Listening, Learning, Engaging and Integrating—The Four Keys to Successfully Leveraging the Social ChanneL
Four Keys to Leveraging the Social Channel
Now that more than 75 percent of all Americans are participating in some form of social media through blogs, forums and sites like Facebook and Twitter, companies need to understand what consumers are saying, why they’re saying it and how their dialogue has the potential to impact business. As part of its 2008 North American Technographics Survey, Forrester Research found that 37 percent of U.S. online adults are “critics” who contribute to online forums, post product reviews or comment on blogs. Twenty-one percent are “creators” who develop and uploadoriginal content, and 69 percent are “spectators” who read blogs, forums and review sites. Not only do these percentages represent remendous growth over 2007, but it’s highly anticipated that the 2009 report will reveal even further increases.
Witness the effects ofOprah, Ashton Kutcher, CNN, and the Iran protests on the volume of Twitter participation in recent months. As the chorus of conversations and the proliferation of social technologies that enable participation grow, companies must make sense of the new channel for consumer interaction. Organizations need to think less about social media as just “consumer chatter” and more about how to understand, digest and invest in the science behind what consumers are saying—and most importantly, participate with “their” consumers where they have congregated.
Thanks to the explosion of the social channel, companies now have more insight into consumer perception of their brands than ever before. We know, for example, that social interactions are causing companies to try and navigate this new medium both reactively and proactively; we also know that companies are no longer in control of their brands – consumers are. Lastly, we know technology is simply an enabling tool to better understand the social channel and subsequently, the social revolution. And what a revolution it is.
More than 133 million blogs have been indexed since 2002•than 10 million users create 1,500 new “Tweets” every second Twitter has grown more than 1,300 percent in one year. More grown to 12 million users in the first quarter of 2009.Why is this such as new era and paradigm for organizations and marketers? Though social media is a collective action, in actuality it’s the result of millions of individual monologues and dialogues. Listening to, learning from, measuring and engaging in the millions of conversations, are the keys to success. If we grasp the context and mindset of these back-and-forth exchanges, as well as the irrelevance and sentiment, we’ll be able to gauge consumer passion in a new and multi-dimensional way. Facebook user growth for the 35-year-old-plus demographic has
Hearing the Voice of your Customer
One of the goals for companies should be to make sure they accurately hear what their customers are saying, whether they like or dislike products or services and ultimately whether they are advocates, evangelists or detractors. Business success in the coming years will require companies to harness the power of social conversations, as the youngest and oldest members of society increasingly embrace platforms like Facebook, Twitter, forums, and blogs to connect and collaborate in real-time communities. And it’s not just the volumes of conversations but the velocity that’s changed the equation. Today, these brand conversations can move with astonishing speed, around the world several times before companies are aware of it. In addition, not every Tweet or post is created equal and “hearing” what customers are saying is just the first step; context, which we’ll cover, is just as important, and that precedes engagement. Companies that engage with consumers will find that they have the ability to guide their brand; while those that don’t will find their brand disconnected from consumers and imperiled….
Warren Raisch Post on Social Media Marketing and Social Media White Papers and Research: November 26, 2009