Create a Social Business
Part I of this book started with the engagement processes and the ways in which interaction and participation with social content can connect your audience with your brand (for better or for worse!). Built into the engagement process is a recognition of the new role of the customer, now much more of a participant in the marketplace and increasingly in the businesses and organizations that serve it. The final foundational element of Part I—the social business ecosystem and its collaborative processes— exposed the collective knowledge of the Social Web and showed you how to use it in building, running, and evolving your business or organization. Collaboration between the business as a whole and its customers is the hallmark of a social business.
The Innovation Cycle
The combination of social-media-based marketing and the application of Social CRM is powerful. Connecting customer intelligence and what is learned through active listening deeply into your business results in a customer-driven innovation cycle. Driving your business or organization according to your business objectives is always your end goal. In combination with an understanding of your audience, your business objectives are what dictate the specific actions you need to take.
The use of social technologies to create a presence for your brand on the Social Web—whether through a smart application that a community finds useful or space of your own built around your customer’s lifestyles—creates a durable, relevant connection to the Social Web. Social CRM is the complementary connection for your business: Social CRM tools like ideation platforms and support communities encourage customers to provide insights, thoughts, and ideas on how you can better serve them. This is precisely the information you need to succeed over the long term.
Understand the Conversations That Matter
Listening to the conversations in your marketplace is the starting point in becoming a business that deeply integrates customer input. The application of more rigorous analytics to these conversations yields clues as to how an organization might use this input to improve a product or service. It also reveals why the highly recommended crossfunctional work team approach to managing the Social Web is so essential.
Consider the Workload
If you’ve ever looked at conversational data pulled from the Social Web—perhaps you’ve tried Google Alerts, for example—you’re no doubt thinking “Sounds great, but who’s going to filter through all of this?” If you’ve got a small brand, or you’re in an industry that isn’t talked about a lot, or you are a professional services consultant, realtor, or similar; you may have relatively few conversations that are of interest to you or require your attention.
If you’re Coke or Boeing or Bank of America, and in particular if your industry is in the news currently or is otherwise talk worthy, you may find yourself facing hundreds (or orders of magnitude more) of conversations daily. To get an idea of just how seriously businesses are taking social analytics, use Google to search for “Gatorade social media mission control.” It’s an amazing installation (myself having worked in Mission Control with NASA/JPL) from a technological perspective and a solid testament to just how important social analytics and understanding what is happening on the Social Web has become.