Let’s face it. The grand majority of social media advice that makes the rounds these days is tied to specific marketing, public relations or analytics tactics. And that’s ok, since there are certainly plenty of applications for social media within those specific business realms.
However, what you don’t hear anywhere near as much about about is how this social thing of ours can transform the very core of an organization.
Let’s start with the most fundamental aspect of your entire business; the products and/or services you offer. Social monitoring and direct consumer engagement (via reading and responding to the very blog posts, social network comments, and forum posts that you monitor) can fuel product/service enhancements. This a very important aspect for business owners to note, because all the social media marketing in the world won’t help you if you have a crappy product or service.
And speaking of consumer engagement (referred to as customer relationship management or “CRM” in traditional business circles) now is the time to crystallize a plan for using social channels to improve those relationships. Why? Because while it’s true in 2011 the vast majority of consumer interactions happen through traditional communications mediums (in-person, telephone, email, website contact forms, etc.) the balance shifts in social media’s direction with every passing year. And as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about the people that actually build the product/service and interact with customers directly. They’re called employees, and they’re increasingly relying on social networking to teach, learn, and build relationships (internally and with the consumer base). Implementing an internal social media governance and infrastructure plan can help empower your employees to great things while avoiding costly public missteps. Heck, if used properly, social media can also help you recruit the right people in the first place.
If you’re in charge of building an enterprise social media strategy for your company (or hiring an agency that does that kind of thing) make sure you’re thinking beyond the mainstream, marketing-focused mindset. True social business strategy is much bigger than that.
P.S. This advice applies to small business too. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to weave social into every facet of your business.