Customer Experience News & Trends

10 essentials for your social-media business strategy

What’s your social-media strategy for creating more business?

Steve Nicholls, author of the best-selling book “Social Media in Business,” offers the following 10 social-media “musts” for top level managers:

1. Be the architect. As the CEO or leader, you need to create a vision of what social media looks like for your organization — just like an architect has a model of the building that is going to constructed. This is crucial so that everyone knows their part and what they are trying to achieve. Create a common language so that everyone can participate in the discussion, not a just a few experts who know the jargon.

2. Create the model that brings everyone together. Develop a model of how to bring social media into your entire organization. Many organizations have a social media program in place — likely in the marketing department — but to truly maximize results, a company needs buy-in from the entire organization.

3. Set the business goals.  Create social media goals in the context of how they will achieve the business goals. The organizational goal could be, for instance, to increase the repeat customer percentage in order to increase revenue by X%. One marketing strategy could be to have a more effective customer relationship management strategy, depending on what you already do. You would then select the social media program that would support those goals. That would be around customer service and the ways you interact with the customer to provide information.

4. Conquer the inside first. Social media can create diversified channels of communication both within a company’s internal organism, among staff, departments, divisions and other parts of the company, and externally, between a company and its customers, suppliers and other businesses. Also, social media can be used for both formal and informal communication, the former owned by the company and the latter by the employees.

5. Expand your reach. Social media can create and provide access to online communities and your target markets; it increases brand awareness, builds overall trust, taps into global and local markets, increases visible market presence, generates leads, helps raise rankings on search engines and increases search engine optimization.

6. Improve international communication. Social media makes it easier for employees to work together, improves communication among departments, can overcome geographical boundaries, and offers a softer way to interact with upper management. This will result in better relationships and increased productivity.

7. Collect intelligence. Insight, just like wisdom, is much talked about but very seldom practiced. In social media, the Holy Grail is making insight a part of the way you work. Content generated by the global online community becomes business intelligence that can help you gain insight on your customers, your products, your services, your competitors, your industry and other aspects of interest. Collect the intelligence and learn!

8. Be interactive. Here are two great examples from Cisco and Coca-Cola. (1) Coca-Cola’s ‘Freestyle’ vending machine has more than 100 options of flavors, which customers can mix to their taste, before sharing their “new product” with their friends using social media. This supply and demand information is then transmitted to Coca-Cola’s main office, and this business intelligence is then turned into new products answering market demand. (2) Cisco held a competition to come up with billion-dollar ideas. The competition generated 800 ideas by 3,000 participants in 156 different countries, and the best idea won $250,000. So for $250,000, the company got at least one potential billion-dollar idea for their business. You of course can scale those ideas down or up to fit your organization’s resources.

9. Keep the culture in mind. Social media is linked with corporate culture. The more open the culture, the more social media will flourish in your organization. A more closed culture will seek to control social media and will inevitably fail; this is to be avoided at all costs. Organizational culture typically falls somewhere within this continuum, and social media projects will be crafted according to the type of culture your company has.

10. Have a step-by-step formula. Adopt a staged approach. In that way, you’ll be able to integrate the old with the new and minimize the failure risk inherent in a “let’s do it all at once” approach.










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