Open communication and direct confrontation in a public forum puts most organizations on the edge. Looking at the social litter on company web pages, an eye sore of interactions with such encounters often resulting in a mud slinging contest. All is not lost, you can get your social media SPOT ON and back on track. Follow the Strategy, People, Objectives, Tactics acronym and get ready to Organize and Neutralize
Strategy. More often than not you designed a Facebook page or opened a Twitter account because that was the trend and everybody was doing so, it must be a good thing so we do like wise and keep up with the “Jones”. Basically you entered into a boxing arena with little or no training and hoped that with some lucky swing you would get a knock out and all your customers would love you. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.
First, plan how you want the relationship with your customers to change, what do you want to be different? Is it more likes on your pages, is it less calls to the call center, is it more interaction with the customer, is it research into future needs or requirements, is it positive comments on new products or services. Planning is like training unless you train before a boxing match then, all bets are off.
Next you define what success will look like. Be articulate, be numerate. Without a number and a target within a specific time frame then no amount of blogging and social engagement will get you a result.
Of course, be social, focus on the customer experience, create value on your social media encounters. After all, why engage the customer if you have nothing to offer other than trade pleasantries and sometimes not so pleasant comments. After all it is “social media” not “company media” or “traditional media”. Socialites engage as and when they please and how they please.
People. Get real on who leads the team and who makes the team. Has been’s, wannabes, and best before’s are a definite NO NO! Best match your people with your customers. Get specific about who your customer is and ensure your team mirrors your customer. After all you don’t go boxing outside your weight division, else you get clobbered! When you match like for like it is easier for the teams to interact in the language they understand. Their behaviour’s are similar and finding the communication sweet spot is quicker. Take stock of your team benchmark with the customer and you are half way there.
Objectives. Define clearly how you will measure success and have a vivid picture on the onset. Ensure that these objectives are shared with your people, incorporate them into daily or hourly targets and get ready to take action on any parameter that lags behind. Being an interactive real time medium requires specific, definitive, measures, which are not only meaningful but also achievable. Decide what you want to accomplish, is it to be listened to, or to speak to, to energize or sensitize customers. Select a metric stick with it, when you hit the desired result, select another then move on constantly evolving and keeping the team engaged.
Tactics. Decide on what will form the basis of your social media technology, then create compelling content which is distinctive to that platform. Design unique experiences, whether they are devices, customer care, incentives, loyalty programs or walk-in shops. Give your customers ample opportunities to say “WOW” so they push positive content, and strong word of mouth referrals. This builds trust with the customer, it creates a community, which becomes a network, which can go viral and embed that elusive stickiness you look for from your customers. Share your journey with your customers, be authentic , be accessible, be honest, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google plus, LinkedIn and any other relevant social network out there.
Now that you have got the SPOT lets get right ON!
Organize. Organize! Organization! Social media is not just a customer care, PR or marketing orphan but an integral part of the business. It involves HR as they are the doorway in and out of the organization, it involves all departments that interface with the customer at any stage in their day to day operations. Social media involves TOP MANAGEMENT! More often than not, it is conduit to feedback within and without the organization. Without senior executives actively participating and interacting with the shop floor, social media is a radar-less ship. The sooner it becomes part of mainstream strategy, the more effective it becomes. After all, it is the window through which customers look into the organization. Make sure what they see is what you want them to see!
Neutralize. Social media can be a blessing or a curse. A blessing for those who delight and continue to excite the customers and grow the business to new heights. A curse to those who refuse to innovate, engage, but rather hide behind the inefficiencies and sub-standard performance of the business. In companies where the latter is neutralized, social media flourishes and service levels peak. Customer lifecycle Management achieves incredible results. In the former, social media is just another desk lost in the midst’s of the corporate structure. Without TOP MANAGEMENT commitment, social media will remain a subset of PR/Customer Care/Marketing damned into the realms of mediocrity. Neutralize the old and usher in the new. Of course you must taste all the wine, where some take a sip, some finish the bottle, and of course, some spit it out!
It’s time your team got their Social Media SPOT ON!
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