While social media is still as popular a networking concept as ever, social technologies have developed as a broader approach to leveraging your network for maximum effect. Networking is no longer just about handing out business cards at a work function or tweeting about your daily activities, it’s much more these days. After studying the marketplace and taking inventory of the many online social tools and trends that have emerged recently, we developed a comprehensive process for integrating social technologies into your operation to enhance revenue and dominate your market.
Analysis & Goal Development for Leveraging Social Technologies – If you don’t know what your destination is it can be very difficult to get there. We’ve seen countless examples of people jumping into Facebook and Twitter only to get frustrated with lack of results. Evaluating what can be accomplished and then setting goals is a critical element to get started.
Assemble a Social Tech Team – The online social movement has connected all of us together and given everyone a voice. You should involve the right people in your company to take part of your organization’s voice. There is a technology component, a marketing component, a human resources component and others. Effective social marketing online involves more than just the marketing team.
Creation of Governance Policy - There are a number of possible negative factors that need to be controlled. For example, since any employee can now talk online to two billion other people with the stroke of a key, it is a good idea to document rules around how employees can speak on behalf of the organization (if at all).
Integrating Social Tech with your Web Properties – Since social tech normally provides a conversation and connection that is much more frequent than a website visit, you need to ensure a smooth integration with all your web properties, including your website. Your web properties have a much better ability to archive information and provide transaction capabilities. Connecting the all together will achieve greater results.
Build Awareness & Education Among Your Employees - Social tools and Web 2.0 have created an exploding amount of content to be delivered to, and through, the Internet. Continual learning and access to information faster than your competitors is not a luxury or option at this point. It can be a matter of career survival. Creating an efficient and disciplined process for your employees to tap into such massive information sources will raise their individual career IQ’s, and collectively, the IQ of the whole organization.
Integration with Sales Process – You might sell an expensive complicated product or service through sales people with long sales cycles. On the other hand, your sales process may take place in a retail store for a few dollars at a time. Either way, social tools can be used to improve the close rate you are experiencing. Socially Facilitated Selling and Socially Directed Buying are methods that capitalize on social technology tools that improve your sales performance and revenues.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) Process - Your personal reputation and that of your organization will forever be shaped by what other people say about you online. The collection of what they say will sway others toward doing business with you, or without you. Most people vastly misunderstand and under-estimate how critical an online reputation is going to impact success or failure. Ignorance or neglect will not save you if people talk about you online.
Crowdsourcing - Many people think social tools are only used to generate revenues though marketing and lead generation. Crowdsourcing is a perfect example of how social can be used to lower costs. By contracting work out to the “crowd”, you can often get tasks done cheaper, faster, and with more innovation than you are getting today. Learning to harness it before your competitors will give you an advantage in the market until they catch up.
Measurement & ROI Process - Much has been written on the difficulty of measuring all the ways that social connections can be a benefit. With that said, there are specific things that you can measure that will enable you to at least infer an ROI, if not prove it outright. Measurements can also be used to show progress and help identify the drivers of success. Don’t end up like others – wasting huge amounts of resources going in the wrong directions, or making mistakes without even knowing why.
Assembling the Organization’s Social Technology Tools - There is likely not a person in the world that has a full inventory of all the social tools available. There are new tools coming on the market literally every day. There are also tools that have capabilities that most people are unaware of. In order to be organized about how we implement social tools, you must be organized about what the tool set is and advertise that across the organization.
Social Technologies Security & Regulations - It is unwise to get people excited about using social tools without teaching how to use them safely. You will often hear the IT department talking about their concerns over the security dangers inherent in free social tools, and they have good reason. Social applications have now replaced email as the most dangerous to opening the doors for bad guys to reach a computer and steal information.
Summary - The most important thing to understand about Social Media/Technologies is that it must be woven into the very fabric and strategy of the organization. This is not a separate effort that is done one time. These are a collection of new tools and processes that need to have a strategy of their own, specific people that hold the responsibilities for managing them, and measurement systems so that we can gauge the level of success or failure. The value of social technologies should grow over time as you continue to find new ways to leverage the new tools and methods that are born.