Colleen Swanger

“My kids think I’m cool because I have more Twitter followers than all of their friends,” says Colleen Swanger.

I’m there to bridge that gap between the employees and users and be the customers’ advocate within the company.

She’s a SocialMedia.org member and the new Senior Director of Digital Marketing for LexisNexis. But she’s coming from a long history of being an advocate for the customer.

For 11 years, she worked with NCR as their Director of Design and Digital. She’s also worked in print design and graphics for packaging at The Coca-Cola Company. In the early days of digital, she even helped a team develop one of Coke’s first websites and a promotional game (The Lost Island of Alanna) included on a CD with Cherry Coke packaging.

Colleen says, “My background in designing for the user experience has helped me think more about how the user thinks when they engage with content versus how people internally talk and think. I’m there to bridge that gap between the employees and users and be the customers’ advocate within the company.”

She says the struggle to get BtoBs on board was a big challenge in the early days of social media.

It’s important to find your early adopters and social advocates within the company.

Colleen explains that people used to think social media was just for people marketing to consumers, that there was no ROI and no way to document what they were doing or generate leads.

“The attitude was, ‘What are we going to do about content? Show them pictures of our lunch? We’re selling to other businesses. We don’t want to see people’s feet next to the pool.'”

Obviously, attitudes have shifted about BtoBs in social media since then, but for a lot of social leaders like Colleen, it’s still hard to fully explain the value.

“It’s important to find your early adopters and social advocates within the company,” Colleen says.

“If you can find those advocates within sales, especially in BtoB, that will help you gain credibility with using social as a marketing tool.”

Since salespeople drive everything within a BtoB, if they believe in the value of social selling, Colleen explains, they can help you earn buy-in for social media resources and sales enablement tools.

How do you find these early adopters and social advocates? For Colleen, some people came out of the woodwork to meet her once they saw a company announcement for her new role in social. But she says it also takes a lot of word of mouth, talking to people in the hallways and cafeterias about her work.

When she started at LexisNexis after having been at NCR for 11 years, her first steps were education.

She spent some time learning the culture, identifying their dispersed social presences, and understanding the inconsistent social media governance. From there, she shared what challenges the organization was facing in social and her recommendations for moving forward in a new social landscape.

To stay on top of the new marketing tech herself, Colleen reaches out to her peers in SocialMedia.org. In fact, she was also a member in her former position as the Director of Design and Digital at NCR.

“I’m also one of those few people left who likes RSS feeds,” says Colleen.

She keeps up with blogs like KissMetrics, Eloqua, The Verge, VentureBeat, B2B Marketing Insider, Social Media B2B, and ReadWriteWeb.

Colleen says she looks forward to social becoming more integrated into the organization.

It’s a sentiment that a lot of social leaders share — while they might be talking about a future where their job doesn’t exist, they’re also talking about a more socially capable business. Colleen explains that as social media becomes a part of everybody’s job, brands will stop seeing it as something to tack on at the end.

“We’re not going to talk about social media in a silo, we’re going to talk about social media within the scope of every other marketing thing we do.”

Colleen’s been a member of SocialMedia.org with LexisNexis since 2014 and since 2009 with NCR Corporation. Follow Colleen on Twitter and ask about her dog’s Instagram account.


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