Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Socail Media - Why? IV

Don’t get hung up on specific tools!

What does success look like? 

If your answer to the above question is “being on Facebook,” start over.

If your answer is “having 2,000 fans on Facebook,” start over.

Simply being present on a social media site and building up a large fan / follower base isn’t enough – what matters is how you leverage the social capital they represent.

For many organisations, one of the most attractive features of social participation is the ease with which people can publicly declare their loyalty or fandom. However, that ease of participation has its drawbacks too – if all people do is click ‘follow,’ how much value does each follower really place on your relationship? 

This is especially true given the trend to offer incentives to sign up for a group or follow a twitter feed. If someone is only following you and retweeting your message in the hopes of winning an iPad, how loyal are they? It comes down to the understanding that social media are tools in much the same way that press releases, media buys or poster campaigns are tools. Success doesn’t come from using the tool; it comes from meeting the objectives you set out.

Those objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-focused), and they should look a lot like your overall corporate or organizational goals

Social Media - Why? III

Is this something I should be doing?

There are still executives, owners, boards that struggle with social as a business driver, part of this culture of skepticism I believe is because the ‘medium’ is still relatively new and participating in it requires a subtly different approach from the ‘traditional’ marketing efforts people may be accustomed to.

To win the skeptics over you need a ‘C-suite’ plan. A good first step is to identify those who influence senior management, this is different than trying to influence the C-suite directly. Using this strategy you’re looking for those inside and outside your organisation who the C-suite may use as a source of ideas or guidance, these may even include younger family members who are into technology and who can convince manager to try out new tools.

Another sure fire way to get their attention is to highlight what your competitors are doing well. ‘C-suiters’ are quickly influenced by tales regarding peer organisations. If you can get their time and point out what the competition is doing well in this area you’ll get their attention pretty damn quickly.

You could always go maverick – AKA the stealth approach.  I have to put up a health warning on this approach though and if it backfires on ya please don’t come a knocking with litigation! Following this approach involves you sharing content on sm sites without first having got authorisation from the ‘C-Suite’. If successful you can watch your engagement climb and then have a case prepared on how social media has already begun adding overall value to the organisation.

However an approach that has you in the position of guide and not guerilla is to my mind a place we should encourage all of our people to own.  To make the mindset shift from doing things ‘guerrilla’ to becoming the internal guide and thought provoker is how we’re ultimately going to get social media moved from the edges of the C-Suites thinking to make it front of mind.

Finally be prepared for a long haul. As with any organisational change it can be one of the most difficult things you and in turn your organisation can embark on. You’ll need both courage and tenacity.

Social Media - Why? II

Can I afford not to do this social media thing?
I came across a slightly alarming if not completely surprising stat from Sage UK: less than one in ten of the 1,200 small and medium-sized enterprises surveyed ahead of the recent Social Media Week 2011 are using social media to engage with their customers.

The business software and services company revealed that of the 4,000 clients it polled, only 8.4 per cent connected with consumers using social media."With more people using social media for business and pleasure, the opportunities for small businesses to have a better understanding of their customers are greater than ever," the firm commented.

If we take another piece of research conducted by infoGROUP we’re informed that 84% of people say that online customer evaluations have a direct influence to buy a product or service. 

It’s surely therefore critical for companies to understand as they fight to be considered by consumers and look for ways to be ever present through a variety of channels, that taking a more proactive approach to participating in, monitoring and ‘controlling’ on line conversations may very well be one of the ways many organisations can influence both consumer consideration and ultimately the buying decision.