Technology

Harness the Power of Social Media

Sister of Facebook’s founder offers inside scoop on effective social networking strategies.

October 24, 2011
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Randi Zuckerberg, former head of marketing for Facebook and sister to its founder, recalls a defining moment in her family and professional life.

Soon after the launch of Facebook in 2004, the Zuckerberg siblings were all home for the Thanksgiving holiday. At one point, she says, “we literally sat around the dining room table texting each other.”

When their mother complained about it, the Zuckerberg kids replied, “But this is the future, Mom!”

Zuckerberg was interviewed by Ron Insana, CNBC senior analyst and commentator, at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference in Chicago.

“We never expected Facebook to be so big,” Zuckerberg admits, describing the beginning as like the Wild West. As Facebook spread across campuses, the military, and on to the general public, it became evident the social media company’s niche is to fulfill the basic human need for interaction as people grow apart geographically.

In the business world, social media is on the cusp of bigger and better applications, says Zuckerberg. Demand marketing and e-commerce are taking off, she says, adding “customer service is the No. 1 thing social media can do for you.

“Businesses are so scared of the negative comments on social media,” she continues. “But those people are only an inch away from loving you. Just respond to them and you can turn them into huge evangelists for your brand.”

The next stage of social media is looking increasingly mobile-dominated, says Zuckerberg. There are countries and continents that skipped over the personal computer and are adopting all aspects of mobile technology much faster than the U.S. “About a year ago, mobile banking was ‘the cool factor.’ Now I do 80% of my banking through mobile,” she says.

For financial institutions, mobile channels and social media present huge opportunities, she adds. Financial institutions can position themselves as experts on various topics. And with the right training and established policies, staff can interact with consumers and have the “teller” experience through social media.

Through “crowd sourcing,” organizations can engage consumers and garner buy-in for their brands, she adds. “But don’t wait until a crisis situation to build a fan base. Have a team ready, and a community of fans.”

Zuckerberg recently left Facebook to become founder and CEO of R to Z Media, to help media companies develop programming in “new and more social ways.”

She admits she misses the information technology help desk available at a large company, but adds, “I’ve always loved the scrappy feel of the start-up.”

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