Building the case for social media, part 2

Here’s the second installment…

For some of you, I’m preaching to the choir. Perhaps this comes across as rudimentary or common knowledge. But in my experience, social media is largely siloed in marketing departments. And for those businesses experimenting with customer engagement in social media, engagement insights and lessons are largely siloed within the service department. I challenge you to extend the value of social media beyond any silo to not just socialize the entire business but introduce new processes, systems, and methodologies that makes it more relevant and adaptive to an increasingly discerning connected customer.

The opportunity before us extends beyond Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and even in the communities that exist to connect customers to one another in branded forums. The challenge however lies in our ability to translate engagement into either direct or dotted lines to existing business metrics. Yes, we need to look beyond what I refer to as the 3F’s (friends, fans, and followers) to prove the value of social media. But this goes beyond just documenting converting numbers into KPIs that lead to ROI. This is also about translating insights into catalysts for business transformation.

To determine the ROI of social media, programs must be designed with the end in mind and compared to the performance of existing programs using existing measurement processes. Additionally, customers insights and trends must be documented to demonstrate the opportunity to improve customer experiences. For example, you can demonstrate that social media reduces inbound call volume and thus saves the company money over time. But that’s just the beginning. If you identify repeat problems, issues, or trends, your next step is to work with the affected business units to create or deliver a fix. Once this is communicated to customers through all available channels, customers en masse will feel acknowledged and appreciate the businesses ability to adapt to their needs and concerns. What’s the value of that experience?

Here are some thoughts on the ROI of social media…

Part 3 tomorrow…

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