Jeffrey Hayzlett is a best-selling author, social media advocate, a past Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak who conducted an aggressive social media, re-branding campaign to try to salvage the brand.
4Entrepreneur – What did you learn from your days at Kodak?
JH – The importance of listening. Our customers were telling us things about our products, and we weren’t listening. I hired the first Chief Listening Officer to manage some of the chaos and comments on our social media sites around the world and to route information from Twitter and blogs to the right people. Once we started joining the conversations, our customer service improved, our customer satisfaction sky-rocketed, and our products became enhanced because our customers were telling us what they wanted from them. We listened, and we delivered.
4Entrepreneur – What do you see as the pragmatic role of social media for entrepreneurs in 2012?
JH - Get out there if you’re not, get out there in full if you are, and when you get there be there and dare to be radically transparent. If I say, “bite me” in a post, it’s because I mean it. You may disagree, or you may not like it. But for me, radical transparency is all about being true to who you are and true to yourself. What works for me is what works for me. It will be different for you—and for everyone else out there as well. That’s why it’s called “social” media and not “one kind” media. The old rules don’t apply in the same way. For as many fans as you have on Facebook or followers on Twitter there are that many ways it can be done.
4Entrepreneur – Are blue chip companies using social media in a proper way yet? If so, can you share some of your favorite cases?
JH – Amazingly big companies are more adept at being transparent and engaging than small businesses. Look at what Dell did with Dell Hell; they had a problem and owned it. It’s one thing if your customers use social media to complain. It’s another thing if you do it first! And you know what? Your employees and customers love that! They love that you are human. So what if some people don’t like you or your stuff or think you suck? Now they can tell you to your face… I mean feed. And you can respond. People and companies who are unfailingly genuine, transparent and real and do it big and do it well have always succeeded. Now we have a medium that plays to those strengths!
4Entrepreneur – What is your advice for emerging social media experts when it comes to clearly adding value for their large company clients?
JH – Be true to who you are—in social media and in business. Have a personality and keep giving your customers things to make them come back and check in. Share everything you can. There are no social media secrets anymore. No packaging or advertising from marketing materials to commercials fails to include at least a Facebook page. And every event has a social media component with Twitter, texting, and beyond to engage the customers. Remember the 4 Es: Engage, Educate, Excite, Evangelize.
4Entrepreneur – What is your broader advice for entrepreneurs when it comes to efficiently using marketing, PR to sustain competitiveness?
JH – You don’t know what you don’t know. And that rule applies to entrepreneurs and customers alike. How will they find you if they don’t know to look for you? So many companies spend time and money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and I think that’s very important. So, obviously, companies want customers to find them — now let them find the real you! And make sure the real you uses it well. How we use social media is as important as how we use any other medium — print, web, video/broadcast/podcast — an essential tool in a toolbox that is changing every day.
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