Archive for April, 2012
April 27th, 2012
For the last three days I have been at the InfoSec and Internet World shows. Fear not this won’t be a rambling post about the joys of trade shows or living in the airless atmospheres contained within Earls Court.
This post touches on the world of Information Security and its parallels with trade show partner Internet World. Okay, I admit, on the face of it this is not the world’s most exciting topic, nor is it likely to bring much respect in the world of comms, as my past experience of being in the â€˜Tech’ team of various PR agencies has proved. Back then, if you understood technology, you were part of the geeks in the corner that can fix the printer or set up an email account on your phone, but that’s about it.
Well, as we know, the tide has turned and technology in its many forms and guises is intersecting every part of our lives. This has been propelled in the most part by social media (more on that later) and mobile devices – referred to throughout the IT Security world as BYOD (Bring your own device) and anyone at InfoSec is no doubt full of stats from the many BYOD surveys available throughout the show.
At the risk of making sweeping generalisations, which i admit is a fear as there are of course examples of social acceptance and use among security vendors, but my experience over the last few days has shown that too many IT Security pros still look at social media as a risk, and not an opportunity.
On the face of it I understand why. Social media opens many points of risk to the very organisations that security companies are trying to secure. The traditional way of securing this risk is to block and control. I.e. block access to the sites in question and/or control those sites that are deemed worthy of access in the work place.
However, this doesn’t account for human nature and that dramatically over used acronym BYOD. In short, you can tell people that they can’t do something, but if it’s easier to choose the forbidden route, you can guarantee what the outcome will be.
Having spoken to a wide range of people at both shows over the three days, my general perception was those at Internet World weren’t very concerned by security issues, and those at InfoSec were not only concerned about the risks posed by social media and other digital channels, but in some cases were suggesting blocking and ways to circumvent social communications across the board.
Let me be clear that I completely appreciate the ever-growing problem posed by cyber-criminals and the multitude of very real and escalating risks. We not only lose money to these risks on a daily basis, but also risk our IP and physical security , which is perhaps the often overlooked issue that faces our governments and industry on a daily basis. Having seen just a small portion of the realities of these threats I completely understand the reaction of IT Security to social media. However, that doesn’t make it right or workable.
Let’s start out with that age-old argument of banning social media in the work place. In my opinion this is not a relevant response to the equally ridiculous notion that people will spend all day on Facebook instead of working, and it’s not a viable response to prevent people from sharing data on social networks. If it’s possible, it will happen.
Therefore, if you do ban social media, you will force people onto their own devices which will remove even more of that control that many are craving in the first place. So what’s the response? Well it starts with a culture change, which drives a technology change.
First, the culture. Social media cannot be forgotten, ignored or banned, so deal with it as part of the overall strategy, not something to be treated separately. Secondly, relying on people to use specific software or machines to access corporate information is also unrealistic, so security needs to be built into all devices, utilising security by design. Thirdly, if we can’t ban or remove social, we need to educate people about its correct use.
Obviously sharing corporate information on Facebook is not a good idea, just like writing your password on a post-it and sticking it to your monitor is not a good idea. Facebook is not the issue, the lack of understanding about the risks is the issue.
I have no doubt that social media needs to be banned in highly secure locations, but that doesn’t mean it can be banned across the board. People always find a way.
Without wishing to get preachy, the revolution in communications devices and channels is only going to continue gaining momentum, it’s certainly not going to go away and it’s unlikely to slow down. Therefore, ignoring or banning is not the answer for the majority that do not work in highly secure environments.
In my opinion, staging the InfoSec and Internet World shows on the same three days, and within five minutes walk of each other, was a missed opportunity to share information between these two sectors, as each could learn a lot from the other.
April 20th, 2012
The Guardian’s seven-day special series on the Battle for the internet has been fascinating so far. It has covered a wide range of subjects from states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, and focuses on the challenges facing the dream of an open internet.
We are currently on day five (Friday), but already the areas covered have included:
The New Cold War – Looking at issues in China, Russia, U.S. and the greatest threats to web freedom
The militarisation of cyberspace – Internet attacks on sovereign targets are no longer a fear for the future, but a daily threat. Will the next big war be fought online?
The new walled gardens – For many, the internet is now essentially Facebook. Others find much of their online experience is mediated by Apple or Amazon. Why are the walls going up around the web garden, and does it matter?
IP wars – Intellectual property, from copyrights to patents, have been an internet battlefield from the start. What do Sopa, Pipa and Acta really mean, and what is the next step?
‘Civilising’ the web (Friday) – In the UK, the ancient law of defamation is increasingly looking obsolete in the Twitter era. Meanwhile, in France, President Sarkozy believes the state can tame the web.
Still to come:
Day six: the open resistance – Meet the activists and entrepreneurs who are working to keep the internet open.
Day seven: the end of privacy – Hundreds of websites know vast amounts about their users’ behaviour, personal lives and connections with each other. Find out who knows what about you, and what they use the information for.
As you can see, there are too many topics to cover in one post, but one focus particularly caught my attention. British copyright law and its relevance to the realities of the internet is not a new debate, but it is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed, as the blurring of the lines between what is legally acceptable, and what is published online, becomes a daily issue.
Dan Sabbagh’s piece on this subject, titled: British copyright law and internet realities highlighted the fact that British law is very clear on the illegality of copying media, but warned the true barriers to wider piracy are technological.
In the piece Sabbagh wrote: “Copying songs, films or images from the internet without permission is illegal under Britain’s copyright laws, which would be draconian were it not for the fact that they are so frequently flouted and with so little comeback. The principle, though, is straightforward: unless a copyright owner has given permission for content to be shared – whether via YouTube or the photo-sharing site Flickr – copying, even for private use, is illegal.
“Which is why, more than 10 years after the iPod was launched, it is still in law not permissible to rip songs from a CD on to a computer or digital music player. The only legal exemption is the so-called “time shifting” exemption, which allows people to record television programmes for personal use.”
These facts, although often debated, are probably still a shock to many. This is especially true of those that have grown up as part of the digital media generation, where sharing files is natural and its legality simply doesn’t come into the equation.
Although the Hargreaves review into intellectual property, hopes to bring us closer to the IP laws in the U.S. and Germany, this is still far from a real response. The reality is the law is so regularly flouted simply because, as Sabbagh stated: “despite various efforts to force internet providers to send warning letters, or agree to other stiffer measures, it is not economic for media companies to pursue small copyright infringers. British copyright law and internet copyright reality remain some distance apart.”
So what is the future for UK copyright law and its enforcement in terms of the internet? If we look at the U.S. for a glimpse at the future, as we so often have to do, it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the battle is in full swing for the future of IP.
In the past 30 years the U.S. has lobbied for 15 pieces of legislation aimed at tightening their grip on content, as technology has moved ever faster to make the last piece of legislation irrelevant.
Earlier this year a high profile campaign against, Sopa, the Stop OnlinePiracy Act, was successful in applying the breaks. Furthermore, its sister act, Pipa, (Protect IP Act) was also de-railed, however additional acts are expected, and this sparked a more public war between traditional media owners (e.g. Rupert Murdoch) and digital media owners (e.g. Google).
Rupert Murdoch felt President Barack Obama had “thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters“, tweeting: “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells adverts around them,”
In Europe, Acta, (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) the U.S.-backed international copyright treaty, has also sparked protests. Countries including Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia have all refused to sign, arguing that Acta endangers freedom of speech and privacy, and the bill has also stalled. But it’s not clear for how long.
The argument is sure to rumble on, and the outcome will hopefully allow for a more open internet, but this is bound to be at the cost of certain data privacies. Whether the new ruling will be actually enforceable, or for that matter enforced, is a different question.
April 19th, 2012
Apple, the richest company in the world â€“ at the last count, itâ€™s worth $600bn (Â£379bn). Yet it sells devices, specifically the iPad2, that users cannot connect with online fund-raising processes to give their money to make childrenâ€™s lives better.
Is this an iPad2 feature, function or FAIL? My bet is on the latter. You know how much I respect Apple; Iâ€™ve written about the company and its strategies on this blog many times.
But this Apple FAIL makes me question the values and culture of the company. Why is it that every other device can connect with this donation site (based in the UK) and give their support and money to good causes, but not Apple?
When a friend of mine tried to use her iPAD2 to connect with an African child-charity donation page, she was unable to do so. She did try very hard. In the end, we found a different way outside of Apple culture so that she can donate.
Sheâ€™s definitely not happy. The young fundraiser is not at all happy (heâ€™s a Mac user). And Iâ€™m gutted because I believed Apple, despite its closed-garden approach, was at least open enough to be part of the new fundraising culture. Apparently, it is not.
Even if Apple is responsible for one donation being blocked, that is one too many.
This blocking extends to one of the most important tools in the fundraising armoury â€“ Flash video. Apple believes in something other than Flash as the future of online visual culture. I think it is wrong about that too. And the company knows that Iâ€™m one of many millions that do not understand, nor care for, the Apple Video Future Strategy.
While Apple toughs it out with rival video formats, a collateral damage is the fundraising process. And that means lost opportunities that lead to continued poverty and avoidable deaths of children and older people.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has just been named among Time Magazineâ€™s Top 100 People. Right now, he figures top of my FAIL list, and the bewildered lists of millions of Apple believers and consumers. I hope he will get it right sometime soon â€“ the clock is ticking, Tim.
April 13th, 2012
This post was originally published as a guest post on Monty’s Outlook
Who owns Social CRM? This debate continues to divide opinion, but I believe it is the wrong question. Ownership is not the issue, and only echoes the â€˜who owns social media’ tedium, which I have ranted about for longer than I care to remember.
The social media ownership debate has been perpetuated by a range of marketing and communications agencies with the objective of grabbing budget from each other and squabbling over whose social services are â€˜better’.
This misses the point. Ownership of what is fundamentally a conversation is irrelevant, and as parts of the same marketing/comms machine it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Social is not and was never a marketing focus alone, it’s so much bigger than that. As David Meerman Scott said: “Nobody cares about your products, people care about their problems. Customers do not want a relationship with your business, they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them”.
So is the ownership debate around Social CRM the same? Well, in many ways it is. The customer owning Social CRM is a crucial point, we are talking about putting the customer at the centre of the business. However that doesn’t give a company the structure needed to build a Social CRM mechanism, so it’s back to the â€˜debate’: What tends to follow is that no one or everyone owns it, and â€˜ownership’ is the wrong term.
As Mitch Lieberman says: “Social CRM is about bringing â€˜me’ (the social customer) into the ecosystem… It is not about the technology, it is about the people, process and cultural shifts necessary to support and grow a business.”
Let’s take this back to basics. Who or what is the social customer and why is change needed? Put simply, the social customer is dynamic, hyper-connected and can define an organisation’s value, relevance and reputation. It is not about the company’s reputation, it is about the reputation of its customers, they are the ones who will form opinion of that company.
As a result, social customers force organisations of all types to be more customer-centric and have transformed the way in which organisations need to communicate with and, most importantly, listen to their customers.
The key here is taking CRM beyond a marketing or customer services specialism, and building a philosophy that translates across the organisation. Customers can intersect and engage with an organisation at many different points and do not follow traditional channels of communication.
Therefore, A Social CRM strategy must be implemented across the business to succeed. As with any area of social media, or any conversation for that matter, the best place to start is by listening. In terms of CRM, this is essential. Organisations should only engage and add value when they have listened to and understood the problems, challenges and issues that customers are experiencing.
So where does this leave the ownership debate? As I said earlier, thinking of Social CRM as something that can be owned is a dangerous path as it means the organisation is trying to remove the customer from its central business focus, and neatly packaging it off to a single department.
From the conversational point of view the customer owns Social CRM, but from an organisational point of view Social CRM is the result of a cultural shift that needs to take place in an organisation to focus the business around its most important element, its customers.
So, if we really need someone to own Social CRM, it should be owned at management level, as these are the correct individuals to guide and develop the business into cultural change. The Social CRM approach, related strategies, tactics and technologies stem from there.
If you try to implement Social CRM tactics and technologies without this cultural change you will fail.
April 12th, 2012
Nothing happens without a cause. So we can be assured that there are many hands at work to raise awareness of content-sharing sites. Facebook buying Instagram is surely a function of this process.
Instagram gains with its excellent immediacy but it does not, to my mind, add value to the new cultural currency of personal life curation, which goes way beyond â€˜snap and shareâ€™.
Visibly, Google+ TV advertisements are hinting at the way we should be curating and distributing our personal visual digital content. Maybe we are moving away from the instant and towards the greater value of the longer term in social media.
Pinterest is very visible again after a lapse of some months (around 18) and Liberate Media HQ senses the subtle hand of PR at work here. Does it have the base to shift user focus away from broadcast to more complex groups of close family, friends, relatives, acquaintances, business connections and so on?
Google+ is running with this idea. It makes the process of Group development more conscious and at the same time more difficult but clearly is saying that the service can be a living archive of a personâ€™s progress through this short life.
This should be a benefit as the social web moves from explosion to creative implosion, making the social connections more reflective of â€œreal lifeâ€ and at the same time gaining authority, trust and adding value to the â€˜social assetsâ€™ â€“ video, image, animation, visualised ideas (for example infographics) and text.
The value of these â€œassetsâ€ grows as a function of the relevance, proximity, trust and belief imbued in them by the groups accessing and sharing them.Â The closer the groups are in â€œreal lifeâ€, the greater the potential value of the â€œassetsâ€ will be.
What appears to be a cultural change online is the recognition by service providers that people wish to have an organic online narrative that differs from their â€œweb shadowâ€ because it is limited and controlled, available only to those groups who have relevance, proximity and are trusted.
What could follow is the â€˜birth to death and beyondâ€™ narrative – a personal history in multiple digital forms that describes a life and allows those close to enrich the story when that life is done.
The enrichment could come from sensitive curation and addition but this idea also poses the question about how well we are prepared to curate our own life stories online.
April 5th, 2012
It’s been a week of controversy around cyber-snooping.Â First the Government announced draft plans to extend its online surveillance powers, and then Russian app developer i-Free was forced to withdraw its Girls Around Me app following a media outcry.
The app, which was downloaded 70,000 times before being voluntarily withdrawn, is a tool which uses Facebook and Foursquare information to track women nearby.Â With public profiles and check-in information combined, it allows the user to see women’s names, photos, geographical location and much more besides, all without their consent.
The thumbnail images on the site are predictably of women scantily dressed and the app states: “In the mood for love, or just a one night stand? Girls Around Me puts you in control!” So far, so offensive.
There has been a landslide of comment about the app, mostly looking at issues around privacy, data, and how much information we should share online.Â There has also been a lot of comment about why is this a big deal? Â What would a person possessing that information actually do? Would they run to the nearest bar and chat-up a girl using their personal details as a start to the conversation? In reality probably not, but we can’t be sure.
As Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PCWorld says “it’s hard to see this app as a real threat to privacy or women.”Â Rather, she says, it’s “a wake-up call to those who publicly overshare.”
This seems to be true, but there are deeper issues here than just those around data, privacy and sharing too much information about yourself.Â Gender politics and old fashioned sexism are also central to this debate.
This article by Nathan Jurgenson brilliantly sums-up the gender and cultural contexts that have been largely ignored.Â App developers would do well to read this and think twice before their next data mash-up.
April 4th, 2012
We have developed a guide to defining and developing Social CRM which is summarised below. If you would like a copy of the full guide, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org titled: ‘request for SCRM guide‘ and we’ll pass it on.
You may also be interested in the Social Customer session summaries that can be found on our blog. These posts detail the key points from each of the sessions at the Social Customer event, which took place on March 29th in London.
In our experience, the defining characteristic of Social CRM (Social Customer Relationship Management) is the range of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the core elements involved. This guide to Social CRM has been developed with this in mind to help every organisation better understand and engage with the social customer.
We have offered a practical guide to the approach and services required, and a helpful Social CRM audit at the end of the document to help you develop your organisation’s Social CRM capability.
What is a Social Customer?
The social customer is dynamic, hyper-connected and can shape business and brand reputation by defining an organisation’s value, relevance and reputation. As a result, social customers have compelled organisations of all types to be more customer-centric and have transformed the way in which organisations need to communicate with and, most importantly, listen to their customers.
Put simply, the social customer now owns the relationship, and every organisation needs need to earn his/her trust.
The social customer is also a driving force in the development of the online economy, which is rapidly growing and currently contributes 8.3 per cent to the UK economy. This is more than the healthcare, construction or education sectors.
UK consumers also buy far more from online retail sources than any other major economy and this is expected to continue expanding by 11% per year for the next four years, reaching a total value of Â£221bn by 2016. Compare this to growth rates of 5.4% in the U.S. and 6.9% in China.
What is Social CRM?
A compelling definition of the Social CRM challenge was given by Esteban Kolsky, Founder at ThinkJar at Social CRM 2011 in London: “Companies tend to start using social media to talk at their customers, not to listen to them.”
He then defined CRM as a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interactions in a business environment.
This is a good reflection of how many organisations start out on the road to Social CRM, jumping straight into a tactical approach and talking â€˜at’ customers but not listening â€˜to’ customers. In fact the focus should be on improving real interactions with customers.
In practical terms this means the organisation will need to implement a system and related technologies, built around an overarching â€˜business’ strategy. This strategy really needs to be developed with the whole organisation in mind, as well as being understood and executed by the entire organisation, otherwise the social customer will remain elusive.
Additional definition quotes:
Mitch Lieberman: “Social CRM is about bringing “me” (the social customer) into the ecosystem… It is not about the technology, it is about the people, process and cultural shifts necessary to support and grow a business.”
Paul Greenberg: “Social CRM is the company’s response to the customer’s control of the conversation.”
Why does Social CRM matter?
The key here is taking CRM beyond a marketing or customer services specialism, and building a philosophy that translates across the organisation. If Social CRM is purely a function of customer services we are missing the point. In today’s socially connected world, customers can intersect and engage with an organisation at many different points, and do not follow traditional channels of communication. Therefore, A Social CRM strategy must be implemented across the business to succeed.
This has been evidenced on many occasions by customers using their networks to discuss organisations, form opinions and influence others through their experiences. This is the heart of social conversation and the essence of a social business. If an organisation’s Social CRM strategy cannot positively impact this process then it is failing, and to succeed it must be implemented across the board. For example, your sales staff may be excellent relationship managers, but if your service staff are rude and unresponsive, the overall impact will be negative.
Furthermore, we now learn from and engage with our customers more than ever before, but we can also learn from the data that social and online activities offer to us. It is important to manage this data and put it to use, as not all of the data will be relevant. In fact much of it will just be noise, but Social CRM offers us the opportunity to learn about customers, process these learnings and engaging accordingly.
How do you develop your Social CRM strategy?
If we consider that Social CRM is a method of blending social activities with the proven fundamentals of CRM, and we understand that Social CRM is part of the evolution towards the development of a more effective social business, then we are half way there.
However, we also need to focus on customer need. This need is not motivated by being a fan or friend of the organisation, but by deriving value from the customer’s engagement with the organisation.
As David Meerman Scott says: â€˜Nobody cares about your products, people care about their problems. Customers do not want a relationship with your business, they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them’â€˜.
With that in mind, we need to translate our strategy into deliverables, and according to Esteban Kolsky, there are four key functions of Social CRM:
1. Community management (listening and engaging usefully)
2. Social analytics engine (gathering and processing data)
3. Actionable layer unit (identifying and actioning learnings)
4. System-of-record integration layer (integrating learning into the business)
Social CRM means engaging person to person. We know that using machines to “talk” with humans in the CRM context does not work. Therefore, remember it’s not about the technology, it’s about the person using it and the conversation. If we lose sight of the fundamentals and hide behind automated monitoring and response it will be the equivalent of a business leaving an answer machine to deal with customers, it won’t learn or react, it will just repeat.
Developing Social CRM
In this section, we detail the Social CRM deliverables and explain the services and focuses that organisations should be considering. There are four essential action elements and we have offered key service areas under each:
1. Listen – to customers and the wider community to understand issues and identify pain points
2. Capture – actionable and relevant data
3. Learn – develop a Social CRM philosophy across the organisation
4. Engage – using knowledge built through phases 1-3, engage in a relevant and useful manner
Let’s look at each area in more detail:
As with any area of social media, or any conversation for that matter, the best place to start is by listening. In terms of customer relationship management, this is essential. Organisations should only engage and add value when they have listened to and understood the problems, challenges and issues that customers are experiencing.
Listen service focuses
Digital / social infrastructure – A Social CRM campaign cannot be effective without a socially-enabled website, relevant social profiles and the ability to engage.
Before you go any further, you need to build your organisation’s Social CRM tools:
â€¢ Audit your website – are you open to customer comment/engagement/response?
â€¢ Audit your SEO – are your â€˜digital touch points’ visible online?
â€¢ Audit/build social channels – are you open and available for customer engagement and listening beyond your website?
Social Media monitoring - Social CRM is often confused with Social Media Monitoring. Let’s be clear, although Social Media Monitoring is a crucial element of your Social CRM armoury, and will form a central part of the campaign, it is not enough to use monitoring alone. You must identify the relevant mentions, use the data and build that into your organisational approach. The data is only relevant if it is acted upon.
Team - Does your Social CRM response team consist of one marketing / customer services junior? This is not acceptable. Consider your customers and consider the amount of conversation about your organisation. Do you have the team to support this volume of data and conversation?
Training – Remember Social CRM is not a marketing or customer services tactic alone, your organisation needs to understand the key elements of Social CRM and act upon them. This means training and understanding needs to be implemented across the organisation.
Once you have the platform, processes and people in place to listen, you need to feed this infrastructure with actionable and relevant data. This is the fuel that drives the Social CRM engine and the quality of the fuel will relate directly to the effectiveness of the Social CRM process.
The first stage is to capture the data and process it into the relevant focuses for your organisation.
You will quickly realise that much of the data is irrelevant. It is crucial you do not waste time by feeding this information into the business – it will induce “analysis paralysis” as your people query and argue about irrelevant information.
Therefore, in this layer the focus is identifying and actioning the useful data that will tell the organisation something about its customers, identify issues to be remedied or help to build interactions by way of market research or insights.
Capture service focuses:
Data Capture – Social Media monitoring plays a key role here but we need to go deeper. Website analytics and data captured from customer communities will be vital, along with metrics from LinkedIn groups, sector networking tools and industry bodies.
Data Analysis – Data analysis is crucial. Do not overlook this phase as you could either strangle the process with too much data, or starve it of any useful information by only feeding it with the basics. Use experience here, make the most of your data and it will drive you to real success. If you don’t have the in-house skills, utilise experienced consultants or agencies. The value you derive from the data can be extremely powerful for the business as a whole.
This third layer is the key to Social CRM success, taking relationship management beyond a marketing or customer-services specialism and building a philosophy that is embedded throughout the organisation. In our experience, this is a challenging area of focus for those responsible for driving the Social CRM process.
However, by highlighting the importance of Social CRM to the management team at the outset, and explaining why organisation-wide action will be needed, this potential obstacle should be removed and a route cleared towards the goal of better customer understanding and improved service.
Learn service focuses:
Internal communication of findings – clarification and information curation is essential. There must be a process through which each piece of customer contact is automatically routed to the right person, classifying it by type (question, complaint or compliment), content (what it actually said), sentiment, action needed and influence.
This fluid process will reinforce the transformation of your business into a more open and responsive enterprise that engages successfully with online customers.
Workflow tools – these tools will ensure that information created by online customers is accessible to everyone in the organisation and precisely tuned to their specific needs. This creates a context for each social CRM interaction and will enable the social customer to engage with you in a way that is most relevant.
Business-wide social strategy – a social business strategy is the ultimate goal. Without change on an organisation-wide scale, the Social Customer will continue to be a lost opportunity and a fear factor, rather than a real opportunity to build engagement and ultimately drive value.
Social CRM isn’t just about engaging consistently, within a reasonable timeframe and adhering to corporate guidelines. The engagement needs to be relevant and useful, and not always in the form of a simple text-based response. Content can be used to engage without a complaint and to convey a key part of your offering. So don’t just think of engagement as a response. Think of it as an opportunity to build a conversation.
Let’s also be clear that you should not hold back from engaging until you have completed the three previous phases. Of course you need to engage before you have successfully implemented your social business strategy, otherwise it could take some time before you actually respond to your customers. However, the point remains we should not look at engagement as the quick fix or the first action point. It is important to respond to customer issues, but as we have said previously, engagement is so much more than just responding.
Engage Service focuses:
Social media engagement guidelines – These shouldn’t be an onerous book of dictations. The social media guidelines are important to communicate key aspects of the business dos and don’ts but they are not a script. The key here is â€˜guideline’. We are not trying to stop our brand from engaging with humans as humans, and do not be tempted to speak in rigid legalese.
Content development – Online content is extremely powerful, from expressive video to simple slideshares and these “social assets” will make your brand more accessible, better understood, more useful. Think of content as your social currency. Build it up but don’t rely on the irrelevant and the slapdash. Quality beats quantity every time.
Not all content is the same and poor content will encourage a negative response so get the right advice from those who have done it before. Use the information from the listening phase, where you will learn exactly what it is that your online customers want, to develop the right content. You can find a recent case study example of a content community here.
Social tool management – Using social tools to monitor, extract useful information and identify points of engagement and conversation with the social customer on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social spaces is a very simple part of the process, but very easy to get wrong. Tone, frequency and subtle understanding of the organisation, underpinned by effective guidelines, will make all the difference.
Invest in experience and training and heed the many case study examples of success and failure. Allocate resource relevant to your social/digital footprint and customer base. Look outside of the business if the skills are not in-house, do not give this job to the intern, because if/when something goes wrong, blaming an intern is not a plausible excuse.
If you’ve reviewed this paper and ticked off the elements you want to take with you for your business or reconfirmed focuses that you have already got in place, I hope the information was useful and best of luck.
However, if you have written off Social CRM because your customers don’t act â€˜that way’ – think again. Your customer is no different, you are now dealing with the social customer who doesn’t play by traditional rules and does not accept that your organisation is in charge. The social customer owns the relationship, and you need to earn his/her trust.
Social CRM audit
- Website – are you open to customer listening/engagement?
- SEO – can your digital touch points be found online?
- Social channels – are you available for customer engagement and listening outside of your direct website?
- Social Media monitoring – data is only relevant if it is acted upon.
- Team - Consider your customers and the amount of conversation about your brand. Do you have the team to support this volume of data and conversation?
- Training – Your business needs to understand the key elements of Social CRM and act upon them.
- Data Capture – Website analytics and data captured from every customer, and relevant community will be vital.
- Data Analysis – Understanding and knowing how to use this data is essential, otherwise you could either strangle the process with too much data, or starve it of any useful information by only feeding it with the basics.
- Internal communication of findings - each message should be automatically routed to the right person, classifying it by type, content, sentiment, action needed and influence.
- Workflow tools – these tools will ensure that all social information created is accessible to everyone in the organisation in the same way.
- Business-wide social strategy – A social business strategy is the ultimate goal.
- Social media guidelines – These shouldn’t be an onerous book of dictations. The key here is â€˜guideline’. Five clear points is enough.
- Content development – Think of content as your social currency and remember that quality wins over quantity every time.
- Social tool management - Tone, frequency and unwritten rules are subtleties that can make all the difference.Defining and developing Social CRM Liberate Media