We offer social media management services and we often hear:
– “Social Media is so hard to get over the line’ and -‘Its hard to demonstrate the ROI of Social Media’ or
-‘The CEO is just not on board with the Social Media idea’
These comments typically come from individuals that do not have the full business picture in mind when they are talking with their client.
As marketers we often think of Social Media as part of our own personal toolkit – albiet a growing and quickly developing one. Via Social Media we have the capacity to reach consumers, with some prs still aiming to get a few messages across (yes very old school) and ideally raise the brand profile and ultimately sell the item that we are marketing.
So what is wrong with that notion? After working in traditional media, online pr, market research 2.0 and knowledge management it is clearly evident that we need to recognise that Social Media touches all the above disciplines within a business including R&D and CRM. As individuals within those disciplines we need to step outside our own areas and look at how we deliver business value across many areas of the business – a much more wholistic approach.
So how is this relevant to you as a marketer? First understand that the Twitter account that you are trying to sell in for pr purposes can also be used for CRM and that means working with those relevant internally to support customers if complaints arise. That branded Online Community that you are thinking about will provide ROI for many elements of your business including innovation and R&D. It is not just about your big shiny idea or your pr/marketing silo, or for that matter (and this is positive) the marketing budget.
Finally social media strategies can be devised and initially implemented by agencies but collaborative maintenance must come from the company itself. What is maintenance? after the initial burst of creative activity is the hard yakka of continuing the conversation with your consumers, listening to them and embracing what you learn. If your social media marketing agency is simply selling you a one-off campaign and not educating you along the way they are doing you a disservice. Sure campaigns such as World’s Best Job have a finite time period but most customer engagement strategies should be for the long-term.
Social Media has the power to transform a company, break down internal silos, deliver excellent ROI, engage with consumers and deliver more relevant products to the marketplace but we need to first recognise its not all about us.
About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy .
Update May 9 Mashable produced an excellent article using Twitter for customer service well worth a read!