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Elizabeth Soltesz | June 17, 2013

Take the Network out of Social Network to Build Real Relationships


I spent the past two days at the Corporate Social Media Summit in New York City, hearing from companies like Dunkin' Donuts, Chobani, Adobe, General Mills and others about how they have built and continue to build their social media strategies. While every speaker provided insight on how to maximize each social channel- what made my heart skip a tweet was Adobe Director of Strategy Jeff Feldman's concept that social doesn't equal social networks. What a groundbreaking concept for this conference!


While the audience tried to make sense of this idea, Jeff went on to explain that consumers have been social about your product/service since your product/service was created--not just since you created Facebook and Twitter pages for it. Jeff explained that social media is the oil that makes the engine work; it's not the machine itself.

By taking a step back from the nitty-gritty details of each social platform (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google +, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram and whatever comes next), you can focus on what actually matters--the relationships you have with your consumers. Social networks make those relationships easy to see and maintain. However Jeff and other speakers at the conference emphasized not lose sight of what social networks have enabled, which are the relationships with your consumers and the ability to show "humanity" and your overall company "ethos." For instance, if a customer came into your store, you would have a conversation with them; you wouldn't just talk at them, spouting off promotional deals and offers at five-minute intervals. However, tons of brands do this on their social networks. Bill Tolany from Whole Foods explained the need to have real conversations with your consumers on social networks in order to build authentic relationships. The ideal social network activity for your brand should be 70 percent conversational and only 30 percent promotional! Social networks and social activity need to be authentic and honest.

The emphasis on the social relationships above the social networks will endure as new ways to communicate with consumers come into vogue and others fade away. So, despite the high-tech nature of the Corporate Social Media conference, my key takeaway is to remain focused on the actual relationship you have with your consumers inside and outside of social networks.

About the author: Elizabeth Soltesz is a Marketing and Social Media Specialist at 1to1 Media. Contact her at


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