By Barton Goldenberg
The value of Social Media is interacting with people to obtain valuable information for potential marketing purposes. Social Media is an excellent way to communicate with customers/prospects. Social Media also enables the gaining of insight into their behavior. While networking has gone on as long as societies have existed, the unparalleled potential of the Internet to promote social connections via Social Media is only now being fully recognized and exploited.
However, simply creating a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile is not sufficient to establish a Social Media presence in today’s marketplace. I would now like to share with you four “smart ways” to incorporate Social Media into an organization.
Empowering an Organization with Social Media
1) Social Listening and Engagement Tools
This is accomplished by applying digital “listening” software to a public or private social community. The software will track and analyze social sentiment regarding what customers and prospects are saying about you, your products, your services, etc.
2) Private Digital Customer Communities
Increasingly organizations are building private Social Media communities. Private Social Media communities are similar to public Social Media communities with one major exception. The exception is that private social communities are not open to everyone. Rather private communities are targeted to customer groups to create a two-way communication. The value-add of the private Social Media community is that the organization can target topical communications to its customers/prospects via blogs, forums, polls, contests, etc. Private Social Media communities are also a rich environment to create a platform for innovation utilizing ideation tools.
Whereas the first two “smart ways” to incorporate Social Media into an organization are “external” facing, the next two smart ways are “internal” facing.
3) Enterprise Collaboration (Knowledge Communities)
Enterprise collaboration or knowledge communities leverage Social Media tools to facilitate easy sharing of information among personnel. Using a knowledge community, personnel around the globe can search for and connect to internal subject matter experts to address an issue. They can generate referrals and introductions leading to new business. They can also collaborate and solve customer challenges by sharing what has worked elsewhere. The organization can capture the voice of the employee so that valuable knowledge (e.g., customer, market, competitive, etc.) stays within the organization.
4) Channel/Partner Collaboration
The fourth smart way to incorporate Social Media into an organization is via channel/partner collaboration. The key goal is to open a two-way dialog with your channel members and partners via Social Media tools. This includes sharing and qualifying priority sales leads, developing customer-facing collateral, executing Go-To-Market strategies, and capturing the voice of the partner.
I have the personal pleasure to work closely with our global customers – ExxonMobil, Kraft Foods, Johnson Controls, and Ferguson – to help them set up channel/partner collaboration capabilities. For example, ExxonMobil has now opened their Mobil SHC Club private social community to their Equipment Builder partners. Kraft Foods is working on ways to utilize Social Media to engage their key distributors.
In my book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, I have provided a number of examples of how major organizations are making money and how they are measuring the ROI from their Social Media effort.
In the next blog post, I will look in greater depth at a Social Media pilot case study of an organization that has successfully incorporated empowerment with Social Media.
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Barton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.