An interview with Glen Gilmore
Glen D. Gilmore is one of the Top 10 Social Media Influencer according to Forbes. A graduate in law from Widener University School, former two-term mayor for Hamilton and a professor of social media law has many more hats to don. He is also the CEO of Gilmore Business Networks.
We at Arabian Gazette had the opportunity to interview him and gain some insights into the social media world and how enterprise social media is important in today’s world. (Special thanks to Tara Rogers @ Mojo PR for arranging the same!)
READ: Why Social Media is Best Bet to Promote your Business [INFOGRAPHIC]
You are an attorney and a social media strategist. How has your journey been into the social media world?
Social media caught my attention early. I was fascinated by the transformation of the internet into a medium where every user could become a publisher, a connector – a voice that could be heard across all kinds of boundaries.
I began to study social media and share what I was learning. People began to reach out to me for guidance. Along the way, I created a community that’s now over 300,000 strong on Twitter, @GlenGilmore, and also strong on other social networks, like LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram.
I was eventually asked to teach various aspects social media marketing at Rutgers University in the United States, combining my understanding of social networks, marketing and a new body of law governing the social space.
READ: How Social Media Influence Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]
-Why does an enterprise need any kind of social media strategy?
Every enterprise needs a social media strategy, because it’s where their customers are spending most of their time – online. You have to fish where the fish are.
Having an effective social media presence requires weaving your business objectives into your digital presence. Social media amplifies everything, so companies have got to invest in getting it right.
-You teach “Digital Marketing,” “Reputation Management,” “Crisis Communications” and “Social Media Law” at the Rutgers University for its MBA executive programs. What do these mean for the common man?
The fact that a major university in the United States is offering a variety of social media courses as part of its business school is a powerful statement that social media is important to business success. For the average person, this means opportunity, since social media lets every entrepreneur and small businesses compete with enterprises of far greater size by being creative and leveraging the techniques of social media marketing.
READ: Middle East Social Media Usage [INFOGRAPHIC]
-Forbes’ lists you as one of “Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers.” What does an Influencer mean to you? How does one achieve the status of an “influencer”?
An “influencer” is someone who has created a community of trust and who can inspire others to action because of that trust.
READ: 10 Steps To Become A Social Media Influencer (by Haydn Shaughnessy/Forbes)
-The buzzword these days is “integrated social media strategy”, what does it mean?
“Integrated social media” means weaving social into the fabric of your business and marketing. It means layering traditional marketing with digital marketing. It recognizes the important role of mobile technology and works to ensure that marketing efforts are seamlessly shared across a wide range of social platforms and optimize that marketing so that the content looks good whether it’s being viewed on a smartphone, laptop or tablet.
-What precautions should companies take as a part of their social media strategy?
Companies need to provide their employees with social media policies and training. A single employee can damage a company’s reputation in a single tweet or post. Smart enterprises, both private sector and governmental, are investing in understanding best practices which them leverage social media, without unintentionally damaging their brand in the process.
READ: 5 Noteworthy Examples of Corporate Social Media Policies (via HubSpot)
-The New York Times called you a “national hero” for your leadership during America’s anthrax crisis. Tell us your role in that crisis management. How difficult was it?
When the Anthrax Crisis first struck, the world learned that someone was using anthrax, a highly deadly biochemical, to create terror in the world by filling envelopes with the substance and sending the envelopes via the mail service. We learned that an amount of anthrax that might not be visible to human sight could be enough to kill scores of people if they were exposed to the substance.
I was mayor of a community of about 100,000 people at the time. I asked my administration to be prepared to treat the public in the event of a large contamination in our community…Because we had prepared for a worst-case scenario, we had on hand a stockpile of the much-needed antidote and our local hospitals were willing to work with us around the clock to quickly treat all the workers who were at risk. Lives were saved because of this.
Our efforts succeeded because our hospitals, which are private institutions, were willing to partner with local government to do what was needed to save lives.
I was eventually asked by Texas A&M University to help create and present executive crisis leadership training funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
-What’s your typical day like?
I get up pretty early and read the latest news on the BBC news app even before I leave the bed.
I then respond to social media comments or questions that that might be of an emergent nature. I also scan some content aggregation sites for any content that might be particularly interesting to share on social media or with clients. I treat myself to digital subscriptions of the Wall St. Journal and New York Times with breakfast and before doing exercises.
From there, I start to scour scores of sites for news, trends and best practices relevant to my clients. I use some automation tools so that I can schedule content. Throughout the day and night I also monitor client accounts for engagement, content marketing, and business development opportunities. I also usually have conference calls throughout the day to stay in touch with clients and to provide strategic guidance on a variety of issues. I also try to make time each day to do some writing, whether it’s for client guidance or content marketing.
I’ll also attend meetings where enterprises are trying to better understand how to be more effective in social media and offer guidance on best practices so that they can achieve their goals. Often these are digital meetings.
Somewhere along the line, I also got into the habit of waking up at about 3:00 a.m. to monitor the social conversation and join a more global conversation, as it represents a time when other parts of the world, such as MENA and Europe, are more active. It gives me an early start for anything that may have happened late in the evening my time, as well as chance to have some real-time engagement in other parts of the world.
READ: 7 Terrific Time Saving Social Media Automation Tools (via RazorSocial)
-Did you get a chance to analyse some of the top brands in the MENA region? Who gets your vote and why?
The Roads & Transportation Authority of Dubai (@RTA_Dubai)
It’s impressive to see a governmental authority, like the Roads and Transportation Authority of Dubai, being so informative and engaging on Twitter.
Anywhere in the world, governmental agencies tend to fall short on customer service. In Dubai, government really seems to understand how to leverage social media for customer service and good will. It does this by sharing a steady stream of information in a tone that is quite friendly. It has a nice mix of serious and fun information to keep its community interested and engaged.
The Sheraton Amman (@SheratonAmman, Jordan)
On my way to Amman, Jordan, I tweeted that I would be staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Amman. Their Twitter account, @SheratonAmman, was quick to respond to my tweet and say that they would be welcoming my arrival to my “2nd home.” Impressive!
The Sheraton Amman also went a step further and sent me a welcoming tweet on the day of my arrival, showing that they were putting an extra effort into the follow up of social media engagement, something too many brands miss. I was even further surprised to find in my room two cupcakes waiting for me, one with a Twitter bird on it and the other with the Facebook symbol. This is a great example of how social media can make strong connections and turn customers into brand advocates by going the extra distance.
Jordanian Tourism Board
I was also impressed to see the Jordanian Tourism Board, through its Twitter account, @VisitJordan, respond to my tweets about heading to Jordan. Like Dubai’s hashtag, #MyDubai, which alerts readers to content touting the good things in Dubai, Jordan’s, #VisitJordan is used by both individuals and enterprises to promote the happening in Jordan.
-Did you see any particular innovation or variety with any MENA brand in their social media outreach?
I like how the Jordanian Tourism Board Twitter account has a particularly human voice. It wasn’t afraid to add a smiley face and it was refreshing in how it both invited me to let them know if I needed assistance with anything – and also to share my experiences using the hashtag, #VisitJordan.
When people ask for social media power tips, the engagement shown by the Jordan Tourism Board achieved high marks by their careful listening, human voice and engagement. It’s first and foremost about being social. The ability to make personal connections creates positive and powerful opportunities for success.
-Any other tips/tricks that you want to share with our readers?
Strive to make real-world connections. Look for opportunities to collaborate.
When you meet someone on a social site, take a moment to find out who they really are. Look beyond a single post. See what their biography has to say about who they are. Look at the content they are sharing and the engagement they have. If it looks like there could be an opportunity for collaboration, connect with them on LinkedIn. This way, you get greater social proof of who they really and they do of you as well. You also deepen your connection with them.
Always think about your strategic purpose in being on social media and periodically evaluate how you’re doing in achieve your goals. You should always be on the lookout for new best practices.
And finally, here’s some tips from Glen for businesses wanting to improve their social media profile:
- Post/share interesting content in a consistent manner. This is key to creating and maintaining an engaged community.
- Use photos/videos regularly in your social media updates, which is important for the visual web.
- Find ways to increase community engagement. This could be as simple as actually saying a “hello” or sending a good wish to a community member. The simple act of saying “hello” or acknowledging an interaction can have a real “wow” effect!
- Retweet and Follow back