Author Topic: Getting results from your Social networking strategies  (Read 57 times)

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Getting results from your Social networking strategies
« on: November 04, 2015, 05:04:20 pm »
Getting Results From Your Social Networking Strategies

Social networks We're all getting reminded every day to take ownership of our digital brands and jump on social networks. For companies the pressure they put on themselves is enormous. So strong in fact that I've heard of CEOs monitoring follower counts on their corporate Twitter accounts a few times a day. It's no surprise that in the past six months there have been more companies joining Facebook, Friendfeed, and Twitter, starting executive blogs, podcasting and videocasting than ever before.

Many of these companies have no idea if these efforts are paying off or not. Some have no idea if they are actually helping their brands to be seen as more knowledgeable and trusted. Best case they are educating prospects and consumers, worst case they are quickly earning a reputation for spamming their followers. It's time for a reset of expectations on social networking strategies as a result. The initial excitement any company's marketing and PR departments generates by creating accounts and blogs quickly gives away to tracking popularity-based metrics instead of ones that can lead to long-term results. This is a major problem for companies attempting to get results from their social networking strategies today.

Social Networks Are Not a Popularity Contest

Unfortunately many companies including the CEO of one I know of check follower counts like other CEOs check their stock price - religiously and often. I've noticed this popularity contest mentality in companies I've been tracking for years as they venture into social networking. They get a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, YouTube Channel, LinkedIn account, get Wikipedia pages done, even a Flickr account, and maybe even have an executive blog or two set up. Once created all of these social networking accounts never gel together; they stay separate and often send confusing, even contradictory messages. It's easy to tell what's going on internally. Social networks are being evaluated only on one metric: popularity. The longer a company only relies on that single metric the longer the social networking efforts fail to deliver.

Making Social Networks Relevant To Strategies First

Conversely there are those companies who take a different approach to social networking and use its innate strengths to better communicate with and serve customers. They realize customers own the experience, a great point that Paul Greenberg makes in his latest book, CRM at the Speed of Light, 4th Edition. Paul does a great job of showing how companies who are getting the greatest value from participating in social networks are customer-driven. They create entire strategies based on the strengths social networks give them to connect with customers and aren't afraid to be accountable for their customer service performance. Paul's book is a great framework for learning how to transform your company using social networks to better connect with customers.

Making It Happen Now

After having read Paul's book and also from the observations of companies as they move into social networking, some attaining success while others struggle, the following lessons emerge:

Begin with the customer in mind first. If you are going to bring lasting change into your company where social media is concerned, this is the point to get really passionate about. Be strong and keep the customer at the center of every social networking strategy, because in the end, serving them is all that really matters.
Get your company to quit spinning its wheels on popularity metrics. Best case this is a measure of upper funnel marketing and PR performance or interest. Worst case it is a measure of how well you are imitating your competitors who may also be evaluating social networks on popularity-based metrics alone. This goes nowhere, get away from this metric and get more focused on how your strategies can be strengthened through social networks.

Accountability is King. You have to admire the courage of companies who have had problems with customer service in the past yet they get on social networks with the intention of being accountable. Transparent. Real. The buck stops with the managers who run these customer service accounts on Twitter Facebook and other apps. I suspect there are those B2B and B2C companies who lack the courage to do this, to be accountable for their customer service performance in real-time over social networks. Yet it is only a matter of time until one of their competitors decides to target their customer base with exceptional support, service and introductory offers, no doubt winning many over.

Drive and measure metrics by strategy not by social network. This mindset needs to dominate companies who are adopting social media. It is the only way to see if the investment is paying off or not. Measuring customer satisfaction by which support channels most contributed to its growth instantly shows the relative value of staffing Twitter and Facebook accounts with support specialists and managers for example. Using metrics to measure engagement and interest rather than just extrapolating click-based activity is a far better predictor of a sales lead. Segmenting audiences using social networking tools for list and audience management are far more effective in generating feedback on new product ideas than broadcasting it to an entire Twitter follower base. Define your strategic objectives for the year and then map in social networking strategies where they can make the most contribution. This is a great way to make sure social networking initiatives and strategies don't go off on their own tangent.

Staying ahead of the content curve by finding passionate contributors, using collaboration systems is critical. On social networks it's been shown time and again that you get what you give. When it comes to content, the fresher and more relevant, the more valuable entire marketing, selling and service strategies become. Consider using collaboration technologies internally to get all the relevant content in your company organized, and use unstructured data analysis tools to fully use this content as well.

Bottom line: Strengthening your marketing, PR, selling and customer service strategies with social networks deliver more measurable and relevant results than focusing on social networks alone.

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