live event marketing Joe shared is really compelling (you can see his first-hand account in a video from the lunch). He discussed how both at Red Bull and now at the brands he represents, his field marketing strategy focuses on finding young, hip influencers targeted by beverage marketers. After identifying them, Joe asks about what their dream events are and then provides the connections, resources, and promotion to make them happen. His strategy creates the emotional impact which makes great events and compelling social media content. That's why the approach is so much more successful and exciting for all concerned than conducting boring "blogger outreach" programs.

How Does All This Help Business?

Ramsey hit the "big question" in social media: How does your social media activity ladder up to overall business objectives? While the link doesn't necessarily have to be one-step away, you have to be able to credibly connect how social media contributes to what your company actually does to serve customers and generate revenue. Since multiple steps are typically involved, The Brainzooming Group recommends a multi-level metrics strategy for social media to account for a variety of metrics.

What's Next?

The panelists were asked, "What's next in social media?" Here are the trends and platforms they mentioned:

Social Media Ain't a Focus Group Folks

For the second consecutive month at the Kansas City AMA luncheon, a presenter said social media is "like a real-time focus group." WRONG! Despite what people unfamiliar with research think, focus groups aren't simply a bunch of people coming together and talking free form. Even though a focus group's results are qualitative, a properly-done focus group has structure, carefully selected participants, and a scripted discussion guide behind it. Tweets and status messages don't have any of those. Social media provides qualitative input, but unless you've created a much more structured environment, all you have is a bunch of comments.

Speaking of comments, what do you think about these highlights? Please share your thoughts about these points in the comment below! Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.