MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Eric Schwartzman at the SMASH | April 11, 2011

On April 7th, 2011, the MHB program hosted a social media summit at the USC Davidson Center in downtown Los Angeles. The first-ever SMASH, or Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle, amassed industry professionals, graduate students and professors for short lectures and brainstorming huddles. In the continuing MHB Weekly coverage of the event’s distinguished speakers and key ideas, today looks at corporate communications consultant Eric Schwartzman.

Mr. Schwartzman is a specialist in web communications strategy who counts the U.S. Military, Boeing and Johnson & Johnson among his clients. He is the co-author of Social Marketing to the Business Customer, the leading text on business-to-business web communications, which was hailed for its “truly expert advice” and “practical examples” when released in January — and for having “broken the code to how to approach B2B marketing with social media.” Mr. Schwartzman also produces the On The Record…Online podcast, which recounts industry successes — the most recent episode explored social sync at the South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin, Texas — and discusses essential marketing insights with high-profile guests.

To start his presentation, Mr. Schwartzman shared the mistakes made most often by companies new to the social media game. They don’t listen to much more than their own name, he explained, and fail to identify where their customers really exist. They treat Facebook and Twitter like an impersonal parking lot, not an avenue of direct and thoughtful consumer engagement. And even among the companies that do listen, many take in much more data than they need — an error less attributable to the internet’s wealth of information than to an undiscerning eye. “It’s not information overload,” said Mr. Schwartzman, quoting technological sociologist Clay Shirky, “it’s filter failure.”

How, then, can companies listen in a strategic, responsible and ultimately profitable way? Mr. Schwartzman suggested the “triangulation of intelligence,” or the careful combining of keywords from social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — anywhere that hosts online communications — to locate and subsequently target a specific demographic. And because levels of discourse differ from site to site, executives need to tailor their ears to blog language, news language or social language depending on where they’re searching and what they’re searching for. The online community revolution, which started years ago with college students on Facebook, has made its way through corporate hierarchies and between businesses with such speed and strength that companies resisting social media are squandering an opportunity to be seen as thought leaders and progressive participants in an evolving marketplace. As explained in Mr. Schwartzman’s lecture and in his book, businesses are embracing the web with increasing rapidity: B2B marketers already spend $3 billion annually on internet initiatives, and the rates of online marketing and social media are expected to increase by 12 percent and 21 percent, respectively, for each of the next three years. For any business, missing the bandwagon would mean turning a deaf ear to an industry more or less shouting for attention.



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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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