The Social Business

I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable guy on all things “social.” I follow Mashable, stay active on Twitter and try to squeeze in a networking event every once in a while. But until I went to Radian6’s #Social2011’s Integrating the Voice of the Consumer Beyond the Call Center I could never have told you the difference between business and social business.

Businesses are already familiar with external communities. All too often companies tweet into cyberspace about updates and product promotions hoping to engage customers. All these companies, new and old, have also developed cultures in which they understand their own etiquette on communication within the organization.

A social business is when the two meet, marry and create a hybrid community that helps the bottom line. “A social business happens when you use external and internal communication,” said Mitch Lieberman of Sword Ciboodle, “Pat them on the back. Appreciate them. Engage within the organization as well as outside.”

Kevin Cole of Bank of America agreed and suggested that companies should be careful about choosing the customer service representatives. He suggests looking for someone in the organization that can be classified as a “connector.” They shouldn’t be the tech people within the company, but rather the people with intensive networks within the organization. Why? Because they get it.  He explains “Online can be personal. Many people using social media are self-service customers. Social Media is an opportunity to reestablish brand.” So why not have your best communicators and networkers engaging your organization’s valued customers?

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff of Weber Shandwick explained the 1-9-90 principle.

“1% are super- users, customers that generate content and interact.

9% respond to super-users and 90% are passive but still read the content.

The goal is to engage the super-users.”

Dr. Petouhoff cited a real-world example where DirectTV found customers that were passionate about their remotes and DVR’s. She explained that DirecTV brought these guys in and had them deal directly with customer complaints. Did they accidentally convince a customer to blow up their home theater? No. They were actually very successful at dealing with the customers.

What does this mean for your business?

Only you can answer that. I wouldn’t suggest grabbing customers with high Klout scores and making them VP of Marketing just yet. But as you seek to engage your customer always keep in mind that it’s meant to be a conversation and not another status report.

Sources:

  • Mitch Lieberman, VP of Marketing: Sword Ciboodle (@mjayliebs)
  • Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, Chief Strategist of Digital Media, Social Media and ROI: Weber Shandwick (@drnatalie)
  • Kevin Cole, SVP Social media Strategy and Capabilities: Bank of America (@KEVINTCOLE)
  • Integrating the Voice of the Consumer Beyond the Call Center, Radian6 Breakout Session Friday Morning
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