As Cheryl and Jenny mentioned, I had the chance to attend the Social Media and Community 2.0 conference this month. This was my fifth year attending the conference and my fourth year speaking. This year I was asked to be the conference chair. It was fantastically fun to talk to the speakers before the event! One of this year’s speakers was Scott Stratten of UnMarketing fame. I found Scott’s talk to be powerful in the simplicity of concept. Sometimes, those of us who have been doing this for a while need a gentle reminder of the core philosophies of customer service. As someone who needed this, thank you Scott for these reminders!

Your mission statement doesn’t matter.

What people remember is the feeling they get when they interact with the company. That feeling doesn’t come from the website or the leaders—it comes from the front line. For us in the social space, this is a huge point about how we personify the brand in our communities. In the State of Online Branded Communities report, we found that more than 60 percent of communities had no active face of the community. How can our customers interact with us if there is not a person behind the brand? Scott suggested that you do three things to build a relationship with your customers (B2B too): Know, Like and Trust. Know your customers, be someone worth liking and build trust.

Spread awesome.

Scott had this wonderful picture:


His point was that people don’t spread “Meh”…they spread AWESOME. Make sure your content is awesome. He talked about this concept in terms of a blog post. How many people share a post that is just OK? How many people spread awesome? For your brand, awesome might be the most highly technical content, or perhaps it’s the company subject matter experts sharing their thoughts on a topic. Awesome is going to be very specific, but you have to reach that high bar of expectations. If you post mostly “Meh,” you will lose the audience. If you post only once a month, but the content is awesome, you will have more viewership and loyalty.

Exceptional is sexy.

Scott is often asked about what’s new in social media. His response is that it doesn’t matter—it is not about what is next, it is about being exceptional at what we have now. Social media is a set of tools. We have plenty. If we fix what we have now, then it’s easy to be exceptional in what’s next. He also makes the point that social media doesn’t fix your brand or products. If your “product sucks, it still sucks,” and if someone (person or brand) is a jerk, they are an even bigger jerk on social media.

End discussion roadblocks.

Scott mentioned three things that are big roadblocks to having sharable content. First, of course, is having “Meh” content. Second, make it easy to participate. With every additional field in a registration, you lose 10 to 30 percent of people. Third, if you are trying to have a conversation, nothing kills it like getting the “awaiting moderation” window after submitting a comment.

Without a doubt, we are in a cutting-edge industry. Like me, I am sure other early practitioners in this space are also drawn to the new and unexplored frontier of social media. It is really important that we make sure we don’t lose sight of the larger customer focus of what we do. Sometimes these reminders have the most value! Thanks again, Scott!

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.