If you are reading this, then you have probably been thinking about and working toward incorporating social technologies and philosophies into your business (or other people’s) for a couple of years. There is endless material on the topic available for your reading and viewing pleasure.
It can be complicated. It can be overwhelming. But it can also be fairly straightforward if you think about it from the right perspective. This is a list designed to help get that straightforward perspective — to take stock before diving deep into the details.
Here I present to you, in its entirety, the list of entities and issues you need to consider in order to be a social business, from the most tactical to the most strategic. I’ve chosen nine for this list. Please do share your candidate for #10.
1. External Social Networks
What? You know — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Slideshare, among others.
Why? That’s where the people are, that’s where the conversation is taking place, that’s where it is easy to get left behind. That’s where you generate enough trust, interest, relevance, credibility to get people to engage with you.
In this way you also get to know the needs of your markets more intimately, stay abreast of industry trends and understand your partners and competitors, if you’re into that kind of thing. You also, if you are the right kind of person in the right kind of organization, can keep the edge perspective that might just give you the next breakthrough idea.
Who should be involved? Anyone in your organization that has anything to do with customers, PR or marketing. So traditionally, that’s marketing, some of R&D, customer service and the PR team.
What do I need to do about it? First, you should be there. You should get out there and listen, and then participate. You should have (at least one, but not too many) corporate presence in each of the relevant networks, and you should have appropriate strategies — including social media catastrophe plans.
Next, you should consider social marketing/consolidation automation and crm tools, like Wildfire or the newly acquired Vitrue. Listening is crucial with something like Radian6.
Ensure your customer service department is out there, listening and armed with something better than "thanks, please open a ticket on that.” I’ll say that Verizon twitter customer service is knock-your-socks-off good.
Last, you should consider some killer content that is exciting, meaningful and multi-media. If you can write the paper, do a slide deck. If you can do a slide deck to a video, do an infographic. Make meaning all the time.
2. Your Website
What? You know, www.whatever.com. It’s that digital place you may, or may not, have been neglecting recently. Does it have a place for people (rather than GranitecorpMan) to express opinions, thought leadership, news or other stuff?
Why? All roads lead to Rome (where “Rome” is your website). Your social activity is wasted if there isn’t a destination that can aggregate all the information and activity, and provide deeper information and involvement — even the chance to “buy now.” Can Facebook be that destination? Not really. At least not yet (are we doing geocities backwards now? Jeesh).
Who should be involved? Mostly the marketing team. You’ll also need an excellent design and human factors crew. And if you really want to do well here, you need to be doing this with at least one eye glued to your customer experience map.
Also the sales team. Your sales team is busting your chops for more collateral, right? Kill all those birds dead with this stone. Your website IS your collateral. Maybe some of it is behind a login, if absolutely necessary.
What do I need to do about it? Don’t boil the ocean. Start small, do well and grow. Plan for constant change. Design for constant change, implement for constant change and then change.
What? Your phone. Or your tablet. What would your customers like to have when they are where they are? Is that an app, a mobile site or just a mobile optimized email?
Why? Where do you get most of your mail first?
Who should be involved? This is usually some hybrid or variation of what you already offer online. But you’ll need to decide — is this a value prop on its own? Is it marketing? Is it customer support? Know what you need, then pull the team in.
What do I need to do about it? At a minimum, recognize that email goes to phones first a lot of the time. Then you need to start thinking differently. In what way does the sensing capability of people in the field important to your value proposition? In what way can you offer important information to a person in a certain time, place and context?