Maturing Social Media Initiatives


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Forrester’s book, Groundswell made the power of social media tangible with real-world examples, and laid out a framework to help on-board organization. However, many companies today are still struggling with benchmarking their social media journey, managing bottom-up social activities, and proving the ROI of social media activities. The new chapters published highlight some best practices. Here are some of them:

  • Understand why you are embarking on the social journey, and connect social media objectives to the company strategy. Ask the hard questions “will your social presence help move the customer satisfaction needle?”, “will it help sell more products?”, “will it deflect costs from your service center?”
  • Treat social media as another channel on which to engage customers. Customers still want to call you (a surprising 67% of the time), email you, and chat with you. Make sure that your processes, policies and communicated information is the same across all channels – traditional and social.
  • Connect up your social media efforts. There may be many social media technologies used within your company. Ensure that there is some level of coordination between organizations so that you can uphold a consistent experience, and brand for your customers.
  • Start small, and staff social media initiatives using existing employees who understand your customers and your business. This is important to help extend your brand, your DNA, to your social channels.
  • Put a framework of continuous improvement in place. Ensure that you can measure the efforts of your social media programs, so that you can benchmark your success as you optimize.

A significant number of companies have embarked on the social media journey. Forrester states that in 2011:

  • 1/5 of companies have not started using social applications. Highly conservative top-down cultures and highly regulated industries are two key reasons that companies remain dormant.
  • 1/3 of large companies use one or more social applications, but these applications are scattered throughout the company, yield data which are typically not shared beyond organizational walls, and the success of the programs are typically not measured.
  • 1/3 of large companies have coordinated social media strategies and programs. This means that they have a clear social media strtagey, a roadmap, they use a variety of social media technologies, and the usage of these technologies is a well-coordinated, cross-organizational effort with strong, roles, responsibilities, policies, training and governance.

These Groundswell chapters have interesting case studies from Home Depot, Eileen Fisher, Dell, USAA, and IHG. Framing the takeaways for business process pros that support customer service, they are that you need to put processes and technologies in place so that you can effectively listen to and enagage with your customers, and also act upon their input in a way that supports and reinforces your brand.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Leggett
Kate serves Business Process Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer service strategies. Her research focuses on helping organizations establish and validate customer service strategies strategies, prioritize and focus customer service projects, facilitate customer service vendor selection, and plan for project success.


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