My View of Social Media
The development of social media continues to grow and morph. The ability of businesses to capture and capitalise on social media will be a challenge for years to come. In the past few years, there has been so much change in this area, it’s really difficult for most companies to consider a five-year social media plan or strategy. Such a plan would miss technologies that don’t even exist today. Remember, Facebook only launched in February of 2004 Is it hard to think of life before Facebook?
Keeping up to date with these changes is a struggle in itself. In my role at work, I need to stay as on top of these changes and developments as best as I can, our clients look to us for direction and understanding in this space. The primary challenge for the B2B space is to really connect measurable return on their social media investment. However, is this necessarily the right approach?
Of course a business needs to make money. We’re familiar with the different sections of most businesses being either a profit centre or a cost centre. Customer service is a cost centre, the back office/finance is a cost centre. Sales should be a profit centre as should marketing.
The one thing the many social media applications do provide, is a channel for you and a your customers to connect and talk. However I would argue most of these technologies are essentially broadcast technologies until a critical moment in time. I say broadcast in the sense that you can create a Facebook page, you can create a Twitter account, tinker on MySpace – but you’re still in broadcast mode.
You can’t build these assets and assume that people will engage with you because you’ve set them up. It’s like buying a 1-800 number, advertising that you have it, it’s useless until the first call comes in.
Probably the nirvana of any marketing team, is having people participate and engage with them once they create a social media platform. Many companies have had some success with their social media strategies, many in the B2C space. Understanding what success looks like before you determine if a project was a success is key.
Are there are dollars attached to the “what does success look like” view? Go easy on yourself the first time, take a look at your competitors and see what they’re doing. The best advice is to talk to your customer sand prospects and find out from them what they think.
How would each of these parties like to engage with your business? Don’t assume your 23 year old social media expert knows these answers. Social media crosses most demographics, be as inclusive as you can as you do your research.
Building an Online Community
Once you make the decision to go social, you’ll find the need for Community Managers. This unique type of person probably already exists in your organisation. Click Here to read a helpful white paper from Eloqua which provides insight into the Community Manager and how they work.