Está en la página 1de 4

POINT OF view

Curing Social Media Trauma


By Binoy Bose | Senior Associate, Business Consulting, SapientNitro
The exponential growth and penetration of social media have opened up a new world of opportunities to re-engage with customers. At the same time, this plethora of channels has caught CxOs of organizations unguarded, wondering where to start and how to engage customers effectively. Organizations looking for a step-by-step approach to leverage the emerging social media space and avoid pitfalls should consider the following: Step 1: Identify the Right Channels It will be nearly impossible for any organization to establish its presence on all social media channels and participate in them daily (or sometimes hourly). So, the first step is to locate where your customers are most active and engaged. Armed with the traditional distribution list from marketing, you can start sending direct mails and emails to the existing and prospective customers, requesting them to indicate their presence on Facebook, blogs, YouTube, etc. Based on the response from customers, you can establish your presence in the channels with which theyre most engaged, invite them to join the conversation, and invest your resources there. Step 2: Locate Your Epicenter Before the arrival of social media channels, your online presence was limited to a corporate website and/or an ecommerce site. Now, its time to re-define the epicenter of your online ecosystem. For some organizations, it may make sense to move away from traditional online channels in lieu of a Facebook or YouTube account if their brand context resonates deeply with the channel characteristic. But this may not go down well with the organizations, who would like to exercise absolute control over content and its presentation. For few others, the ongoing war for social media dominance between various channels can be a limiting factor. Once the epicenter is defined, online strategy must be to drive traffic to the epicenter site from other sites, whenever there is a need to engage your customers deeply or convert prospects to customers. Step 3: Re-visit Content Strategy Today, content is all over the place and various parts of the content distributed to customers is owned by the marketing, customer service, and merchandising teams within the organization. The entry of social media adds another layer of complexity by introducing user-generated content. Before embarking on a social media journey, you must re-visit content strategy to control the expansion of digital content, mitigating risk, and liability. a) Audit enterprise content Social media can leverage a lot of the existing enterprise content text, images, video, and audio. But often, organizations will be sitting on a digital landfill without knowing the quantity and value

Sapient Corporation 2011

POINT OF view
of information existing within internal systems. This is a big hindrance in the social space, where the ability to pull information from a variety of sources and blend them together within a short time provides momentum. To start with, enterprise content must be re-structured, removing any redundant information and transforming it into findable knowledge. Then, the engagement level of customers with those content types must be measured and compared against the objectives (if these were set initially). This content audit must cover all kinds of communications to customers website content, telephonic conversations of customer service representatives, and presentations to B2B customers. If there is an opportunity for social media to continue or enhance any of these communications, then identify the best social tool to meet objectives (e.g., static webpage content, which may benefit from Facebook conversations or a call driver, whose volume can be reduced by posting a video in YouTube). b) Transform content Before sharing content through social media, it is worthwhile to realize some of the unique characteristics of social media. For instance, the content in social networks must be able to withstand the atomization of content as it traverses the social landscape. It should not be difficult to derive the contextual meaning for anybody within the network, as content gets broken down into small bits throughout its journey. Additionally, the tone and voice of content should be in accordance with your target customers, so they feel comfortable advocating your brand to their friends or followers. This will induce more trust and authenticity in content as it navigates through the long tail of social networks. But remember, this does not necessarily mean mangling your brands voice to fit into the medium. To accommodate the unique characteristics of social media, you may need to re-purpose content to work in different social media tools or sometimes even create a slightly different content. Step 4: Establish a Governance Plan Initial social media efforts are bubbled-up from the bottom of an organization, resulting in a decentralized structure where each department (or individual) independently launches and manages social initiatives. Later, the marketing department takes control and starts owning social media efforts. But this is also a stopgap measure until the organization re-invents itself to scale, expand, and ultimately thrive. Soon, it will pave the way for a dandelion model with multiple hubs and spokes, where hubs represent either a brand or medium depending on size and nature of business. These hubs will be managed by community managers to coordinate the efforts among various business units. Community managers will, in turn, report to a Social Media Strategist running a Centre of Excellence (CoE), which will be responsible for: Training Starting with rudimentary engagement techniques in public spaces and moving employees to more advanced levels of social media proficiency Drafting policies and guidelines Setting clear expectations for employees to ensure their voice is congruent with the core corporate values, and outlining social media triage charts for escalations and crisis management Generating new content Creating compelling, concise content to design interactions with specific calls-to-action and re-purposing content into different formats Content scheduling Pre-planning social media conversations in alignment with seasons and organization-related events, leaving remaining content as ad-hoc and reactive

Sapient Corporation 2011

POINT OF view

Similar to the evolution of your static website managed by a single webmaster to an online ecommerce platform governed by dedicated functional teams, your organization will naturally progress from one end of the continuum to the other, with hiccups and friction, to tame the social media beast. Step 5: Build Loyalty Hubs Customers often develop a deeper bond with products, services, and brands once they buy and interact with them. Organizations can also consider launching a separate channel in order to foster the relationship with these customers. An often proven tactic is to set-up an idea generation hub to seek ideas and hold contests for product development or service enhancements from these customers. These loyal customers can then vote on each others ideas and improve upon them. This is an excellent way to tap into the power of innovation as well as build loyalty loops. If customers ideas happen to be integrated into your future products or services, it provides them a sense of ownership and they will then become brand advocates to their friends and followers. Step 6: Connect the Dots The last but not least step is to construct an analytics framework, aligned with the business objectives of your organization. This framework must include both measurement and monitoring aspects of social media. Measurement framework must have business objectives, goals, metrics, benchmark, and segmentation to measure ROI from social media and take actions. If your business objective is to create brand awareness and you are accomplishing this by designing an engaging campaign through social media, define the metric for this by focusing on the best gift of social media ability to spark and participate in conversations. Instead of measuring likes or followers, measure the conversation rate (e.g., the number of re-tweets per thousand followers on Twitter). Also, set benchmarks based on the investment of the campaign and phase of your organization in the social media lifecycle. Further, segment your audience to understand their diversity. As your online community shapes up, this segmentation will help you to identify key influencers and recognize brand advocates. If performance is below benchmark, figure out why: perhaps the content didnt resonate with the audience or the campaign was too expensive on a cost-per-engagement basis. For a business objective like generating sales, analysis must extend beyond the boundaries of individual channels. In their purchase pathway, customers are influenced by Paid Media (e.g., display ads, paid search), Earned Media (e.g., communities of brand enthusiasts), and Owned Media (e.g., Corporate website, Facebook pages) to make their decisions. Organizations must comprehensively analyze customer behavior across these media, to understand the subsequent conversions that occur on organizations epicenter site. In addition to measurement framework, design a monitoring framework to keep track of conversations within the social space, which are organically invoked. If you are able to correlate these buzz and sentiments with the circumstances that triggered those trends, such as traditional marketing activities, organizational or product changes, competitor actions, market conditions, and world events, then you can stop further analysis. If not, it will be worthwhile to drill down and see the actual comments of users. Sometimes, you may even stumble upon a new idea from their free feedback.

Sapient Corporation 2011

POINT OF view

Closing Thoughts Social media can definitely illuminate your brand, products, and services, and it can even inspire your customers to make purchases. But before jumping on the social media bandwagon, it is paramount to approach it with a strategy, to integrate social media into your enterprise fabric, and seek meaningful interactions with customers. Also, social media strategy should be continually reviewed and revised as social media landscape evolves and customer interest changes.

Binoy Bose is part of Business Solutions Strategy group at SapientNitroSM. His focus is on disruptive business models and technology game changers. Binoy has over 7 years of experience in defining the roadmap and capabilities of digital platforms for large-scale manufacturers and retailers.

Sapient Corporation 2011