On Thursday, December 6, Mike Betzer of Lithium addressed a session of the 2012 customer care leadership forum on the subject of successfully integrating social media strategies into business plans moving forward. As the general manager and senior vice president in charge of Lithium’s social media wing, Betzer had some interesting insight into the changing complexion of the industry. Betzer began by citing the incredible cultural change that had affected both individual consumers and entire companies revolving around social media. This, according to Betzer, meant that companies could no longer continue to operate in such a manner as to have little teamwork and social interaction between employees. He continued with a call to think open mindedly, break down silos and start working together. This kind of change, he said, often began with the chief executive, as many CEOs were heavily invested in the idea of social media. If anyone in his audience had a CEO who was not so forward thinking, he urged those in attendance to help make their bosses understand the seismic shift that was occurring revolving around social media outlets. What was especially important, he said, was that bosses should be made to understand the enormous opportunities that were inherent in marketing via social media platforms. New technologies were constantly adding new opportunities for conscientious executives and forward-thinking firms: “What marketing wants to achieve and what support wants to achieve are two different things. That doesn’t make them wrong. It just makes them different; as a company you have to achieve both sides of the equation. That doesn’t make them wrong. It doesn’t make one person the leader and the other person the follower. It just means that you have to break down the silos of your organization. Marketing and support and sales have to work together to create a unified strategy for your corporation.”
Equally important, he said, was for firms to confidently approach their social media strategies so that customers would be less likely to use the facebook strategy, whereby a firm puts their information on a facebook page, and which Betzer likened to a type of outsourcing. “You’re going to outsource your brand and the way that people think about your brand to Facebook and then you think that’s enough?’ I’m not knocking Facebook in any way. It’s an awesome company; they’re doing great. That is not an end-all, be-all strategy,” said Betzer.