Social Media for the COO: How to become the Michael Phelps of implementing social media in your organization
Many marketers can be separated into one of two camps when it comes to social media. There are the toe dippers. They’re just trying to gauge the temperature of the pool and decide if they want to go in up to their ankle while they plan and speculate and observe what everyone else is doing.
And then there are the cannonballers. They throw caution (and brand equity) to the wind and jump on in, full force, watch out below.
As an operations guy, I focus on repeatable, disciplined process-oriented workflows, and the same operational structure that will bring you success in any other business (or sports) endeavor must be applied to social media.
In this post I’ll cover two often-overlooked aspects of social media, elements that George Colony refers to as listening and soliciting feedback, and how you can codify them into a consistent operating process.
While many are now versed in, or at least comfortable with, the concept of using social media as a marketing tool, I am not sure how many are really using it as a two-way communication mechanism. The idea of this medium being “social” implies that it is about a way in which people or groups of people interact and behave.
In this way, social media involves more than just your marketing team, but should include anyone who interacts with your customer base…and even their friends. In order to manage this, you must have a process in place to truly leverage the two-way communication benefit.
A process shall lead them
The process, as I see it, resembles an hourglass figure with a fountain effect…information flows in from the top and feeds to the appropriate areas within the organization. From these areas in an organization, information is then fed back into the social media pool.
As the drawing indicates, I envision a central place, or filter, for information to flow through from the top and be dispersed to the appropriate parties to engage with the public or individual customer as appropriate.
This person, group or department (depending on the size and reach of your customer base’s and detractor’s voices) must have the authority and ability to do the following:
- Effectively monitor all social media channels for relevant information
- Determine what needs to be responded to
- Know the most appropriate person, group or department to engage in responding
- Make certain that responses are timely and connected to the audience, as well as conforming to your brand
Additionally, each department needs a dedicated individual or group as well that is accountable for addressing corporate interactions that take place on a social media platform. These individuals should be a primary contact point for the Social Media Manager to forward feedback to and expect an immediate response from.
For example, if a woman tweets, “Just left Kingdom Hotel in Jacksonville. Horrible Service!” The Social Media Manager in the corporate office, who is monitoring the search phrase “Kingdom Hotel” sees this tweet.
She would first respond to the tweet that she will be contacting the hotel manager to address her concerns and request contact information. She would then forward it to the hotel manager in Jacksonville.
He would subsequently reach out to the woman with the intention of soliciting her feedback to improve their service and to more specifically address and resolve her complaint.
Social media isn’t free
Obviously, as this type of activity could consume resources from other areas within your organization and possibly hurt either or both your top and bottom lines, the Social Media Manager must be adept at determining the impact of a particular social media message and the size of the audience that was exposed to it in order to determine how much of a priority should be placed on responding to the message.
Additionally, the manger should initially respond to the message in the same forum where it was originally placed to allow the audience to know that company is addressing it. After an issue is successfully resolved, where appropriate, it would make sense to post the resolution in the original forum, and ideal if you could get the customer to do it.
Here at MarketingExperiments, we have three primary individuals that are regularly monitoring traffic about us. Also, as part of our corporate culture, if anyone in the organization discovers something on the Internet that references us it is brought to the attention of the individuals monitoring social media or their immediate manager or director.
When it comes to responding, those monitoring the traffic regularly solicit feedback from various parts of our company, even going so far as to solicit a response from one our analysts fluent in Spanish to respond to someone in Spain.
So while I encourage you to listen (not just market), we are listening to you as well. In fact, I hope to hear your feedback about this post (or any others) in comments, tweets and heck, even a YouTube video.