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Michael Brito: Chat Transcript

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This month at NMX we launched weekly, lunchtime chats on Facebook. Our first special guest was Michael Brito, SVP of Social Business at Edelman. Michael’s also one of the speakers at our BusinessNext Social Conference in January. His session is titled “The New Influencers: Brand Advocacy Inside and Out.”

Michael’s worked with big brands such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Yahoo!. He is also the author of Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media In Your Organization. If you missed our first, weekly chat with Michael, the transcript is below.

Shane Ketterman I have a question! What are 3 main differences between “influencers” and “advocates” and why is this important?

New Media Expo Michael – Tell us some of the ways brands can inspire customers to act as advocates.
Michael Brito: hi!…sorry I am a few minutes late!
New Media Expo It’s all good – We’re on Facebook time!
Michael Brito when I think about advocacy … a term called Reciprocal Altruism comes to mind… it’s this concept that we as marketers need to “give to the community, without any expectation of receiving anything i return”
Michael Brito if you take that concept and apply it to everything you do from a content perspective, that is how you turn friends, fans and followers into advocates
Michael Brito @Shane .. this one is easy….
Michael Brito Advocates already love the brand and talk about it everywhere. Influencers, for the most part, require incentives…
Shane Ketterman Thanks Michael! Do you think that Influencers and also be Altruistic and is that important?
Michael Brito there are also several tools you can use to help facilitate a brand advocate program …
Michael Brito Gaggle AMP, Social Toaster, Zuberance, Influitive, Social Chorus
New Media Expo What are some things to consider when putting together a customer advocacy progam?
Shane Ketterman I like the distinction actually and in a way – – we are all advocates for something – – I fall in love with things I use and tell others on a continual basis, but companies may not even know that I’m doing it…
David Schwartz Are Edelman clients looking for social media ROI as well as metrics?
Michael Brito @Shane — good point. Usually influencers are advocates of a certain vertical i.e. travel, technology … there are always exceptions
Michael Brito but rarely are they going to talk about just ONE brand. The advocates will .. assuming the level of emotional equity associated with their experiences with it
Megan Enloe Good point Shane. Michael can you share some ways companies can find and reward the people who already love them and are naturally being their advocates?
Mark Fidelman Do you think traditional PR is making the leap to Social? or are they still resisting the move?
Tina Baljian Michael- In the ”what’s in it for me” world, what can a brand do to encourage word of mouth marketing ?
Michael Brito Mark Fidelman .. they have to and if they haven’t yet began the transition, they will surely find themselves irrelevant and losing business.
Michael Brito @David yes, many of our clients report into digital marketing organizations so ROI is extremely important.
Michael Brito @megan usually advocates can be found through a conversation audit. An audit will tell you where the conversation is happening (twitter, blogs, forums, etc.), the sentiment of conversations and also identify the advocates. Also looking at your own facebook/twitter activity is a way to find advocates … they are the ones that are commenting/sharing/RTing, Liking your content the most. Simply MEasured (monitoring company) can also do this.
Dave Taylor Michael, social media is fundamentally about *people*, but that often is at odds with the need of a brand to remain autonomous and anonymous. There’s no Mr. Nike or Ms. Starbucks. The result: we have companies like Panasonic and Wal-Mart creating fake people to tap into social media’s buzz – astroturfing – or brands more identified by their representatives (I’m thinking of Microsoft and Robert Scoble) even when the person’s left the company. How do you counsel companies find a balance with this complex tension and be successful here on FB and elsewhere online?
Michael Brito @David — some ROI metrics also include decreasing call center calls, etc.
Mark Fidelman Michael Brito who inn your opinion has made the transition?
Michael Brito @Dave .. i look at it differetnly. Social media is about content… but that content should be created (paid, owned, earned) in a way that changes behavior. You can’t change behavior unless the brand is “human”. Dell is a great example of a company that has created employee advocacy .. basically enabling their employees to build their personas online. And guess what, they don’t just have one person. They have several hundred as does Intel and IBM Social Business.
Michael Brito so when I think of the Dell brand, I don’t think of Austin or a logo or whatever. I think of the people that work there that I have relationships with…
New Media Expo Michael Brito What can a brand do to seem more human when all customers see is a logo?
Michael Brito creating fake people isn’t smart and I think most companies have learned that this isn;t a best practice. Instead, they are using employees, customers and partners to feed into the content engine.
Michael Brito Mark Fidelman do I really need to answer this? LOL .. of course Edelman but also Ogilvy has done a fantastic job and even some of the smaller PR firms like Shift Communications, Voce, etc.
New Media Expo Beyond Facebook, what are some of the ways brands are reaching out to their communities/customers and achieving good results?
Michael Brito New Media Expo .. as I said in an earlier comments, employee advocacy (which I will talk about in my session) is the key to humanizing a brand. Not just empowering employees, but “enabling” them using content, process and even technology.
Michael Brito New Media Expo they are data mining their Jive/Lithium support communities and many are creating new communities using advocacy platforms like Fancorps, Influitive and Social Chorus.
New Media Expo Michael Brito – I know you had another appointment this afternoon. Thanks so much for joining us for our chat today, and I hope you won’t be a stranger on the NMX Facebook page.
Michael Brito Thank you New Media Expo .. had a great time!
Michael Brito I will stick around for a few more mnutes in case there are any more questions.
New Media Expo Thanks, Michael! Looking forward to your presentation at NMX and feel free to use this space to pitch your latest project.

Mark Fidelman Michael Brito I am very disappointed with most PR firms, where do you feel the industry needs to evolve? Also, Will traditional PR be dead in 5 years?

Michael Brito Mark Fidelman .. traditional PR functions like media relations will never go away. It will change but won’t be dead. The evolution needs to come because the skillset requirements will change. Many traditional PR pros don’t get social, search, paid media, etc. That will change.
If you enjoyed this chat, be sure to check out Michael’s session at the BusinessNext Social conference in January! And, if you’d like to join us for our next lunchtime chat, visit us on Facebook this Wednesday (10/31) at 10am PT/1pm ET as we welcome our special guest Phil Hollows, perhaps best-known for his work at FeedBlitz and author of List Building for Bloggers.

Amber Avines blogs at Words Done Write and runs a successful communications consultancy in Los Angeles. You can connect with Amber on Twitter at @wordsdonewrite.


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