Social media must be part of firm's DNA

Developing a social business is not about marketing or customer services or all the buzz words usually associated with social media -- it's everything, says Damien Cummings, Samsung's regional marketing director of digital and social media.
"For me social media is like the telephone once was. People use to have 'telephone' job titles, now everyone has two [mobile phones]. Social media is exactly the same. Now you have one individual contributor sitting at a desk doing it 100% of his time. Soon it will be everybody's job. Every person in this room will be a social media person -- it will happen," he said.
Cummings, speaking at TM Forum's Management World Asia yesterday, said the way to build a social business is to take the new phenomena of social media and make it the DNA of your company.
Looking at how Samsung is now training employees, Samsung is taking a leaf out of Dell's book. Dell is in the process of training all of its 100,000 employees to talk directly with customers.
What does that mean? "It throws your marketing department out the door; it puts your customer service department in disarray. Because if you have a problem, they are going to Twitter to complain about it."
He insists people don't want to connect with brands. "There only two reasons why a person would go to a platform like Samsung Singapore. When you break a product or you want to buy a product."
Samsung is new to this and only started recently. "This year we want to become a social business. There are no social businesses right now. No one is doing it right."
"We have a very good sales pipeline, we have a fantastic set of brand metrics. But we don't link the two together. I have no idea if you're a Samsung super fan on social media or whether you may have bought $100 million of our products before -- we treat everyone exactly the same. We don't link that back to a sale -- it's crazy," he said.
The electronics giant's challenge from a brand perspective is that people love Apple, but they don't love Samsung yet, said Cummings.
He said Samsung has been a victim historically – as have many companies – of something he refers to as toilet paper marketing: never reusable and completely disposable.
"Map out how we actually sell products and how people buy products. The buying cycle of a TV is six years. The buying cycle of a refrigerator or a washing machine is ten years. So why are we trying to reach people by giving them television ads?"
He is working to develop platforms, and break down the product silos. "So instead of having a platform like a Facebook page called Samsung cameras Singapore, we'll flip that on its head and call it photography by Samsung."
Then it can do two things: have a platform for marketing and customer messaging, while platforms like Samsung Singapore can be a pure-play customer service channel. "It means we also can break down internal silos. Photography is not really about a camera, it's about smartphones, tablets, TVs and things you display photography on."