What can Social Media do for your business?
I’ve been asked to participate on a panel discussion for the upcoming Marketing Profs B2B Forum. My fellow panelists are: Greg Verdino (@gregverdino) from Crayon, Ann Handley (@marketingProfs) from Marketing Profs, Donna Tocci from Ingersoll Rand and Monique Trulson from Hello Direct. Excited to be considered and to share my experiences in a company of such great folks.
To prepare for the session, Greg recently asked all panelists to come up with five responses to the question: “What can social media do for your business?” Here is what I put togheter:
1. FIND AND ACTIVATE YOUR BRAND AMBASSADORS
Social media can help you identify and engage your brand ambassadors. These are folks who are passionate about your brand and are not shy to talk about it using social media. You can find them by continuously monitoring your branded keywords across all social media channels. Once found, you should develop lasting relationships with these folks that are based on respect and mutual admiration. Consider engaging them in your new product development, provide them with a window into your company’s culture and continuously supply them with information so that they may continue talking about your brand. Do not bribe them or in any way influence their opinion. Their independence is what should work in this relationship.
2.FIND AND HELP THOSE HAVING PROBLEMS W/ YOUR BRAND
Similarly to using Social Media to find your brand ambassadors, you’ll find many of your existing customers who are having issues with your products or your customer service and who are not afraid to use social media channels to let their voice be heard. I see that all the time on Twitter and by monitoring my company’s branded keywords on Technorati or through Google alerts. You can choose to ignore these folks or you can jump in to help. Your participation in social media gives you a unique opportunity to reach out to these customers through channels they might not expect to receive customer service through. Comcast has done it through @comcastcares on Twitter and many other brands are following in their footsteps including my employer. Remember though that once you decide to get involved, your participation in social media will involve setting up processes at your company to help your team stay responsive once your next project will take your attention elsewhere.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA CONVERSATIONS THROUGH SYSTEMATIC MONITORING
Have you started monitoring social media for your branded keywords? How about your competitor’s keywords? Add to it your branded product names, industries you play in and verticals you are venturing into. Social media gives you an incredible opportunity to listen in on conversations from your current customers and prospects (including your competitors’) who openly discuss their needs, generate new product ideas and alert you of issues with your existing products. You must take advantage of it by developing a plan for ongoing social media monitoring. Once you have your monitoring data share it with a wider audience at your company including your R&D group, your customer care department, your marketing and PR folks and analyze in a way to take action.
4. PRACTICE CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING
Social media is not about constantly pushing the same marketing message through every available channel and hoping that 0.2 percent of your recipients will actually pay attention to your ad. That’s traditional advertising. What you are hoping for is to energize social media participants through conversational marketing. How? For starters consider using social media to amplify your company’s philanthropic activities. Set up social media channels with content about your initiative and make it easy for others to virally spread it to others. I did not understand the power of social media viral spread until I become involved in the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” initiative my company was sponsoring. Social media outreach took the campaign to the next level and made me a true believer in the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR WORKPLACE
Finally, don’t forget that social media is not limited to your customers and external stakeholders. Through Enterprise 2.0 tools including wikis, blogs, instant messaging, internal social networks and microblogging apps, social media can help improve your employee communications and help them collaborate with one another regardless of office location, business unit association or positioning on the corporate ladder. At my workplace we are exploring several social media applications to help us share information in real time and be more productive which, in today’s economic environment, is no longer an option, but a requirement.
I am curious to find out where the conversaiton will take us during the pannel which is scheduled to take place on Tusday 6/9 at 11am during the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston. Follow the conversation on Twitter. The hash tag for this event is #mpb2b.