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Beyond the Numbers : Interview with Ken Ericson

Vikas Bysani

Almost all of us are guilty of synonymizing, Xerox with copiers, Coke with Soda and Post-its with sticky notes. So how does a brand approach digital when their company name is synonymized with a commonly used word?

To find out, we caught up with Ken Ericson the Director of Global Social Marketing from Xerox* in this week’s Beyond the Numbers. Follow him on Twitter for more insights into how Xerox approaches digital and other great content.

This interview is part of an ongoing series; see other great interviews with industry experts in our Interview archive here

Ericson_Ken_BIGHow does your organization define social media marketing, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?

When people hear Xerox, we know they think copiers – and only copiers. Our social marketing program is designed to shift those legacy brand perceptions and show who we are today – the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. Social media isn’t just where we publish content, but represents a unique intersection between our paid, owned and earned media efforts. 

How have you seen social media greatly impact your business?

We’re proud of our heritage and shifting brand perceptions when your company name is commonly used as a verb isn’t easy. Social media for us is very much at the “top of the funnel.” We’re leveraging it to build awareness of the ways Xerox simplifies work in unexpected places – like healthcare, transportation, human resources and more. Social media is also a rich source of insight for us – we’re hearing firsthand from our stakeholders, learning more about what they are interested in and how we can meet their needs.

When is social media data most critical to your efforts: During the planning process; while you’re executing a campaign, so you can change course or allocate more resources; or afterwards, to measure your success?

Understanding social data and users’ behavior is critical at all stages of any social media activity. We’re measuring patterns over longer periods of time and applying those insights with each piece of content we publish. Content on social must be useful and relevant, and our social data helps ensure we’re amplifying the most useful and relevant content.

What’s more valuable, competitive intelligence on brands within your industry, or being able to look at the efforts from brands in other verticals?

For brands, social media isn’t a “me too” sport. The brands that stand out are those that are carving their own path and doing something a little bit differently than everyone else. We try to be one of those brands. Last year we launched RealBusiness.com, a knowledge site with sharp insight, bold thinking, practical solutions and new ideas for business decision-makers.

Because our approach to Real Business is “outside-in,” there’s no chest-thumping about our brand; Xerox is rarely mentioned, and the site looks nothing like a Xerox property. Our goal is to connect and engage at a higher level, and be a utility for our readers. So far, our efforts have been very successful.

Social media channels are increasingly moving to where paid content is promoted more than organic content. How do you feel about this, and how has it affected your social strategy?

It’s a digitally overwhelmed world and it’s increasingly difficult for brands to cut through the clutter. Without paid promotion, it’s extremely hard to get your content in front of your audience. Promoting content increases the chances of reaching your target.

What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of social media marketing?

The increasing ability to target a group or individual. Early on, social media felt more like broadcasting to an audience. But we’re getting to the point we’re reaching exactly who we want, when we want. The conversation is shifting from “one to many” to a “one to one,” and that’s pretty powerful. 

What are the social media metrics you don’t have access to today but would like to be able to leverage in the future?

While it’s impossible, I’d love to be able to measure belief. It’s one thing for your audience to read a post or watch a video, but do they really believe in the message they’re consuming? We’d love to know.

To find out more about our social media reporting, benchmarking and intelligence features, just sign up for a free trial or a 20-minute demo.

*Updated 13/07/2015 – Ken Ericson is now the Vice President, Public Relations and Communications at Fidelity Investments.