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Best Practices for Social Networks: Making the Most of the Social Web
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Best Practices for Social Networks: Making the Most of the Social Web



A presentation I created and delivered in May 2011 to the Montana Society of Association Executives in Big Sky, MT.

A presentation I created and delivered in May 2011 to the Montana Society of Association Executives in Big Sky, MT.



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  • First half of the presentation: Best practices Things to do nowSecond half – your questions
  • I’m a Product Marketing Managerwith RightNow.RightNow helps the world's largest organizations deliver exceptional customer experiencesacross the web, social networks, and contact centers over 8 million times a day. I’ve been working on the front lines social business transformation for over 5 years now. So I’m excited to share a little about what I’ve learned by powering social experiences on behalf of brands and discuss this brave new world with you. RightNow Social Experience offers a two-pronged approach to the social web. First, we provide solutions which allow the monitoring of conversations on Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds, your Facebook fan page, and other social channels, and then helps you respond quickly and appropriately. Second, RightNow communities enable you to integrate social media as a seamless part of your overall brand strategy
  • Well, for the last 10+ years we’ve all been wiring our organizations for the Internet. The one-way 1.0 internet – a network of pages and sites that are largely organization-controlled.
  • But the rapidly evolvingsocial web, is not about connected pages, it’s about connected people – interacting, sharing information and experiences with one another.
  • The dominant network on the planet today is FB. The scale and reach is staggering: 600M members. 1 in every 13 people on earth.Half of them are logged in on any given day. At its core, FB is a network of people, their personal profiles, and their relationships – it’s really wired for trust. And organizations have to earn the right to participate. Volume and speed of activity: Every 20 minutes on FB, there are2M friend requests accepted3M photos shared15M updates/posts/comments made
  • The other leading global social site, twitter – is at its core a network of messages. Relationships are not necessary reciprocal – it’s a publish and follow model. Word spreads quickly on twitter – To the tune of…140M tweets a day. 20% of which are conversations about brands.
  • Main Point: What starts in Montana becomes global almost immediatelyBoth of these networks are global. This is a map of Facebook connections globally. The twitter message map looks identical.In a emerging and dynamic environment like this, it’s important to remember the fundamentals. What’s NOT new about the social web? Two things:
  • We’re all fundamentally social beings. We derive meaning and identity from our relationships. We share experiences with and trust those we care about. Likewise…
  • Business fundamentals still applyAll the more so, in a socially charged environment… Quality products and services are still foundational to good business.
  • I’d like walk through several best practices for engaging on the social web, and leave you with things that you can begin acting upon today.
  • Certainly not a comprehensive list, but walking through these best practices, roughly in this order, will help you craft a sustainable social strategy that produces real value for your organization.
  • Couldn’t find a TEN, so we’ll start with 9 and count to zero
  • If someone asked you, “What’s your social strategy”, or what if you asked those that manage the social experience for your organization, “What’s our strategy?” – Would you look like this as well? Even if your piloting a program or starting small, a successful social strategy requires a clear purpose. Because of the wide availability of free tools and “how-to” resources, the tail wags the dog, where a blog or Twitter account is set-up, but no plan for how to make the most out of this channel exists. Need to understand the types of conversations to be facilitated and audience’s objectives. You and your customers may look like this without a defined strategy, as you may end-up talking past each other.
  • There various models out there which seek to provide a framework for growing and advancing with social. This one from David Armano is a good simplified view of the different stages of an organization’s social maturity.
  • John Kembel, VP of Social Solutions, the SOCIAL acronymAs this simple acronym shows, social extends well outside of marketing. In fact, social cuts across the silos of our organizations impacting nearly every dimension of business. [CLICK]
  • Marketing teams most often see social as a new channel in which to talk… in which to build awareness, spread their message(s), with the hopes that might go viral. But many of the brand-related conversations occurring on the social web are people asking for help (social Support) or advice (social Commerce)… the more transactional/interactive parts of business. As this simple acronym shows, social extends well outside of marketing. In fact, social cuts across the silos of our organizations impacting nearly every dimension of business. 
  • Though most companies start with social on the right (in marketing), a more solid strategy, is to work left to right: build a solid social (S)upport strategy, (O)perationalize the ability to respond quickly, appropriately, and consistently across the social channels. Then move to customer-powered (C)ommerce. If you do those well, then on the social web, awareness happens, it’s a natural side effect of an authentic, customer-centric, socially responsive, business.
  • 1. Identify business goals2. Select ROI use cases3. Define success criteria4. Track, measure, correlate, adjust
  • Health metrics:TrafficParticipationMembershipResponsivenessEngagementROI Methodology:1. Identify business goals2. Select ROI use cases3. Define success criteria4. Track, measure, correlate, adjust
  • What kind of content and message would be relevant to your customers? Is your audience already established in an existing community network on a 3rd party site, or is there an opportunity to build community for your customers in your own backyard?Main point: The customer is the point. Channels of choiceSentimentTrending topicsInfluence networksNeedsToo many companies are moving blindly out into the social web, and they come across as tone deaf. Same old marketing techniques, new channels.That’s why it’s so important to simply listen – and take notes. Use a brand monitoring tool to listen on Twitter, YouTube, Digg, LinkedIn, Facebook and any communities connected to your brand or your industry in general. This isn’t just an exercise. If you do this right, you’ll start getting a clear picture of what you need to do and why.
  • Main point: One of the brand imperatives we’ve taken from the social web is authenticity. You can’t be authentic if you don’t know who you are.Who is using the social web? For what purposes?Who currently owns the social initiatives? Who are the stakeholders?Do social initiatives have executive support?Does your organization have policies or guidelines in place?What can you learn from past successes and failures?So start by surveying what you already have in terms of social initiatives, who owns those initiatives and who is affected by them, whether or not your culture supports a move into the social web, which policies are in place to guide that move, and anything – absolutely anything – you can learn from what you’ve done in the past.Part of knowing who you are is being realistic about how your organization approaches initiatives. What’s the most likely way your organization will handle the social web? Will each department do its own thing? Understanding who you are as a organization is critical. One of the last things you want to do is to try to be something you’re not. It will become painfully obvious to you and your customers if there is a conflict between what you claim to be through social channels and how you behave – or how you end up reacting to criticism or crisis.
  • Main point: Social initiatives will lose steam if you don’t plan ahead.I recommend mapping out your first six months. Leave room for adjustments, of course, but have the people and content ready for each step along the way. I also recommend following the path I referred to earlier – listen, participate, provide value, and gain value – so you see that you’re moving in the right direction.These are just some examples of how you might put together a plan for your first six months.Internal launch – roll out policies and guidelines for all employees; train agents on proper response and escalation; Be clear about your intentionsExternal launch – create Twitter account, facebook page, youtube account; deliver content through those channels as appropriate; start responding to comments and questions where appropriate; Build community – give customers a place to congregate – support forums are a good place to start; empower employees (and guests) to blog; Outbound campaigns – start using all these channels to run coordinated campaigns (to gain new members, to offer news, to provide valuable content)Feedback – capture and apply what you learn; allow customers to help youWash, rinse, repeat…
  • Main Point: social web is not about technology, it’s about people. Social experience is also about 1-on-1 conversation in a public setting. To that end, when engaging an audience, mimic the real world and be human. Provide value Discuss challenges of when and how to engage. Also, is it even appropriate to engage
  • All thisruns on a vast sea of social sites – some very specific, some more general. There are so many NEW social places and spaces, that it’s easy to get business paralysis when trying to figure out where to start or how to engage.Selecting the right mix sites really depends on your strategy and what you're trying to achieve. 
  • Main Point: Audiences can be found on many different social media sites, and engagement frequently jumps between channelsSelect the right mix of sites aligned to your strategyDevelop consistency of message across social networks to prevent message fragmentationStrive to maintain consistent branded experiences where you engageMontana Office of Tourism
  • Main point: Everyone owns social. The conversation is surrounding everyone in your organization, so everyone is affected.Various models of how to structure for social success in an organization (It’s critical to form a cross-functional team.This is important not only to ensure internal efficiency. It is critical if you want to deliver a consistent customer experience. Customers don’t care what department you’re in. Veil of perception – all they see is the monolith of your brandIt will be confusing and off-putting if they get different answers from different people, different attitudes from different people, etc.Your Team Social will be empowered to monitor the social web and alert appropriate employees or teams…Guide ongoing initiatives…Formulate best practices…Make sure the initiatives are properly staffed…Provide documentation, policies and guidelines and training to the organization…Tracking results…Advise on brand evolution…Provide an escalation path for PR problems…Be the cheerleaders, convince employees that it’s worth their time
  • Draw from internal policies.Use other companies’ policies as templatesRightNow’s social web policyStick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what's going on at RightNow and in the world.Post meaningful, respectful comments—in other words, no SPAM and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.Respect proprietary information, content, and confidentiality.Protect clients, business partners, suppliersMake sure it doesn’t interfere with your normal responsibilities.When disagreeing with others' opinions, keep it appropriate and polite.Know and follow the RightNow Code of Ethics, Privacy Policy and Employee Forum Guidelines.
  • I’ve seen the next picture, it’s not pretty.However, you can walk away from this crisis if you:Review external communication processes and social capabilities. Embrace social and start creating a new social mindset in your organization. You don’t have to get all the way there today, but you have to start down the path. Know your consumers. Start today keeping an eye on conversations unfolding on the social web about your brandForm a social crisis team. Social cannot be siloed, especially during a crisis. A successful social strategy crosses the boundaries of department and hierarchy because consumers expect a seamless experience. Build and roll out a social crisis communications plan. Just like most of your organizations likely have a crisis communications plan for PR scenarios, you need to have the same for social crises.
  • Make a commitment and be in it for the long haul. Engagement on the social web should not have a campaign-focus Words like trust, authenticity, transparency are often thrown around willy-nilly when discussing best practices for the social web. At the end of the day, in order to build long-term relationships with your audience, you need to account for an investment in time and resources. Engagement takes commitment.Thank you.
  • FacebookLinkedIn Example
  • FacebookLinkedIn Example
  • FacebookLinkedIn Example

Best Practices for Social Networks: Making the Most of the Social Web Best Practices for Social Networks: Making the Most of the Social Web Presentation Transcript

  • Best Practices for Social Networks:Making the Most of the Social Web
  • * full disclosure
  • Web 1.0
  • The Social Web
  • 600M
    • Network of people
    • Time on Facebook exceeds time on Google
  • 140M
    • Network of messages
    • Word spreads quickly
    • 20% about brands
  • http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/14/visualized-facebooks-global-reach/
  • #1 - People are still people
  • #2 - Business fundamentals still apply
  • “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
    ~Walt Disney
  • Best Practices for the Social Web:A Top 10 List
  • “It’s a proprietary strategy.
    I can’t go into it in great detail”
    ~Bernard Madoff
  • Stages of readiness
    S O C I A L
    S O C I A L
    S O C I AL
  • How do you measure social success?
  • 1
    Health Framework
    ROI Methodology
  • Know your audience
  • Know thyself.
    Know thyself
  • Map out your first six months
    provide value
    gain value
  • Make use of “branded humanity”
  • Conversations jump channel
  • Rally a cross-functional team
  • Policies that make sense
  • Engagement takes commitment
  • Thank you.
    Merlyn Gordon
    Product Marketing Manager, RightNow
  • Are you using the social web?
    What technologies do you use?
  • Is your organization using the social web?
    What technologies are being used?
  • Who owns social in your organization?
  • Negative experiences?
    Positive experiences?
  • Biggest challenges or concerns?
  • Do your executives believe that social media is a near-term priority?