Cosmin Ghiurau is the Social Media Marketing Director at Radio Shack, where he leads social media strategy for a retail corporation with over 34,000 employees and 6,000 retail locations globally. I had the honor of working with Cosmin for several years while he led Samsung Mobile USA’s social media marketing, envisioning and executing a strategic foundation for what ultimately became one of the largest communities in social media (reaching millions of fans on Facebook and Twitter). Cosmin is well aware that social media is about much more than likes and follows, and he’s authentically committed to nurturing actual relationships with fans and followers.
In this interview, Cosmin shares his thoughts on 'real likes,' socially shareable content, and driving enterprise results.
Social Nerdia: I've always appreciated your focus on having a strong foundation for everything. How important is this when leading social media marketing efforts?
Cosmin Ghiurau: First of all thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and perspective on social media and how it applies to business. I’ve always had the mantra that having a strong foundation both personally and professionally is critical to balancing the impact of my efforts. Since being a practitioner of social media before it even had this label, I’ve gone through the phases of early adopter, influencer, and advocate. Now, applying these key learnings and experience to large brands I’ve been a personal witness of what can propel success.
Social Nerdia: What's the secret to driving results in all things social?
CG: If I had the answer for instant results within social it would be a different conversation. There isn’t a key secret. It is a continuous effort to listen, learn, and take action. One item I emphasize from a leadership standpoint is making sure whenever you approach social media, it is starts with an end objective or goal. Is it driving fan acquisition? Is it driving lead generation? Is it driving awareness? Each one of these objectives should be measurable and meaningful. Then craft the tactics around these objectives to make sure there is a true purpose.
Social Nerdia: Brands should be past counting likes these days but social media has only recently started to become a CEO-level agenda. What do you mean when you talk about '
CG: I love using the term ‘real like’ because the term ‘like’ for a brand can mean everything, but in reality it will mean nothing. If there isn’t a solid plan in place for a brand to maintain that ‘like’ of a consumer and transition that choice into a long-term relationship that evolves into a commitment, then it's a wasted effort. The ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ is step one, the reality of the ‘like’ is the next step. What is the purpose of greeting someone and getting a response back if there is not continued dialogue between both? To me this is the purity of social media. This means not only having an authentic relationship, but nurturing that relationship on an ongoing basis.
Social Nerdia: Thinking about the marketplace today... Do you think consumers are satisfied with the way brands are participating in social media today?
CG: I’ll be honest. Consumers are satisfied with brands that get it. There are many brands that have a dedicated budget and resources along with an integrated strategy to place social at the center of their efforts. They realize that social media is not only a siloed channel but something that needs to be threaded through the organization. These are the types of brands that consumers resonate with. Then there are the knock-off brands that try to emulate their competition instead of being true to who they are as a brand and who their customers are.
Social Nerdia: What do you think will be essential in the next year as big brands prepare to scale their social media marketing and customer service?
CG: The key is making sure there is a balance in their social media efforts. Depending on the lifecycle of the social media practice at a company or brand, there should always be a healthy mix of paid media along with compelling content and personal communication to produce that deeper relationship. The rise of visual social media with what I call “socially shareable” content will be critical going forward. Another trend that cannot be denied is the shift away from desktop social to mobile social. There will and should be a stronger emphasis in all social media strategy toward mobile social. Strategies should not start with; “How can we grow to 1 million likes and lead the conversation on Twitter” but the strategy should begin with; “How do we capture our customer on their mobile device and provide them a social experience that results in an ongoing conversation”.
Social Nerdia: What does social media mean for RadioShack?
CG: Currently social media at RadioShack is at a place where scaling our efforts is our next step in overall strategy. The rich history, legacy and brand association within the marketplace allows us to be a retailer that consumers can discover innovative products in the retail experience. Once they discover us, they realize the selection and value RadioShack provides. We also have a strong presence on most social channels and emerging channels such as Pinterest, and Instagram. Within social media we have adopted a “tinkerer” attitude to be in the conversation where our customers engage and be there to help support and recommend solutions similar to our experience within our stores.
Social Nerdia: What advice would you give to aspiring social media marketers?
CG: My main advice is to make sure you always start with the end goal in mind first. Don’t get caught up by the success of other brands and their social efforts. Learn from them. Adapt to your audience, customer, and community. Deliver them a world-class experience and make sure you have the results benchmarked to showcase where there is need for improvement and when to celebrate the successes.