Steps to Social Success


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In my last blog on social networking and success, I mentioned that this groundswell of consumer empowerment is creating an opportunity for organizations savvy enough to benefit from it.  This entry provides a common sense, two-pronged approach to embrace the phenomenon and take advantage of the opportunity.

Step 1: Monitor conversations occurring on the social web.

I was with a client this week and he showed me a comment on Twitter that said “COMPANY X, if you can fix my situation tomorrow, I will kiss you …”   The message is clear; customers are using social networking to reach out and companies need to listen and respond.  Not doing so could send customers into a very public and very intense rage or worse— they leave for the competition, bringing with them the thousands who viewed a video rant on YouTube.

Step 2: Facilitate corporate sponsored communities.

We see consumer organizations seizing the opportunity and starting with two types of corporate sponsored community building because they both have hard ROI associated with them and are logical first steps.

First are customer support communities that facilitate conversations between customers around topics of interest.  These communities have been shown to reduce escalations to customer care, lowering overall customer care costs.  This extends the value proposition of web self-service, which we pioneered more than ten years ago. These customer communities also increase brand loyalty.  For example, imagine you are in the digital camera business.  A community which empowers your customers to share and discuss pictures they have taken could easily increase engagement and affinity for your brand.

Second, we see companies creating innovation communities to “crowd source” great ideas.  Companies use these communities to prioritize investments in new products and services and to source innovative new ideas.  Essentially these innovation communities allow subsets of consumers to submit and vote on ideas.  What you get in the end is the best ideas in stack ranked order.  This helps your business reach faster, better conclusions while reducing costs associated with market research or product development.

Greg Gianforte
RightNow Technologies
A serial entrepreneur, Greg founded RightNow in 1997 and took the company public in 2004 with one of that year's most successful initial public offerings. Greg has grown RightNow to more than 700 employees worldwide and more than $1 million in revenue.


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