Spoiler Alert: I have it on good authority that true superheroes (the ones with superhuman powers) don't really exist. Luckily, if you keep this fact under wraps, you can use the following social business superhero secrets to make you and your social business strategy look superhuman to your company and customers.
Secret #1) Put Customers' Goals at the Center of Your Social Business Strategy
Build you social business strategy around your customers, their organization, and their objectives. There is a school of thought that says that social business starts with internal collaboration; however, we have found social business initiatives to have much more impact on an organization if you build your strategy around your customers' or members' goals. Not only will it be much easier to champion internally, but the metrics for measuring success are already in place.
Secret #2) Social Technology is Only Half the Battle
With the amount of money that social business and enterprise 2.0 vendors put into marketing their messages, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that technology is only half of the equation. Your goals, strategy, and tactical community management plan are going to play a huge role in your social business deployment's success.
Secret #3) Bring Together Your Entire Community
Social business success follows Metcalfe's Law. The more minds that you have sharing ideas, helping one another, and collaborating on solutions, the more valuable your business will be. Build your B2B social business strategy with the intention of bringing your entire community into the mix. Through each segment or group can have their own areas of your community, the power of your social business strategy will become apparent in the areas where customers, employees, and partners can all come together for the good of your customers.
Secret #4) Be Relentlessly Helpful
For B2B companies, the goal of a social business strategy is primarily to help their customers succeed. The dividends of this approach are numerous. Every aspect of your social business plan should answer two questions:
- Will this help my customers become more successful with my products or services?
- What can I do to make it even more helpful to my customers?
Secret #5) Find Opportunities to be Proactive
When creating an online customer community, one that is connected to your company rather than one that sprouts up organically on public social networks, it takes time for customers to share, discuss, and provide support among themselves. For the first 6 months to a year, your organization will need to proactively answer questions, share interesting content with certain segments of the community, and connect customers with questions with people who might have answers.
Secret #6) Develop a Listening System
You can't possibly get every detail right during the social business planning process. Your strategy will evolve much more effectively if you develop a framework where you have the flexibility to listen to your community, and then make additions and adjustments based on customer feedback or monitoring trends.
However, listening can easily be eaten up by more visible fires. Develop a routine for listening to your community, documenting your observations, and sharing that data with the appropriate teams. Stakeholders will not only feel more connected to the customer community, but adding a deliverable to your listening efforts will also keep your system on track.
Secret #7) Make It Easy To Engage
Social technology is exciting, but only a fraction of your customers will care about your social business platform. The large majority of your customers want to easy access to answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
Furthermore, your customers are busy, so make browsing, sharing, and staying engaged in your online community easy. Keep in mind that, though your online customer community is central to your job, many of your customers will participate in the community during lunch breaks, on their way to meetings, and in between conference calls.
Secret #8) Internalize Your Audience
The phrase, "know your audience," is almost becoming clichÃ©. It is about time we deeply understood our market and kept that understanding at the forefront of our decision making. This grasp of your target audience plays a large role in trying to change the behavior of your customers, employees, and partners. Find out about their online communication preferences and access limitations. Also, learning about the kind of information they find most valuable is paramount to keeping your customers engaged.
Secret #9) Measure Both Qualitatively and Quantitatively
It is critical to make your social business metrics a central part of your strategy. The good news is that your social business goals are, in large part, your traditional business goals. You will want to measure both your customers' online community activity to identify leaks in your engagement plan, as well as your social business strategy's overall impact on both engaged and disengaged customers. Here are a couple questions you may want to start with:
- Did participation in your customer community improve their perception of your organization?
- Did your social business initiative help them to become more successful by their metrics?
Secret #10) Sidekicks Can Be Found Outside Your Organization
When developing your social business strategy, plan to engage your community to identify your biggest advocates. Check in with these brand champions to do the following:
- Ensure they are happy.
- Empower them to take the lead on welcoming and helping customers in your online community.
- Ask them to create insightful content for your community from the customer's perspective.
If you have social business secrets that have generated buzz about your superhero status, we'd love to hear them. Add them to the comments below.
photo credit: Brett Jordan