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HSMAI Section: 8 More Ways To Build Your Social Enterprise (Part 2)

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October 25, 2016
Gregg Hopkins - gregg@gregghopkins.com

LET’S FACE IT: Part of you – or maybe of all you – wonders how much of your organization’s valuable time and resources should be dedicated to social media. Consider the fact that in the fourth quarter of 2015 Facebook had 1.59 billion monthly active users in its social network.  There are 500 million Tweets on a given day according to Twitter.  Numbers like these confirm that everything from how we process and consume information to how we engage with customers, prospects, partners – and everyone – has changed forever.  Almost overnight, brands moved from 1-to-1 customer conversations to 1-to-millions. People, like your customers and prospects, were at the center of this customer-led revolution – and that is what makes social a game changer for business.  No one knows your unique business better than you.  And, that is exactly why you can’t copy someone else’s social enterprise blueprint.  Your social strategy must account for the objectives that match your business goals.  Everything begins with conveying what social media means to your business, your customers, and your employees – and how everyone will benefit.

Percentage of enterprises
using social information to
support business-critical decisions:
28% in 2010
85% in 2020

The biggest game changer over the past five years and next five years in business is how companies use social media.  Either business gets social or it gets left behind.

THE JOURNEY OF 1,000 MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP.  Last issue we tackled the first nine ways to build your own social enterprise.  This information is your guide to begin or improve your social enterprise and soon you will be well on the road to deeper relationships with customers and employees – and greater relevance with social and traditional customers alike.
Here are...

1. MAKE SOCIAL PART OF EVERY BUSINESS PROCESS Hiring one social media expert into your marketing organization is not enough to transform your company into a social enterprise.

Social needs to be an integrated strategy for every department and business process and function across your organization.  Social technologies can help everyone do a better job.  Marketers can launch campaigns that colleagues from across the company, and around the globe, can help shape.  Customer service agents can collaborate to resolve customer issues faster.  Human resources can leverage employees and their respective peers to recruit top talent 2.

2. CREATE A FAN FOR LIFE (A.K.A. LOYALTY) Millions of conversations are happening online right now, amongst millions of people. Some of them are about your company.  As the conversations increase about your brand, how do you scale?  Hiring more people to monitor Twitter is not the answer.

To win fans in the social era, you will need to make sure your agents are everywhere your customers are.  When a question comes in about a product or service, make sure it gets to the appropriate department.

Social is built for speed, so if you are not bringing the right people into the conversations quickly, your customers will start talking to someone else.

3. MARKET AT THE SPEED OF SOCIAL In a social world, context and immediacy are prerequisites for the most successful types of online customer interactions. Captivating your customer’s attention at the right time and in the right place can trigger the types of interactions and activity that boost your brand and generate sales.  Your customers are engaging with your company on Twitter and Facebook, and you need to be there too, generating customized web experiences on the fly.

4. LISTEN AND LEARN FROM PUBLIC SOCIAL NETWORKS A funny thing happened as people started using social networks.  They not only became incredibly connected, they also built their own arenas where they take center stage and the friends and followers fill the seats.

Remember, people on social networks are at the center of their own social universe, and they don’t have to connect to your business.  Establishing and losing connections are easy as a ‘click.’ You won’t capture their mindshare if you treat social media like traditional broadcast channels that only offer one-way communication.

It all starts by listening to what people are saying about your brand and understanding where your customers, partners, competitors and prospects are spending their time.  Use social media to stay on top of conversations, thank advocates, and win over detractors.

5. CREATE A SOCIAL LISTENING CENTER Social media opens windows into the world of your customers.  Consider setting up a command center or central area for viewing, monitoring and reporting on all of your company’s social mentions in real time across the social media sites where people are talking about you.

Picture a room with multiple screens displaying social feeds.  Staffers are watching, learning, replying and distributing information and questions to the right people throughout your organization.  A listening center will help you glean insights into what customers, influencers, press and the community are saying about your brand.  You can also track what is being said about the competition.  Listening is the first step.

6. ESTABLISH RULES OF ENGAGEMENT Each social network community boasts its own unique culture.  A one-size-fits-all approach can fall flat or cause an unintentional uprising.

Front line employees who engage with customers on social channels need road signs and guardrails to operate.  Formally training your internal staff on those rules ensures fewer social missteps.  A few simple guidelines include: thanking people who mention your brand, engaging quickly, and being honest.  Be sure to cover what to do when things are going wrong.  When there is a problem, acknowledge it quickly, say you are working on it.  Follow-up is key.  Give a little detail about what you are doing to fix it and when you expect resolution.

Remember, while only one person may be waiting for your direct reply, thousands more could be watching.  Social customers not only expect and appreciate acknowledgement, but they also feel better as a result.

7. ATTRACT FANS WITH NEW SOCIAL EXPERIENCES The social web is fundamentally changing interactions between companies and their communities.  Now you can personalize your story for the people you are trying to reach, inspired by their behavior in social networks – what they post, what they do, what they “like.”

Imagine delivering tailored products and experiences, mobile apps, and rich web content to your customers.  I, for example, am a “sun and golf” kind of guy.  I’m not interested in cold weather ski resorts.  Your customers will appreciate seeing only relevant information and offers, and you will experience greater customer satisfaction and more sales.

8. AMPLIFY YOUR EVANGELISTS As social customers build their personal networks over time, some of them evolve from just another member of the crowd into a person of influence with a large and attentive audience.

Let them know how important they are to your business. Find out what about your company and products excites them, and design official advocacy programs that harness their influence and passion.

Before you know it, you will have an army of people who are not even on your payroll singing your praises, answering questions guiding purchase decisions, and defending you against online critics.


GREGG HOPKINS is the president of Gregg Hopkins & Associates, a business consulting and marketing services firm specializing in hospitality technology. He can be reached at gregg@gregghopkins.com. 

©2016 Hospitality Upgrade
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