Guest post by Steven Van Belleghem (@steven_insites)
One of the key challenges in the social business/conversation world is: how can companies honestly be customer-oriented. In my research, I learned that four pillars help companies to move forward in this challenge. These four dimensions are: Customer experience, Conversation management, Content marketing and Collaboration with clients.
Customer Experience: people love to talk about your service and your products. It is the key driver of consumer conversations.
It wasn’t too long ago when sport industries were confounded by the openness of social media and the ability for fans and players to share experiences in real time. Now of course, times have changed and teams in every sporting league imaginable are experimenting with social media to improve relationships and experiences with fans. The San Francisco Giants are among the sports teams that are leading the way for a new genre of engagement and community building.
Why ask why?
Why make excuses?
Why ignore what it is that will help you stop making excuses?
Why stay where your dreams are suffocated?
Why would you settle for less than anything than you believe in?
Why be unhappy when you could be appreciated for what makes you…you?
Well, because it’s [seemingly] easier.
But, it’s not who you really are…
As you’ll no doubt read here over and over again, social media is important to your business. If you don’t engage on Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube, you’ll eventually go out of business. At least that’s what the experts will have you believe. Fear tactics are not so much as effective in business or defining customer relationships as they are at creating a sense of [contrived] controversy. I must be honest with you however. While social media is indeed a game changer, it is not the magnum opus of your legacy. I would like to introduce you to what really is important…your customers. Allow me to be a bit more specific. This isn’t just about your customers. This is about how a growing number of your customers are changing how they influence and are influenced, how they communicate and connect, how they learn, discover and share, how they make decisions and how they take action.
One of the challenges marketers and strategists face today is understanding the difference between a success story and an example that has true business impact. With every story and through our own experience, we are learning about the transformation companies are undertaking to migrate from social brands to social businesses. One of the emergent trends that we will soon be tracking is the move from social to experiential where social media plays only one part in the greater production of everyday customer engagement. Social becomes part of the overall experience as does mobile, web, real world, and other channel strategies that guide customers on the journey… wherever it may begin and on whichever path they prefer. The experience must be dedicated to each channel yet integrated to deliver a holistic brand odyssey.
I often write about enterprise organizations and global brands…essentially big businesses. This is the first in a series dedicated to small businesses.
One of the biggest misconceptions about social media strategy is that only the big brands and enterprise organizations can afford success. The impression is bigger businesses have unlimited resources, people and budgets to execute on all new ideas. This is simply not true. Like in anything, people are focused on their jobs as they exist and anything new that comes along, well, it’s met with prejudice.
Silicon Valley is a flashpoint for innovation and entrepreneurialism. But, what does Silicon Valley even mean these days? Silicon Valley technically spans the area in the southern San Francisco Bay Area including Santa Clara Valley, San Jose and southern East Bay. What Silicon Valley actually refers to in terms of geography seems moot in an economy when the idea of Silicon Valley is much bigger than the square miles it covers on a map. In reality, when people outside of the area think about it, it includes what’s already mentions and spans north on 101 from Mountain View to San Francisco and East to Oakland and then back down the 880 to Fremont. Silicon Valley IS the greater San Francisco Bay Area and as such, the it has a bigger story to tell beyond its geographical boundaries.
When we take pause to appreciate where we are, we can truly appreciate just how far we’ve come.
I recently stumbled across an interesting infographic as it made the rounds across the social web recently. Created by bestedsites.com, the graphic visualizes the meteoric rise of the Internet in just 10 years. For example, in 2002, the Internet boasted 569 million users, which represented 9.1% of the world population. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to 2.27 billion at 33% of the world population. Another tremendous stat is the daily time spent online. In 2002 it was only 46 minutes a day (that was probably the time it took to load one web site). In 2012, it’s clocked four hours a day.
As an analyst, that’s the questions that I’m asked over and over again. In fact it was the same question CNN recently asked in its story last week on Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Wall Street. It’s a fair question to ask and CNN’s Heather Kelly wrote a balanced and thoughtful piece on the subject. While it’s only one of many discussions likely to happen, the truth is that Facebook must focus on its business, employees, and now also investors…regardless of technicalities, follies, insider discussions, etc.
Is content still king?
According to Deanna Brown, CEO, Federated Media Publishing, “Content, in the right context, is ultimately king.”
Welcome to the evolution of publishing, where storytelling, advertising, and technology intersect. By having unhindered access to social and mobile media platforms, brands are experimenting with paid, owned, and earned media to reach connected consumers in their channels of relevance. As brands dabble in publishing, traditional marketing and advertising networks are also evolving.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.