By adaptive - April 1st, 2013

In this practitioner interview, we talk with Tom Carusona at ARAMARK on why content is king, the challenges for 2013 and what's next!

Tom Carusona, Senior Director Digital  & Social Media, ARAMARK.

[USM] In your view, what are the big issues to watch out for in 2013?

Tom Carusona: One issue that continues to exist is chasing shiny objects. There are so many new platforms, technologies and vendors that enable social/digital with easy, cheap, and simple access, but what is going to actually help you reach real business goals? We constantly see a desire to launch branded presences on new channels – but the reality is that you're not going to lose new business if your competitor is on the latest, greatest channel and you're not. By not focusing solely on the opportunities where you can have real impact, you are not only watering down the content you can provide, you are creating risk. Having said that, how do you balance that idea and still encourage your employees to stay innovative and try new things?

Content has always been king, but never more than now. As social channel feeds get more and more clogged with more and more voices, how are companies going to create really meaningful content that is useful for its clients and customers? It's clear that most of these platforms are moving towards grown-up, paid solutions and brands are going to have to get serious to push through the saturation and be heard in ways that aren't merely chasing a "like." Companies are going to be spending more on social and, thus, need to find better opportunities that don't just convert engagement, but convert to real business objectives. 

From an enterprise perspective, an issue that I think a lot of companies are facing is training. For companies to truly be able to transition to social businesses, they are going to need to rely on “non-social” employees to manage and engage on these channels as a part of their job. Most employees will have had some experience in managing personal channels, but probably little experience in working in the space on behalf of their employer. Developing, managing and maintaining training for social at organizations big and small is the new reality. How do you identify who needs to be trained? Who develops, manages and budgets for the training? These are all questions we need to sort out and solve for.

[USM] Do you feel that brands across the board aren't doing enough to utilize social media?

Tom Carusona: Every brand should look as social as an opportunity and see how they can use social technologies to help deliver on their larger business goals. So it’s hard to say if brands are doing enough. I think some brands have taken advantage of social opportunities and are clearly ahead of the pack (Dell, IBM, Intel come to mind). Companies where social is truly integrated into the way they do business, both internal and externally, in how they communicate and how they connect with clients and customers. Right now, companies need to be planning for the class of 2013 – these new employees are coming out of school expecting the companies they work for to be socially enabled inside and outside the company - it's how they grew up. In 10 years, they will be managing and leading a new mobile/social-native workforce. How can we start building towards the new way we’ll all do business?

[USM] Social is such a dynamic platform, if you could predict the biggest game changer in the next 10 years what would it be?

Tom Carusona: Something that truly integrates social technologies to enable any job in any company in any industry. What I mean by that is, there is an opportunity to take things that are core to all businesses (email, communication, etc.), and provide a social layer that adds value and makes employees more effective and efficient. Social channels will come and go, and become bigger and more niche at the same time. But the real game changer is to find a way to truly integrate social to accelerate the way we do business.

[USM] You are scheduled to speak at Useful Social Media’ upcoming Corporate Social Media Summit. What issue will you be addressing?

Tom Carusona: I’ll be speaking about how we developed and are now living the social infrastructure at ARAMARK. We’ve been driving social through a center of excellence model for almost two years now, and there are a lot of great things we can share in terms of our experience. I expect to touch on subjects like: training, governance, infrastructure and content development.

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The Corporate Social Media Summit New York 2014

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Become a social business: For superior marketing response, sharper corporate decision-making, enhanced innovation and a happier, more loyal customer

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