10 things you can do TODAY to improve Marketing-Sales alignment

Want some bad Martech jokes? Just Google “Marketing from Venus Sales from Mars”. (If you want to get seriously depressed- particularly about gender bias- just check out the image search results.) It shouldn’t be surprising that a podcast of the same name from marketing automation software provider Marketo is one of the first results to pop up. Just like the self-help industry thrives on convincing couples of their fundamental differences, the lead scoring industry thrives on convincing Sales and Marketing that we’re fundamentally at odds and in need of external support to effectively communicate. Particularly in B2B.

As I speak to Enterprise marketers one thing comes up again and again: there’s a fundamental disconnect between how Sales and Marketing operate leading to two general models.

  1. Marketing operates independent of Sales ROI, focusing in big sweeping visions (example: Etsy circa 2016)
  2. Marketing is dominated by Sales priorities and the Brand’s focus on the present, misses the forrest for the trees (example: Oracle and the Cloud Wars)

Both are short-sighted. The fact is that both organizations contain answers that the other is craving: Sales contains the budget- justifying attribution that Marketing needs while Marketing contains the long-term strategy & consumer insights that Sales needs. 

While ultimately it’s on the executive leadership to foster a genuine Marketing-Sales alliance, there are tactics that you can use as a marketer to begin to collaborate with your partners in Sales. Like any relationship- it takes work but it’s absolutely work it. Some of my most creative campaigns have come out of  joint brainstorms with my partners in Sales.

Here are 10 things you can do to jump-start your relationship with sales:

1. ASK: “What are you measured on at the end of the day?”

As marketers we get wrapped up in Vision and Strategy. We love a good digital transformation in the next 5 years hour-long conversation. That won’t fly with your sales partners. To begin to translate this for you sales partners you first need to see what the world looks like from their organization .

2. ASK: “What marketing activities best support your goals?”

This is a tough yet essential question to ask. The answer may surprise you. In one case, I found that demo requests on our website was the best source of marketing qualified leads. Considering all the effort exerted on other activities that was a painful pill to swallow. But also incredibly important to understanding the next steps we needed to take to align towards actual business value.

3. ASK: “Do you tend to see the value from activities like [fill in marketing activity you work on]?”

The key is to stay in listen and learn mode. Avoid “What happened to all the leads we gave you after last month’s webinar?” Instead try: “Do you tend to see value from activities like webinars?” Then follow up asking what could be done to make them more effective. In one case I found out that the lead delivery was too slow for effective follow – up. In that case the solve had to occur in marketing operations rather the at the content team level.

4. ASK: “What collaboration opportunities do you see between our departments?”

This is another critical question. Be sure to ask for their ideas before you jump in with your own- very difficult for marketers! How they answer this question will give you just as much information as the actual answer.

  • If they don’t have any ideas and/or sound skeptical of marketing-sales collaboration, then you know you have some TLC work to do with this particular partner. It will take some actual evidence to show them that marketing can benefit sales.
  • If they have given it thought then you will get a vital perspective and first step to building your partnership. As soon as you can work on a shared goal you will see significant progress in marketing sales collaboration.

5. ASK: “How can we work together?”

Sales organizations have very specific existing processes, with typically much more stratification than marketing. You will find your collaboration chances are best when you work with departments that already are set up to act on marketing information. Those teams will also already know how to give marketing attribution so the answer to your question may well be ” You work with me by working with x team. ”

6. OFFER: Audience/ Account Research

Find out how your sales partners gather information about their prospects. It ‘s been my experience then there’s a lot of crossover with Marketing Strategy research. This can be an opportunity to provide value to sales by providing them with work you’ve already done. Often all it takes is a little reformatting to make your research actionable. Be sure to follow up with your partners to find out if the research was useful and how it contributed to efficiency.

7. OFFER:  Trends and Insights

Is your sales team targeting marketers? Make yourself available to help them identify trends and various angles to reach people similar to yourself. You can also surface trends based on what you are seeing on social media that allow Sales teams to connect with the personas they’re targeting. Again- chances are, your team is already identifying these trends so it takes little additional effort to ship them over to your sales partners and add more value to your relationship.

8. OFFER: Social Media Best Practices

Marketers often voice frustration when they see sales teams awkwardly prospecting on social media. But how often do we actually offer to help them get better? Sales leadership knows that they need to train their teams on social selling. Often they’re struggling as non-digital leaders to understand these networks themselves. You don’t have to set up a training program. Simply offering your services as a subject matter expert- perhaps on a monthly sales call- can be massively useful.

9. OFFER: Content Curation

As part of social selling, Sales people know that they need to share thought-leadership focused content. Identifying this content takes up precious time during their day. There’s a good chance that at least part of this task can be picked up by your content curation team as part of their brand management. While there are various advocacy tools that can help automate this task, you can test it out as a proof of concept using a simple shared doc.

10. OFFER: Advocacy

Sales is more susceptible to negativity around your brands image than you probably realize. Particularly in a B2B company, Sales turnover each year tends to be quite high so they need to maintain a strong recruitment pipeline. Moreover, rival sellers increasingly are using poor brand reviews on Glassdoor and other sites to secure wins with prospects. By ensuring a constant stream of advocacy posts from both customers and employees, allows sales to push back against those attacks and ensures they can recruit the best talent.

A few last tips: Remember – sales always feels pressure to perform. The best way to work with them is to create genuine efficiencies for their teams. Be sure to check in to make sure that what you’re sending over is actually useful. Also make sure to keep any meetings you have very focused and as short as possible. Time is quite literally money for Sales. The more you demonstrate that you get that and respect their time, the more they’ll respect you and support you in the return.

Musings on Leadership & Influence

Many years ago I gave a talk on being a leader to a group of undergraduates who were in a leadership program a top 10 university. One of them asked me, in that adorably naive way of type A super honor students, how they could get people to follow them as leaders. It was one of those out of sync moments where I had to do a few mental steps to keep myself from laughing out loud at such a superiorly entitled question. When I finally responded I’m sure my answer was a bit of a disappointment- “You’re a leader when others call you that, not before. Leadership is earned.” I’m sure many were puzzled, if respect mattered so much then what in the end, was the use of the elite university program that they were enrolled in? Thankfully no one actually asked me that question- I was, after all, a guest speaker of said program!

Leadership, like influence, is a concept that cannot be defined in a vacuum. Simply listing “Leader” or, for that matter, “Influencer” on a resume without any context is a misnomer. Identifying leaders or influencers should begin with an assessment of community and/or organizational strength. In a democratic system people choose who they are led and influenced by. That’s why communities and healthy organizations are the bell-weathers of true leaders and influencers. Brute strength and force can accomplish only so much- as Travis Kalanick found out to his chagrin.

It’s for this reason that influencer marketing is such a fickle game. The big money is invested in the celebrity influencers but, with a few exceptions, their fleeting popularity is a numbers game with little community to support it.

Influencer marketing is appealing to brands because of its root in human psychology. We listen to certain key people in our lives and trust them when we make purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, the conflation of influencer with celebrity means that more often than not these are not the people being recruited by brands for influencer campaigns. People may be amused by Kim Kardashian and click “Like” but that must not be mistaken for an act of trust. And it’s trust that gets your community to take measurable actions such as supporting a cause, downloading an app (and using it), or making a purchase.

Until brands and agencies alter their approach to influencer marketing- trading in the “Insta-famous” to a verifiable multi-variate analysis- they will consistently fall short of their potential. Influencers can and should be held to a clearly defined return on investment. But it first starts with turning the process of identification upside down and starting with the community not the persona.


How to Craft A Facebook Strategy that Works

Building a social strategy for Facebook is getting more and more difficult thanks to their “quality control” features. Ignite Social Media estimates that with the latest rollout of changes on average 3% of your fan base will see unprompted posts. That’s it. To make it worse, there’s little information as to how that 3% is decided. Of course you can pay to promote posts which is some companies are now saying is essential to do. I was at the Brand Innovators Social Summit this past February at which Addie Connor, Chief Innovation Officer at SocialCode gave a keynote. Her basic point was that there is no reason to have a Facebook Page if you aren’t promoting your posts.

Really? I’m not so sure. A key with all social media platforms is to start with understanding how your target customer interacts with them. Where do they go? How do they get their information? What makes them “like” or “share” a post? We’ve become so obsessed with getting “likes” on Facebook Pages that we’ve forgotten the central mechanism behind Facebook use. An underlying assumption behind this doom and gloom view of Facebook Page posts is that people consume Facebook primarily through their home feed. It’s true that Facebook is pushing this model as much as possible. But the fact of the matter is that Facebook is not Twitter. It’s about community. For this reason no matter how much Zuckerberg & co. attempt to modify it, the reason we use Facebook will never be the same as the reason we use Twitter.

For Twitter it would be absolutely disastrous if only 3% of your followers saw your posts. This is because on Twitter our chief way of consuming posts is through our timelines as opposed to visiting an individual’s Twitter page. We might do targeted listening via hashtags but as long as you know which hashtag to include to reach your targeted community that’s easily included in a social strategy.

Contrast this with how you approach Facebook. In particular think of how you see Page posts. Page posts hardly ever pop up on my home feed. And to be honest when they do I tend to ignore them. My reason for consuming Facebook is to keep in touch with my friends and family. I want to see what they post and share. So when they share something from a Facebook Page THAT’S when I pay attention.

See the difference? This is a different metric at play. Now of course there is also a percentage used to calculate whether I’ll see my friend’s post share on my home feed assuming I’m not tagged or they don’t share it to my wall. But that’s something that we can work with as social strategists. We know how to harness influencers and advocates. We know how to organize communities and create content that gets shared.

1. Harness Power Users
Facebook revolves around the social network. Pew and others have identified the prevalence of “power users” on Facebook who make up the vast majority of content that gets shared. These are the people who you want to engage on your Facebook Page. You want them to share your content with their friends. You want your page to be the one that they check out for the latest on “x”. A great way to get them to return to your page is to engage them in conversation. Did they make a humorous comment on a post? Respond in kind.

2. Mobilize internal Influencers
We do this on Twitter and LinkedIn but not Facebook. Who are the thought-leaders in your organization? Get them to interact with your Facebook Posts. You might even think of sending you an email to alert your thought-leaders to an interesting thread on the Page that they should enter into. Encourage them to share your content.

3. Engage with like-minded Pages
Every Page is looking for engagement. So set up a mutually beneficial relationship. If a Page has an audience that you would like to reach or that is similar to yours getting them to share a link to your Page is a great way to increase your content views. Facebook is a concrete social network. The power of sharing means that your post can very easily go viral and THAT is the way that Facebook Pages become useful.

Here’s a practical example: Craft-beers have very loyal followings and some have done a great job building a social media presence but they are always looking to get converts. Pubs and bars have a community presence but are always looking to get more customers in, particularly on weekdays. They also tend to have a weaker social media presence. But by supporting each other through their Facebook Pages each can exponentially increase their fan base. Also, going a step further, there is a high probability that at the intersection between the Craft Beer Community and Pub Community you’ll find some strong advocates.


Changes to the Facebook algorithm do not herald the end of brand presence on Facebook. Rather they signal the need (which has been long in the making) of moving away from a broadcast model to a social network model of social marketing. Pulling out of Facebook is the absolute LAST thing brands should do. Rather, they should renew their focus on their Facebook campaign via the creation of a targeted social strategy.

A Social Strategist’s Guide to Free Social Analytics Platforms

It seems that I’m constantly searching for a good list of free analytic tools. As a freelance social strategist I’m often dependent on the “lite” versions of fancy platforms. In some ways I think this is a bit of a boon. Social media analytics are still quite fuzzy. Be honest- do you actually know what “reach” means? Using the free versions of tools means that I have to access multiple platforms to get the full picture as opposed to relying on a one-stop platform. It’s always useful to compare and contrast what the different visualizations show. It makes you think through what the numbers actually mean as opposed to getting swept away by the pretty pictures. Or at least that’s how I justify this to myself!

There are some great products out there. The paid versions are incredibly powerful and most will act as one stop shops for your analytics.  Many of these platforms have corresponding free version that often specializes in a certain type of analytic. By using several of these tools together you can create your own powerful analytic platform without spending a dime.


This tool allows you to search for a url, twitter handle, phrase, or hashtag to get an over all picture of user interaction with it. I like to use this tool to gauge the influencer level. The free version provides only a general snapshot but I find it to be a good jumping off point. It also generates some easy to explain analytics which are great for basic presentations. I find the url, phrase, and hashtag search features to be less useful. In the free version tweet reach plays around with the sample size in a way that can be misleading and if you’re looking to do some in-depth analytics you might as well look elsewhere.



This is a very simple yet very cool hashtag research tool. Tools like sees.aw allow you to track hashtags but you first need to know what you’re looking for and that’s what hashtagify.me provides. It also provides you a list of the top 5 influencers in that given hashtag as well as an overall look at the hashtag’s popularity (be careful of sample size for this analytic).

In this example I’m searching for hashtags related to #cognitivecomputing. I can also see the most recent tweets using this hashtag. That’s a great way to double-check the reliability sing With hashtag trackers there’s always the danger that spambots have taken over.



A great tool for account acceleration both for yourself and your clients. The free version is really all you will need. The only feature of the paid version that’s nice is the ability to keep track of when you followed or unfollower a user. But you can get a general idea of this by going chronologically through your “following” list. Followers who have similar interests to you are much more likely to follow-back. Tweepi also allows you to see the likelihood that a persona will actually follow you back. This can be very helpful particularly when you’re getting an account started. A high level influencer will probably not follow someone who only has 60 followers.

Tweepi 1

Tweepi 2


A very powerful tool to track the overall health of your social media presence. You can get one stop stats for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, WordPress, and many many more. But be forewarned, this is one of those platforms where the free version is meant to tantalize you towards the paid version. I’ve found this incredibly useful for tracking the results of account acceleration.


Simply Measured

This is a great example of a free version of a powerful analytics platform that can absolutely stand alone. In particular it’s useful to analyze your twitter audience. It generates great charts that you can export directly to powerpoint. You can also download the entire dataset to an excel spreadsheet. A note of caution– the analysis is based on a sampling of 1,000 of your followers to make sure you treat the data accordingly.

simply measured

Spider by oneQube

This is a forerunner of the next generation of social listening tools. Their goal is to harmonize listening with interaction. You can put together a detailed project based on link-targeting, hashtags, keywords, mentions, geolocating, influencer status, gender, biography, number of followers, basically you name it and they’ve got it.
All tweets matching your criteria will be put together in your report. You can even have Spider email you whenever a tweet is added to your project so you can immediately respond. They’ve added a new feature allowing you to export the matching profiles into a twitter list.

Spider combines realtime listening with realtime response. For fun I put together a report looking for mentions of the IBM Food Truck at SXSW. I added a geographical filter to only give me results coming from Austin. Just take a minute to think of all that can be done with that type of tailored info generated immediately in realtime. Very very cool. Spider is available for  a  7 day trial.


What are your go-to free social media analytic tools? Comment below or tweet them to me @suzimcc


Why Nobody Tweets but Everybody uses Facebook

A Pew Survey just came out saying that while 67% of the internet using population use Facebook only 16% use Twitter. What’s so striking about this is that I have had several conversations over the past year in which people swear to me that Facebook is already totally passé. These people uniformly are in the “Brands” segment of social media and it is true that for Brands, Twitter does work better than Facebook. Unfortunately, the public does not seem to be complying with this logic and are sticking to Facebook. So we face a conundrum- we have a tool with tremendous potential to build both brands and communities that suffers from a major lack of users.


I’ve found that many people simply don’t understand Twitter. I can say this from personal experience. I signed up for an account in December 2009 but it sat dormant until June 2012 when the UVA crisis suddenly provided a very good reason to make use of it. Once that settled down, I realized that it was a great way to follow the my beloved Nats as they blasted to the playoffs. Simultaneously I began to enjoy getting election news there as well. I found that one of my Facebook friends was a Nats fan and a total politics geek when, on the night of the Vice Presidential debate, which coincided with one of the Nats playoff games, both of our tweets simultaneously shifted gears from baseball to politics.

Facebook connections

Categories of my Facebook “Friends”- Notice that 3 of the 4 categories are personal connections. Twitter networkCategories of who I “Follow” on Twitter- notice that 3 of the 4 are impersonal- people I have most likely never met.

Facebook is clearly about friends and community. It fits well into our lives as a way to keep in touch with friends and family particularly as we become more and more far flung across the globe. The fact that Facebook began in the University community shaped it to fulfill this need.

Twitter by contrast is more utilitarian. This about the terminology- you “Follow” as opposed to “Friend”. A July Pew survey shows that once someone begins to use Twitter (I would say that once they “get” Twitter) their use quickly rises. If you follow a friend on Twitter, it is going to be someone who shares your interests, not just someone with whom you wish to keep in touch. For the majority of the population (74% according to Pew), Twitter simply does not have a natural “hook” that would make them want to learn how to use it.

Twitter, therefore, must be taught. Campaigns seeking to make use of Twitter- whether for marketing, community building, or personal connections- must plan on including a “Why should you use Twitter” component. So, for example, I’m working on a project right now to try to get UVA alums across the country to begin to “live-tweet” events at which they host notable speakers so that the greater University community can feel involved. Many, if not most, of these people do not use Twitter. Part of my campaign, then, must include explaining to them why Twitter is a great tool to reach the UVA community. I intend to show them “live-tweets” of the UVA football games and other events. Part of this will also explain that they themselves do not need to feel that they have to “tweet” constantly. Always assume that you must get past the “Roland Hedley” perception of Twitter:

As I’ve said, Twitter does have lots of potential and once an individual is hooked- they are majorly hooked. The key, however, is getting them to see how Twitter fits into their life.

See my follow-up post “Why You Should Consider Using Twitter”

Facebook and Twitter are not Magic Beans

The place of social media within society is still a highly contentious issue. For its most ardent advocates it has become something of a deus ex machina for every societal ill. This view cropped up recently in Thomas Freedman’s article giving advice to incoming Secretary of State John Kerry. He suggests using social networks (read: social media) to deal with everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the negotiations with Iran over nuclear arms. Aside from the political naiveté of this piece which has been well laid out elsewhere, this is emblematic of this belief that social media is a “fix-it” tool. The political degeneration of the so-called “Facebook/Twitter Revolution” in Egypt demonstrates the fallacy of the belief that using Facebook or Twitter has any magical powers. Why should Facebook posts or Tweets matter to a domestic government? Sure it matters to the International Community- abuse can be reported and organizations such as Human Rights Watch can mount campaigns but this is independent of the process of actual political change. In the aftermath of the revolution, analysts revealed that the central utility of social media was its ability to rally people together. The fact that it took a mere 18 days is touted as a direct result of Social Media. Yet harken back to the fall of the Soviet Union- the communist government in Czechoslovakia fell in a mere 10 days. Please don’t get me wrong- my goal is not to minimize this achievement- and it would be completely false to say that social media didn’t play an important role. Rather it is to push back against the idea that social media is in and of itself as a game changer.

At this point you are probably asking why I am going to such lengths to hammer this home. It is because I believe that social media can be a game changer- but the power lies in its implementation. It is not enough to start a Facebook page or a Twitter account. What do 2,000 “likes” on your Page actually mean? So what that your hashtag went viral? One thing that a few journalists have discussed when talking about the Egypt revolution is the way that Social Media allowed for a sense of solidarity across state borders. This is actually very similar to what occurred during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Students and activists were emboldened by stories of the East Germans and Poles standing up to their regimes. Social media is about dialogue- about engagement. 

I believe much of the current confusion lies in the fact that everyone recognizes the power of social media as an idea but they fail to implement it as such. Instead it becomes an additional tool- and let’s be honest, often a rather disappointing tool. My mother-in-law works as a social justice minister and recently told me that the most “likes” she received on a post was from one that she quickly typed up as a heartfelt response to a tragedy that had occurred. She didn’t understand why that as opposed to her normal posts which were well thought out and included links to issues that needed attention, should receive more attention.

To make use of social media the first step is to recognize that it is more than another tool of communication. It is best approached in that way that one would approach understanding a foreign land. There are norms, a culture, and distinct institutions. Now here’s the ironic thing. Most likely you are already aware of all of this because you are an inhabitant of this land. As a user of a social media platform you have an instinct for what is acceptable and what is not. Stylistically you know that there is a difference between posting on Twitter and Facebook (and it is more than just the 140 character limitation). Moreover, you know that you are in different frames of mind when you are on Facebook versus Twitter versus LinkedIn versus Tumblr. It is time to ask yourself why you use social media in your private day-to-day life. Is it to keep it touch with family and friends? Is it to stay up to date with the latest news? Or is it simply to give yourself a mental break? Now think about what it would take to engage a user like you. What would you be attracted to? Why would you engage? As I wrote in my post on the Oreo versus Coke Chase campaign, a major difference between the two is that Oreo choose to enter into the humorous Twitter conversation during the blackout. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, was intent on creating its own conversation. Oreo engaged while Coca-Cola simply used social media as another marketing tool. To truly grasp the full potential of social media organizations must focus on facilitating engagement- and this will differ, sometimes radically, case by case. 

The world of social media is exciting. It is a new frontier in many ways. In order to embrace this we must be willing to treat it as such and that will often mean throwing away the rule book and stepping out into the Great Unknown.

How the Oreo #blackout Ad Upstaged Coke Chase

No matter who you were cheering for I think we can all agree that Super Bowl XVII was one for the books.  Leading up to the game there was the family drama of the Harbaugh Bowl, the controversy surrounding Ray Lewis, not to mention the fact that both the Ravens and the 49ers were underdogs. The game itself proved equally exciting- the Ravens trounced the 49ers in the first half 21-6, Beyonce rocked out on the stage during half-time, Jacoby Jones made a record-tying 108 yard kick-off return touchdown, there was a 34 minute game delay due to a power outage, and then the Ravens (the underdog underdogs) won. Success during yesterday’s game depended on flexibility and endurance.

Within minutes of the lights going out, while the CBS sideline reporters struggled to put sentences together, Oreo seized the opportunity to tweet out what buzzfeed calls, ” a perfectly zeitgeisty” ad.

Their timing was perfect. The 34 minute power outage set Twitter aglow with an average of 231,500 tweets per minute according to Elaine Filadelfo from Twitter’s media team. These are the moments when the power of Twitter as a giant community becomes apparent. From lighthearted conspiracies about Jake Harbaugh cutting the wires to jokes about Beyonce’s electrifying performance (insert groan here!) everyone joined in the fun. Oreo’s ad hit the mood spot-on– it was quickly retweeted over 14,500 times!

Retweets are the twitter goldmine for corporations! Think about it- if you see a sponsored tweet there’s a strong chance you will probably ignore it. BUT what if your friend retweets a sponsored tweet to you? Suddenly that same tweet gains personality –you now know that your friend they it to be funny/insightful/useful, etc. and  you will be more likely to check it out. Moreover if you like it then you may choose to retweet it yourself. This is what happened last night with Oreo’s tweet.

To be overly dramatic- last night Oreo was able to step outside of its corporate shell and mingle with the unwashed Twitter masses. This is the type of engagement that social media nuts drool over. Ironically, it is also the type of engagement that Coca-cola was attempting to stimulate last night through its astronomically expensive “Mirage” campaign. By all rights this should have been today’s social media story. Coke created a “choose-your-own-adventure” style commercial that pitted three groups of characters- #CokeBadlanders, #CokeShowgirls or #CokeCowboys- against each other attempting to win an elusive Coke. [spoiler alert: the Showgirls won!] Coke utilized all of their social media accounts to post real-time updates as the race progressed and to urge fans to cast their vote.

Coke planned this campaign for months and it shows. I was actually quite impressed with the way that they tailored their campaign to the cultures of the individual social media platforms.

On their Facebook page they added their own twist to the popular “ERMAHGERD” meme 

Over on Tumblr they tried their hands at making a glitterbomb giff:

“When you ask for Coke at a restaurant, but the server tells you they don’t have it.

According to mashable, over the course of the campaign which started January 22nd, 1.3 million people visited cokechase.com and over 900,000 votes were cast.

Coke’s goal was to generate engagement with consumers in a way that would continue throughout the year. If engagement is generating laughter then sure Coke succeeded. My hunch, however, is that their idea of engagement hits closer to mimicking some form of a fan base and I’m just not convinced that this campaign did that- or really could ever do that.

I would argue that Pepsi’s behind the scenes spoof of the Coke Chase has probably generated a similarly amount of engagement for Pepsi as Coke Chase did for Coke. Coke’s advertisement was too overworked. Just like early 1990s websites went overboard on the bouncy icons and early 2000s movies went nuts on the computer generated graphics so I believe the current use of social media tends towards the “more is always better” Lady Gaga effect. While these campaigns use social media tools – they are less likely to reap the unique benefits of social media– such as engagement.

To engage in social media is to be willing to step away from the corporate hubbub and rules of marketing. It is in the conversation. Coke attempted to generate its own conversation. Oreo decided to simply join in. It is as simple as that.