Too often, businesses think of social media only in very fuzzy terms, without actually drilling down into the specific reasons why they are using it. But companies at the leading edge of social media are taking things one step further – they are building out sophisticated frameworks for understanding how social media can impact not just the business as a whole, but also every business unit and every stakeholder within that business.
One very interesting framework starts out by thinking of the different types of social content within your organization in terms of a “social ecosystem.” This includes your customer communities, your social networks, your social media profiles, and your community platforms. Each of these serves a different underlying purpose. Some of these, for example, might serve as “listening posts” where you get closer to the voice of the customer. Others might act as platforms for customers to collaborate with fellow users, followers and fans.
It’s also possible to think about social as providing a vast continuum of value. At one end of the continuum, you have social CRM, which is all about generating insights, analysis and intelligence about your customers. At the other end of the continuum, you have mass market social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) As you move along the continuum from pure CRM to mass market social media, you start to get into collaborative social tools. Move even further away, and you start to get into customer communities and social media platforms that encourage sharing and interaction. Thus, as you move along the spectrum, you will move from insights and intelligence, then to collaboration, and then to community.
Once you have a big picture view of your social ecosystem, it’s time to think in terms of putting goals and metrics into place for each of these ecosystem components. One way of doing that is by using the OGST (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, Tactics) framework. In other words, there should be a clear objective and goal for every component of your social ecosystem. And you should then back up those objectives and goals with clear strategies and tactics. For example, one piece of your social ecosystem might be based around customer advocacy, while another is based around lead generation. So how are you going to achieve those objectives and goals?
It’s also important to be able to think about the various ways that social media creates value for your organization. Often, each element of your social ecosystem will contribute value in several different ways. For example, some social tools might be best for making direct sales to customers. Others might be good at boosting overall brand awareness. But the same tools used for direct sales can also be used for lead generation, and the same tools used for brand awareness can also be used for customer advocacy.
By thinking about the various components of social media value, it becomes much easier to communicate to management and board members why your organization is investing so much time and resources into social. The goal, of course, is to be able to show how social media is tied into the entire customer lifecycle. This includes the time when the customer first starts investigating your products, the time he or she purchases that product, and the time when he or she starts to form deeper bonds of loyalty with your organization. By using social media, you can ensure not just a happy customer, but also a happy repeat customer.