Transcript of "Accenture executive summary_social_media_handbook"
Executive Summary:The Social MediaManagement HandbookEverything You Need to Know to GetSocial Media Working in Your Business
Making Social Media PayFive Crucial Aspects to Capitalize on the Promiseand Overcome the Challenges of Social MediaAccenture’s recently published book, on marketing and sales, and the newThe Social Media Management collaborative nature of the customer-Handbook: Everything You Need to company relationship made possibleKnow to Get Social Media Working by social media.in Your Business, is designed to helpexecutives and managers in any It’s Not Just a New Channel;business capitalize on the promise, The Catalyst of Change atand overcome the challenges, of this Business’ Corepowerful new medium. Chapters nine to eleven of the bookSocial media has captured the explore the implications of socialattention of companies large and media on how companies run theirsmall. As more and more people customer service operations. Whileare taking to their computers and many companies recognize thatmobile devices to connect with social media can transform how theyfriends, post their opinions and market and sell, fewer understand theengage in conversations, it’s vital for profound ways in which social mediabusiness leaders to understand this can help them respond to customerphenomenon and how to prepare inquiries.their organizations to thrive whencustomers wield more power and New Rules for Tools; The Socialinfluence over businesses than ever Media Technology Platformbefore. Some companies have mademajor strides in leveraging social At its core, social media is mademedia to develop more effective possible by technology. With chaptersgrowth strategies. In studying 12 to 14 as a background, this aspectthese leaders, we have found shows how an integrated social mediasuccess requires attention to five technology platform is the enginecrucial aspects: that enables a company to provide the next-generation customer experience.Pick a Strategy Before ItPicks You The Time for Experimenting Is Up; Act Now and ExpectDrawing from chapters one to four Wide Changesof the Social Media ManagementHandbook, this aspect covers While the front office is most closelydeveloping a robust social media associated with social media, thatstrategy that aligns to the overall doesn’t mean the rest of a companybusiness strategy and that is is immune to social media’s impact.supported by appropriate metrics, as Based on chapters 15 through 18, thiswell as getting the entire organization aspect describes the varied impactsbehind the effort. of social media on other business functions including R&D, HR and IT.You’re Not on Stage Anymore;Welcome Into The CrowdWith reference to chapters fivethrough eight of the book, this aspectdiscusses the effect of social media 3
Pick a Strategy Before It Picks YouSocial media is rapidly coming of age, and new local/global markets. But Engaging the senior executive teamas the massive acceleration of social social media also poses considerable requires much more than statistics onmedia adoption around the world risk. Ignoring social media will not how much customers and competitorscan attest. Real people all over the make it go away or lessen its impact. are using social media. Facts andworld are having real interactions by If a company chooses not to engage, figures about broad trends alone arethe millions every day—conversations it will find competitors rapidly filling unlikely to convince executives to act.that often begin with a simple trigger, the gap—and, potentially, could see In our experience, top managementthen escalate quickly and broadly into its brand and reputation damaged needs a visceral case—a personalsomething that often takes on a life by critical comments that ‘‘go viral.’’ interlude with social media—toof its own. In fact, studies show that Thus, it’s critical for a company to recognize its importance. Thus, theapproximately one-third of individuals identify very early on the specific first thing the enthusiast should doare active in social media, which puts goals it wants to achieve with social is to ask the critical question, “Whatcompanies at great risk of having media and the business benefits exactly sparked the initial motivationtheir social media strategy chosen of engaging. to consider social media?” In otherfor them by default if they don’t words, what emotional connection didact promptly. Just as important as the “why” behind social media make in the enthusiast engaging in social media is the “how”: that inspired them to believe inHowever, organizations that wade How can a company bring structure its power and potential impact oninto the social media waters and commercial return to this new the company? Whether the initialunprepared are likely to find and vibrant global conversation, and spark came from a competitor’sthemselves quickly overwhelmed how can it invest resources sensibly actions, a board member’s insightby the complexity and speed they into something that is neither fully from another company, or a personalencounter. The “fire, ready, aim” accountable nor controllable? connection with another brand, allapproach can, at best, result in provide a valuable starting point forfailing to fully capitalize on the Answering both the “why” and the conversation with the rest of thebenefits of social media. At worst, the “how” of social media begins executive team. This step is oftenit can lead to a public relations and with getting the organization, and overlooked, yet we find it to be onecustomer relationship nightmare. especially senior executives, behind of the most crucial to gettingLikewise, bottom-up, fragmented the initiative; and creating the right executives’ support.approaches to social media simply strategy and associated metrics.do not permit large organizations After sparking social media interestto operate social media at scale, Getting the Organization in someone on the executive team,with appropriate controls and On Board the enthusiast must then get otherconsistency across the enterprise. executives on board. This requiresSuch approaches create significant Getting C-suite executives behind turning the spark into a “Northrisks, including inconsistent customer social media requires a deliberate Star”—a mechanism that will connectexperiences, an inability to ensure approach, one that requires a unique with others who are critical to socialregulatory compliance, and redundant blend of engaging both “the heart” media’s success in the company andinvestments in technologies and and “the head” of the executive will broaden the base of support tohuman resources. team to succeed. In other words, move forward. Once again, appealing a social media enthusiast who to both the heart and the head isAs they consider their approach wants to capture the attention of critical to bringing others on boardto social media, companies must senior executives must make an and maintaining momentum as socialfirst understand the benefits emotional connection with those media is adopted.of engagement, as well as the executives around social mediarisks of not engaging. For most while demonstrating the return on There are a number of commonlyorganizations, social media offers investment social media can generate used ways to create interest andsignificant opportunities to accelerate for the business. Failure on either enthusiasm among the broadertheir ability to launch new brands, count will make it virtually impossible executive team. The first is pollingincrementally strengthen customer to convince senior executives to get the senior executive team aboutrelationships and drive revenues from fully behind social media—and, thus, recent experiences they’ve had onexisting customers, new customers make it an important part of the Facebook, LinkedIn or other social organization’s operations. media sites with which they’re4
familiar—a situation in which Creating the Appropriate Processes: The processes a companythey’ve either complained about or Strategy uses to manage social media acrosscomplimented a company, and then the organization.ask, “What if someone did that to Yet even with an engaged executiveour company?” suite and supportive champion, a People: The impact on the people company will fail in social media if involved in the processes and the newIf such a personal experience can’t it doesn’t take the time to develop roles that social media requires anbe found among an executive or a strong social media strategy that organization to create.board member, the next best thing is tightly aligned with the overallis creating one by pointing out business goals. Metrics: The indicators used towhat customers are saying about gauge the aspects of the businessthe company via social media, or by Indeed, to be successful, social that social media is expected togetting executives to participate in media, like quality, has to become improve (including an important,panel discussions with social media- embedded in the fabric of the new integrated return on investmentsavvy customers discussing how they organization because it affects every (ROI) measure called customer health,use social media to engage, interact functional area. Doing so requires a which provides a holistic approach towith and buy (or not buy) comprehensive approach to ensure predicting the impact of social mediathe company’s products. consistent customer experiences, investments to increase revenue, reliable content creation, compelling profitability, and long-term customerAppealing to executives’ heads insights through analytics, appropriate loyalty).requires compiling a fact base— data governance, and sufficientan engaging business case for regulatory compliance. Policies: The policies that definewhy a company must launch a acceptable, unacceptable, desired, andcomprehensive social media initiative To help leaders chart a path through undesired behaviors among internaland where it will have the most the opportunities, threats, and risks and external audiences, includingimpact. Successful business cases of social media, we developed a employees, contractors, vendors,provide the financial and competitive comprehensive list of the factors customers, and prospects.justification for diving into social critical to the success of buildingmedia, and are most effective when large-scale social media capabilities. Importantly, once the initial strategydeveloped collaboratively by players These factors form the core of a is defined, a company must test andwhose functions will be affected most social media management framework refine it over time. Social media isby social media (typically marketing, that can help organizations create or still a relatively new domain, and nocustomer service, sales, HR, IT and improve their social media strategies. one knows specifically which tacticsproduct development). There are at It can help ensure a company gets will achieve results with audiences,least three layers in a fact-based, a significantly greater positive who are, by definition, unique.social media business case: a focus impact from social media andon areas that executives value highly delivers a prioritized road map for instituting the process, technological,and easily understand (such as organizational, and cultural changes The “fire, ready, aim”attracting and retaining customers); adiscussion of benefits for downstream required to effectively implement approach can, at best, its social media strategies. Theopportunities (for example, developing framework contains six elements: result in failing tonew products, creating brandextensions, and improving the way fully capitalize on thethe organization engages with its Context: External considerationsemployees); and the links between such as regulations and competitive benefits of social media.the social media initiative and dynamics as well as the information At worst, it can lead tobroader corporate programs (for that an organization gathers throughinstance, reducing operational its social media listening activities. a public relations andcomplexity or improving customer customer relationshipservice efficiency). Culture: Critical input into a successful social media strategy nightmare. development that includes habits, behaviors, ways of working, and subcultures within an organization. 5
Youre Not on Stage Anymore;Welcome Into The CrowdWhile a company lays the groundwork for socialmedia by engaging executives and developing asocial media strategy, the effects of social mediaare felt on multiple areas of the organization.Marketing and sales are two functions that areintimately linked with social media.
One of the most visible impacts Social media can give companies a To capture the insights hidden inof social media on the marketing torrent of highly valuable customer social media conversations, companiesorganization is how it affects the feedback. Every day, millions of must refresh their processes andtraditional “four Ps of marketing”— people around the world are blogging, systems for collecting and analyzingpromotion, product, place, and price. participating in social networking data. Data collection and analyticsWhen the four Ps were created, sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, processes are no longer linear incustomers gathered information and providing opinions on products progression, historically focused,about their purchases mostly through and services on sites like or project-oriented. Analytics thattheir direct contact with sales Epinions.com, Amazon.com, and leverage social media must be morechannel providers, such as retailers, ConsumerReports.org. iterative, real-time, predictive, fine-and information provided directly grained, and collaborative. Andby the maker, like product labels or Such input is largely free. Unlike they must be able to deal with theadvertising. So it made sense for focus groups and surveys (which often increased volume and complexity ofmarketers to base their sales-growth must pay consumers to participate data (as most social media data is inefforts on manipulating those four and often require the services of a unstructured rather than structuredattributes of their offerings to find market research firm), consumers give form, which is often difficult tothe right combinations that would feedback at no charge. use directly in traditional customerentice customers to buy. analytics tools). Customer feedback issued throughWhile the initial four Ps still apply, social media is qualitative data, But giving companies the opportunitysocial media requires the addition just like the data that market to learn more about what customersof a fifth P: people. The distinction researchers derive from focus group are thinking and feeling is only onehere is that the original four Ps and in-depth interviews. Such data way social media benefits companies’relate to proactive things a company is the best type of customer feedback marketing and sales efforts. Socialdoes to its customers, while adding because it gives companies a better media also enables enterprises tothe “people” element recognizes chance to get inside the customer’s create more meaningful dialoguesthe new collaborative nature of head—something that structured with customers by moving from athe customer-company relationship surveys, which force consumers to mass-marketing model (in which themade possible by social media. In choose from predetermined answers, goal is to acquire as many customersother words, prior to social media, simply can’t do as effectively. as possible) to a more targeted,people were on the receiving end of tailored approach (in which thea company’s actions while, today, Such qualitative data is in digital aim is to start a conversation withthey have joined the conversation form—in text or digital video on a customers and increase the richnessand play a more significant role in website. The advent of text-mining and depth of those conversationsshaping what is “done to them.” tools—software that combs through over time).Within this context, we can view the voluminous customer commentsadditional fifth P as having five key to find patterns and problematic Capitalizing on social media in thiselements—the “five Rs”: reputation, issues—means companies now can way typically requires a phasedresponsibility, relationship, reward and analyze huge amounts of qualitative approach, with each phase beingrigor. The five Rs, which we discuss data much more efficiently than focus dependent on an increasing level ofin more depth in The Social Media group discussions or one-on-one customer insight, but also resultingManagement Handbook, are the interviews. In the past, companies in deeper and more profitableguideposts for how companies engage would have been overwhelmed had customer relationships.with their audiences in today’s they asked 10,000 customers to eachcollaborative world. write several paragraphs about their The first phase, Listen, is where feelings about a product. It would a company joins relevant socialAnother area that social media is have been too time consuming and communities to begin hearing whatrapidly changing is the process by expensive for an analyst to determine their customers and prospects arewhich companies understand the what the collective input really talking about. Using these early“voice of the customer” (VoC), which meant. Text-mining tools enable insights, a company can pinpointshould be at the heart of every a company to easily ‘‘quantify’’ initial opportunities for service orcompany’s marketing and sales qualitative feedback. product improvement initiatives.efforts. Social media is a powerful Once it is comfortable listening, asource for understanding the VoC for Of course, making sense of this input company can begin interacting withfour reasons: requires a new level of customer existing communities and establishing analytics capabilities. its presence on a few of the major social networking communities. 7
Prior to social media, community encourages open and page. Once registered, any tweeting honest communication among all its Best Buy employee who encounterspeople were on the members, and the community page a customer tweeting about a badreceiving end of a serves as a valuable information hub. It provides several resources— Best Buy experience can respond to the customer by sending a messagecompany’s actions including chat rooms, answer center, from the @Twelpforce account. discussion boards, and eBay blogs—to The Twelpforce service enables Bestwhile, today, they have help members stay informed about Buy to spot and engage an unhappyjoined the conversation the latest events, programs and news. customer more quickly, which not In doing so, eBay enables community only strengthens the bond with thatand play a more members to resolve issues among customer, but also keeps the issuesignificant role in themselves without having to engage from spreading. the customer care department.shaping what is “doneto them.” In the third phase, Optimize, a company uses its social media presence as part of its multi-channelInsurance company USAA for years customer engagement—developinghas done a great job of anticipating strategies that engage and empowercustomer needs before they surface customers and business partnersand taking advantage of social to participate in the company’snetworks to interact with customers. day-to-day business operations.For example, through Twitter As part of this effort, a company(http://twitter.com/USAA), USAA starts by linking several platformslets customers know about tools for and integrating them with theirmanaging personal spending, tips for digital and CRM applications, andsurviving storms, advice on talking to connects social CRM with other keyadult children about financial matters, functional areas. This increasing leveland guidance on how to prepare of integration across the enterprisetheir children going off to college or provides the backbone for trulyuniversity. It also offers an accident tailored experiences that willchecklist iPhone application that stand out from competitors.guides customers through the processfrom reporting an accident Best Buy’s Twelpforce is a greatto securing a rental car. example. The consumer electronics giant encourages its employees fromIn the second phase, Engage, a across all operations to help handlecompany is ready to build its own customer service issues via Bestnetwork—to establish its own Buy’s Twitter account. Using theircustomized community to learn from company and Twitter ID, employeescustomers and actively promote can register for the service, afterproducts and brands. Once the which their tweets will be displayedcommunity is active, a company in a single stream on the samemust interact with it—publishingcontent, executing activities, pollingcommunity members, providing To capture the insightsnew services, and identifying and hidden in socialinfluencing respected and activemembers of the group. media conversations, companies must refreshFor example, eBay established asocial community network on its their processes andcorporate website that is made up systems for collectingof eBay members, buyers and sellers,as well as eBay staff. The eBay and analyzing data.8
Its Not Just a New Channel; Its TheCatalyst Of The Change At Business CoreFor many organizations, social media same way as they view the phone, feedback channel available to allis seen primarily as a new marketing fax, e-mail, or their website–just one their channels—call centers, e-mail,and sales channel, a way to stimulate more way for customers to contact regular mail correspondence, and sogreater demand among existing them. As a result, these companies on. This makes adding a new channeland potential customers. However, use the same traditional complaint- expensive and time consumingsocial media is also a powerful tool handling processes for social media, because everything must be accessiblefor helping organizations excel and that’s where the struggle begins. for all people. It often forcesduring critical “moments of truth”: Companies quickly find they can’t customers to plow through volumeswhen customers require assistance respond fast enough or appropriately of information and options that coverwith a problem or question about without dramatically increasing their all possible service issues to registera company’s products or services. resources. The one-size-fits-all model a complaint. Maintaining all channelsHow well companies deal with these doesn’t factor in the speed with equally becomes expensive andmoments of truth can go a long way which the social media complainant onerous, and often is not necessary.toward determining whether customer wants an answer. People who useword of mouth will propel a company Twitter, Facebook, or another social The second reason why manyand its brand to stratospheric heights channel regard timeliness as far more companies are struggling with socialor catastrophic lows. important than getting a polished media is because they have tried answer. The complaint-resolution to handle the burden of respondingUnfortunately, most companies aren’t policies of most companies are effectively themselves. They becomeprepared for an increasing number of anything but speedy. daunted by the expense and numbercustomers using social media as their of people they believe they mustservice channel of choice. Why? The In addition, the one-size-fits- hire to respond to thousands orfirst reason is that they have applied all model typically means that even millions of customer messagesa one-size-fits-all customer service each channel is offered the same coming in through social media. Andmodel across every customer segment information. Some companies yet they don’t realize that outsidersand response channel including social have a philosophy of making all may be as capable as their ownmedia. They view social media in the the capabilities for one customer employees in answering customer10
How well companies to operate in a unified channel and The third action is designing a in creating online communities that measurement system to gauge howdeal with these enable customers to help each other. well the company is respondingmoments of truth can And they allow many employees be a to social media complaints and face to the customer, not just a few. a feedback loop for institutinggo a long way toward Finally, they are never content with necessary improvements. Threedetermining whether their success and continually work to metrics—different from those used in improve their social CRM channel. a traditional call center setting—arecustomer word of As a result, these leaders consistently especially important. The first ismouth will propel a use the social channel to surprise and the “mood” of the people who talk delight their customers. about the company via social mediacompany and its brand channels. If the mood is good orto stratospheric heights Of course, social media also can positive, the social media response present major customer-service team has done its job. A secondor catastrophic lows. challenges when an individual or metric is the level of advocacy group is determined to use social among customers. If the number channels to disparage an organization of supportive comments posted byquestions. These companies shy away or its brands. Companies that don’t customers about the company’sfrom using, as part of their service act quickly to contain consumer products or services outnumberscapability, the people who spend time outrage fanned through social media negative ones, and customerson social networks and love their can watch their brand reputations increasingly help other customersbrands. They worry about the risks to get tarnished rapidly. Indeed, resolve issues they are having, thesecurity, corporate culture, and brand companies now must play “defense” team has been successful. The thirdreputation from enlisting the help of against the “offense” of such metric is “handoff.” By this we meanoutsiders. “aggressive consumer activism.” how well a company can identify How? We have found three actions complaints that stump the socialOther companies fall down in to be especially important. media crowd and bring those issuesresponding to the social media chatter in-house for effective handling.because their left hand doesn’t know The first action is to establish criteria The more quickly the company canwhat the right hand is doing. In many for determining which complaints to accomplish the handoff, the less timeorganizations, sales, marketing, and respond to and guidelines for how an issue sits unresolved.service are autonomous functions that to respond. A complaint-handlingdon’t work closely with one other. For “decision tree” can be helpful in There’s no doubt that marketingexample, customer service employees that regard. Such a tool helps and sales are the functions thatmay be on top of a product quality companies recognize the nature of, or most companies commonly think ofissue that customers are sounding off reason for, the complaint; and then when considering adopting socialon in Facebook, and yet marketing determine how to respond based on media to improve the business. Inmay continue to operate as if there is a combination of the value of the reality, however, there’s just asno problem at all, running adverts that complaining customer, the potential much potential to be found in thedon’t address the issue. damage to the firm’s reputation, and customer service area—both in terms the “noise level” or extent to which of improving the overall customerDespite the numerous missteps in the the complaint could travel. experience and reducing service andmarketplace, a number of companies support costs.have successfully incorporated social The second action is recognizing themedia into their customer service different roles of people who aremodels. In our research and consulting willing and able to respond to socialexperience, we found these firms media-generated complaints—and People who use Twitter,share a number of common practices. having in place the right proceduresThey are able to define a unique that enable those people to mobilize Facebook, or anothercustomer service channel strategy quickly to address them. Responders social channel regardfor social customer relationship could include not only “official”management and truly understand the customer service professionals, but timeliness as far moreinvestment period required to build also employees outside of customer important than gettingthis channel. They are also adept at service and even customers who caregetting marketing, sales, and service about the company. a polished answer. 11
The Time for ExperimentingIs Up; Act Now and ExpectWide-Spread ChangesBeyond the traditional customer-facing functionsof marketing, sales and service, engaging otherfunctions early in the process are critical to success–including Technology, HR, Legal, R&D and others.
The scope and scale of social media According to the company, IdeaStorm product development team to helpis such that all functions of a was created ‘‘to give a direct voice determine the formula of the productcompany—not just the front office— to our customers and an avenue to that ultimately went on sale.are affected, albeit to varying degrees. have online ‘brainstorm’ sessions toOne way to think about impact is to allow you the customer to share ideas Still others are using social mediaconsider a spectrum of influence, such and collaborate with one another and in an often-overlooked part ofas that in Figure 1. Dell.’’ Dell reports that three years the product development process: after the launch of the site, more the experience customers have inAt the far left of the spectrum than 10,000 ideas have been explored purchasing and using a new product.are functions farthest from the and nearly 400 implemented. Companies traditionally havecustomer—such as legal and finance. collected feedback on the customerThese functions are likely to be least When people think of social media experience through surveys—phone,affected by social media. and product development, most think in-store, and online. In all cases, the of the front end of the innovation data may not be timely. Social mediaIn the middle are functions that process, or the ideation stage. And lets companies acquire customerexperience moderate impact. They as the Dell example illustrates, feedback on the buying and post-include R&D and the supply chain, social media can be very effective sales experiences in real time andwhich, while not directly connected in gathering and brainstorming new begin to assess and correct potentialto customers, play an instrumental ideas to be explored further. But what issues immediately, before theyrole in fulfilling customer demand about the other steps in the process? become problems. Furthermore, socialand will require new levels of agility We’ve found that companies that are media allows companies to hear orto accommodate the always-on, fast- truly leveraging the power of social read consumers’ unvarnished, realpaced nature of social media. media to boost product development words and get an appreciation of are using social media in many steps the emotion and context involved,The R&D function, in particular, can of the process, not just in ideation. unhidden by a survey firm’sbe influenced significantly by social For example, some companies are interpretation of them.media, as social media creates a using social media to more preciselywhole new way for customers to understand the demographics behind A great example: In the daysform an emotional attachment to a a certain customer segment or better immediately after the launch ofcompany’s offerings. Social media divine their needs—that is, to listen Apple’s iPad, hundreds of thousands ofenables a company to stimulate better to the voice of the customer. tweets were sent containing the wordand then tap the collective passion This is important in trend-driven ‘‘iPad.’’ Was this just meaninglessand insights among its customers, markets where needs change rapidly chatter? Quite the contrary, as anidentify new needs, test solutions to due to peer interaction. editor at Harvard Business Reviewmeet those needs, create customer discovered. Scott Berinato, workingbuzz, and get customer acceptance— Other companies use social media with software developer Jeff Clark,even before a new product or to hasten and improve the step evaluated the more than half aservice hits the market. Social of getting feedback on product million tweets containing ‘‘iPad’’media also helps companies harness prototypes. One example is the during the product’s launch weekendadditional resources and expertise to campaign conducted by Marmite, a and found that while some proportioncomplement and bolster their internal Unilever-owned brand famous for its of the tweets certainly had nodevelopment capabilities—in effect, yeast spread (similar to Vegemite, the value, the vast majority of them, ifmaking the entire world a potential version sold in Australia) that incites analyzed correctly, offered a goldrich (not to mention low-cost) either lust or disgust, depending on mine of insights that Apple couldsource of new ideas. one’s palate. Looking to create a new use to improve various aspects of the ‘‘more mature, extra strong’’ version product and the company’s supportFor example, Dell Inc. for years has of its standard spread, Marmite of it. From a product developmentused online tools to solicit ideas identified a set of customers who standpoint, for instance, the tweetsfrom customers, which has helped were extremely active and passionate offer an unflinching look at users’improve its computer hardware, about the brand on social networking experiences with the product. Bysoftware, services, and customer sites. The 200 lucky individuals, pairing up attributes of the iPad (suchservice. The computer manufacturer dubbed ‘‘Marmarati,’’ were then given as ‘‘keyboard,’’ ‘‘display,’’ or ‘‘weight’’)was one of the early adopters of beta versions of the new product mentioned in the tweets with positivethe crowdsourcing concept with and asked to provide their views and negative words in the samethe launch of its IdeaStorm web on various aspects of the samples. communications, Apple’s productsite (www.ideastorm.com) in 2007. Their feedback was sent along to the development team can quickly 13
The scope and scale of employer. Every organization likely relevant, not only in the recruiting will need multiple social media policy process, but also in the training andsocial media is such documents for different purposes development of existing employees.that all functions of and audiences. For instance, one Indeed, companies aggressively document typically includes broad adopting social media will find thata company—not just guidelines for the entire employee not only are new roles needed tothe front office—are base on the appropriate use of social media relative to making specific manage specific aspects of their social media initiative, but also manyaffected, albeit to references to company matters or existing roles—including those in the presenting themselves as “speaking C-suite, brand and product managers,varying degrees. for the company.” A separate sales and service representatives, HR document provides more operational and learning professionals, and legal guidelines for workers who use social teams—must change in response topinpoint what’s turning users off media as part of their job. There also the opportunities and challenges socialand, thus, prioritize fixes they should are policies for users of a company- media presents.consider for future releases. operated online community and guidelines for managers on how to Furthermore, social media is playingAt the far right of the spectrum are handle social media. an increasingly prominent role infunctions that are highly affected by how organizations attract employees.social media. As discussed previously, Importantly, policies should not be Prospective candidates are using socialthese include the front-office designed to “control” employees. media to get a composite picture offunctions of marketing, sales and Trying to control what employees say an organization to determine whetherservice, as well as human resources about their company in social media it is a good fit for them (which means(HR) and information technology (IT). would essentially require controlling companies need to make sure the employees’ thoughts and actions employee value proposition theyFrom an HR perspective, the impact every hour of every day. It’s just not present via social media is appropriateof social media is twofold. Because possible (and why would anyone want and compelling). Companies cansocial media can effectively make to do that, anyway?). Instead, leaders also use social media to find and vetevery employee a spokesperson for the must provide the right balance of candidates, which requires people incompany, HR must determine how to empowerment and accountability. the HR function who are adept atmanage the ways in which employees After all, trust and empowerment are incorporating social media searchesengage in social media conversations inherently less expensive than control. into their overall recruiting process.about the company and how they Trust and empowerment do notrepresent the organization in these require reporting, audits, or processes. The IT function, by virtue of theconversations. This is substantially In addition, trust and empowerment technology-driven nature of socialdifferent from years past, when public obliterate fear and diminish politics media, is also in the ‘‘high-impact’’relations and HR only had to concern in the workplace. Moreover, every zone. While the job of the chiefthemselves with the limited number policy should be unique. Companiesof ‘‘official’’ spokespeople who were must create social media policies withauthorized to interact with themedia, had the appropriate training, an understanding of the processes The time for pilotand conducted their interviews in they intend to impact, the employees who will carry out those processes, projects related tocontrolled environments. the measures of success, their unique social media is over. culture, and their context (regulations,Today, while employees aren’t business objectives, organizational Now, companies mustholding press conferences, they dohave the ability to do good or cause history and other factors). determine how they’reharm online, so they must be much Just as important from an HR going to generate valuemore aware of the nuances of theircommunications and have clear perspective is the talent question. via social media and As companies increasingly use socialboundaries regarding what they media in multiple business functions, avoid the significantsay and how they say it. Thus, allcompanies need a strong social media HR must ensure that employees potential risks that possess the appropriate social mediapolicy to help employees understand skills and capabilities. Doing so are inherent in poorthe boundaries of their socialmedia activities relating to their requires considering such skills, where execution.14
Low Impact of Social Media High IT Sales Legal R & D Supply Marketing Service Finance Chain Human ResourcesFigure 1: The Impact of Social Mediainformation officer (CIO) has become work with ‘‘disposable technologies.’’ companies must determine howbroader and more influential in Social media introduces all sorts of they’re going to generate value viathe past two decades, social media technologies that aren’t necessarily social media and avoid the significantexpands the CIO’s role even further. going to be around for 15 years, so potential risks that are inherent inIt ups the ante for CIOs, making they’re not infrastructure per se. But poor execution. Doing so involvestheir jobs more consequential. still, the organization needs to have understanding the important roleThe reason is that social media a plan for how to acquire and retire each function within the businessconnects the company directly to them as well as how they fit within plays in “getting social media right”customers, creating an unprecedented the overall IT portfolio. They must and enabling the enterprise to fullyopportunity to market better, service figure out how to adapt the overall capitalize on social media’s promise.customers more effectively, improve planning and execution processproduct development, and accomplish for technology in the business—forother competitive mandates. In this instance, shifting from annual toway, social media is one of the best quarterly planning for technologythings to happen to CIOs and their to accommodate rapidly evolvingIT departments, as they now play a social media tools and large shiftsmore direct and strategic role in the in customer bases. And they need tosuccess of the business. rethink their innate desire to decrease the complexity of the technologyBut social media also makes the CIO’s footprint as well as the need forrole much more complex. For instance, stable technology platforms that canCIOs now need to determine how be integrated easily with a company’sthey will capture, organize, analyze, present and future systems.and leverage the vast amounts ofdata social media generates. They In short, the time for pilot projectsalso have to understand how to related to social media is over. Now, 15
New Rules for Tools; the SocialMedia Technology Platform
Arguably one of the biggest forum site, or a product review One of the biggestchallenges companies will encounter webpage. Each one has its ownin embracing social media is the rules. Each one focuses on its part challenges companiestechnology aspect. This is especially of the CRM process. A customer will encounter intrue as companies move from who tweets a complaint may be theexperimenting with social media same customer who sounds off on embracing social mediato making it a core part of their the company’s product review site.enterprise. But because the applications were is the technology implemented separately, the company aspect.To date, companies have instituted doesn’t know that. Another customersocial media technology in two may post gripes on the company’sphases: experimental and business new online customer forum. Buttransformation. The experimental that system isn’t linked to thephase was all about the tools. CRM system, so the company can’tCompanies deployed components of positively identify the source ofsocial media such as blogs, product the gripes.ratings, discussion forums, andcustomer comments as one-offs— What’s the solution? The Socialisolated and often uncoordinated Media Handbook delves into thisinitiatives that paid little attention to topic in considerable detail, but at athe existing technical infrastructure. high level, we believe managers need to take a more thoughtful approachBut we are past the experimental to selecting the right technologies,stage. Social media must be seen in building a sustainable and scalablea larger, more strategic context—in infrastructure, and developingthe way companies manage their and delivering applications in theentire customer relationships. This constantly changing world of socialis the business transformation phase media. And a key element of thatof social media, and it requires approach is what we call a socialmuch more planning, resources and media platform.experience than the experimentalphase that preceded it. The business A social media platform is technologytransformation phase moves past that enables a company to identifystand-alone, outside-the-firewall and aggregate in one place all of itsskunkworks initiatives and focuses interactions with customers as wellon linking social media technology as the social media chatter of thosewith a company’s core information customers about the firm (in additionsystems. to noncustomers who take to blogs, discussion boards, and the like). TheIndeed, integration is absolutely role of this platform is clear (althoughcritical to making social media not easy): Find out who is talkingwork. Without an integrated about the company and its products,approach to technology, a company’s policies, and so on through socialresponses to and interactions with media and get that information to thecustomers will be disjointed, which people in the company who can takeultimately will erode the firm’s appropriate action.reputation and jeopardize customerrelationships. Yet many companies Currently the social media platformtoday struggle with the remnants cannot be bought from one softwareof their original, un-integrated vendor; some software companiesexperimental approaches to social provide key pieces of the platform,media. Their data from online but none sells the entire suite. Ascustomer interactions resides in a result, companies must build themultiple silos. They installed social platform more or less from scratch,media applications as point solutions although they can and should taketo point problems—for example, a advantage of commerciallyblogging tool, or customer discussion available software. 17
A social media platform has six core as how well it has responded to thosecomponents: discussions. A social media platform must be created with metrics that1. Community services: These keep managers informed on theirtechnologies enable companies firm’s online reputation.to build and maintain onlinecommunities such as blogs, ratings 6. Integration with the existingand reviews, referrals and sharing, CRM system: Social media is aand forums. critical channel for companies to listen and react to customers. The2. Integration with external social platform must give companies a deepmedia channels: This component understanding of their customers’links a company’s social media preferences—and based on the actualcapabilities to the social media behavior they display (what they’rechannels that are outside of its complaining about in Facebook, andcontrol—for example, Facebook, so on). But it’s not the only channel.Twitter, and external blogs. It enables The contact center, e-mail, traditionala company to ‘‘fish where the fish marketing and sales campaigns,are’’—comb the Web’s many places and the conventional sales forceswhere customers and noncustomers will not go away soon, if ever. Thushang out and provide content as short companies need to link their socialas a comment on a blog and as long media platform to their enterpriseas a one-hour video on YouTube. CRM systems. Social CRM systems that collect data and facilitate3. Work flow optimization: The relationships with customers andwork flow component enables influencers must be connected to thecompanies to define which social corporate CRM system.media events require attention, thekind of attention they require, and The social media platform has becomewho in the organization must act. The an essential new element of awork flow component also features company’s technology infrastructure.a tracking mechanism that monitors It is a new engine that enableswhether the person responsible a company to provide the next-for handling the issue did in fact generation customer experiencehandle it. If that person doesn’t, the by receiving social media contenttracking mechanism escalates the from many channels; using analyticsissue, bringing it to the attention of software to monitor trends, andsomeone else. helping managers decide what to do about those trends. The platform is4. Text analytics: Text analytics tightly integrated with a company’ssolutions mine documents and other existing CRM system, which enablesforms of “un- structured” data. They a company to feed the data andanalyze linguistic structure and apply interactions from all the socialstatistical and machine-learning media chatter into the traditionaltechniques to discern entities (names, ‘‘marketing funnel’’ through whichdates, places, terms) and their people move from prospects toattributes as well as relationships, customers. And perhaps mostconcepts, and even sentiments. They importantly, the platform combinesextract these “features” to databases and connects all relevant softwarefor further analysis and automate and data seamlessly, which enablesclassification and processing of source companies to understand customersdocuments. more completely and put their best foot forward in all interactions5. Measurement and analysis: with them.This component enables a firm togauge the impact of social mediaconversations on its business as well18
ConclusionStrictly speaking, social media is not Combined, the precedinga new phenomenon; people have characteristics can either be a boon tobeen providing recommendations companies that embrace social mediaand opinions to friends and contacts and its growth-generating potential,for millennia via channels through or spell serious trouble for those thatwhich a two-way conversation can are unwilling or unable to recognizetake place. In modern history, such social media’s growing influence andchannels have included face-to-face power. Indeed, the massive presencediscussions, letters, the telephone and, of social media interactions is creatingmore recently, e-mail. So what is a whole new ball game for the worldnew today? of commerce and connection. They are materially impactful, unavoidable andWe see a number of characteristics so ubiquitous that no business canthat distinguish today’s “digital social afford to simply ignore them.media” interactions from other typesof social conversations. It enables Companies that already have “joinedone-to-many or many-to-many the conversation” and made socialconversations and features content media a priority understand howcreated and posted by consumers of fundamentally social media affectsthat content. Social media is also myriad areas of their business. Thesevery easy to use, highly accessible organizations are well ahead of theand highly scalable, and it operates in curve and have made substantialreal time. Finally, and perhaps most changes in their strategies, businessimportant for companies seeking to processes, technologies, and talentprotect and enhance their reputations, bases that enable them to capitalizesocial media is entirely public on the opportunities provided by socialand transparent. media while mitigating the risks. Other companies can learn much from their experiences. 19