In an age of marketing and business that is increasingly social, many businesses and thought leaders stress the importance of creating a culture that embraces social media inside and out. A social media savvy business encourages collaboration across teams, surfaces expertise from subject matter experts and can scale brand and community engagement by drawing upon the collective wisdom of employees and customers.
Few have been as passionate and successful at going beyond social business theory into action as Connie Bensen, leader of Global Social Content Strategy and Governance at Dell (Dell is a TopRank client).
A Top 20 Social Media Influencer and coiner of the phrase ‘Social Bizologist (The person responsible for guiding the integration of social media into the business functions of an organization) Connie’s session at the 2014 MNSearch Summit was jam packed with tips for companies of any size to socialize their business to improve collaboration, social advocacy and marketing.
Below are 5 key takeaways from Connie’s presentation:
Empower your people through training and development
Since people are at the center of any social business, it is critical to provide the necessary training and resources to empower your employees to be successful in social media. While most people today are at least somewhat familiar with social media from a personal perspective, there is a difference between using social networks to keep up with your Aunt Sally’s new baby and using the social web to help your company achieve business objectives.
Connie’s team runs several training and certification programs intended to turn Dell employees into social media power users, which collectively make up their Social Media and Community University. A broad range of topics are covered including how to contribute to the various Dell social communities, effectively engage with influencers and incorporate social media into live events.
Clarify roles and priorities
It’s important for any social business to clarify roles, objectives and key accountability metrics. This isn’t an easy endeavor for any company and is particularly challenging for one as large and complex as Dell.
Dell’s Social SME (Subject Matter Experts) program helps to ensure that Dell has a strong presence in social for each area of their business. The program is designed to help empower SMEs by providing social certifications, helpful tools, ongoing strategy, standardized target keyword lists and social media playbooks.
Be results oriented
In order be successful as a social business, you first have to identify what success means to your organization. After all, you won’t have much hope of hitting a target you don’t know exists. It’s easy to see that Connie is very results oriented and holds her teams to the same standard.
Connie’s team helps to ensure that the Dell social media program is firing on all cylinders by educating social media team members on representative success metrics for the areas they are working on, generating benchmark reports, and putting appropriate goals in place that are based on the level of experience of each team member.
To aid ongoing development, social media team members are graded via detailed scorecards which compare their performance against their goals and maintains both internal and external leaderboards (because a little friendly competition never hurts).
Social media doesn’t happen in a vacuum and neither should your social business teams. Collaboration between team members can motivate everyone to do their best. To encourage collaboration, Connie suggests:
- Encouraging early adopters to share tips, techniques and best practices
- Sharing wins internally and publicly via case studies published to SlideShare
- Holding regular core team meetings
In addition to internal collaboration, Connie recommends making external collaboration an important element of your social media marketing, as your target audience and their influencers are often the best sources of insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where your biggest opportunities are. To make sure there is a venue for external collaboration, Dell facilitates regular discussions and think tanks with customers, influencers and even detractors.
Put the customer at the center of your content
Companies that only talk about themselves through their social media and content marketing efforts are seeing disappointing results because of it. In fact, according to research from Content Marketing Institute, only 45% of businesses who engage in content marketing report it to be effective.
Don’t be another brand adding more self-promotional noise to the social sphere. By empowering your employees to effectively engage directly with your customers on the most real time channel there is (social networks), your company will be in the best position to understand their pain points, provide real value and drive social business objectives. Understanding issues from the customer’s point of view helps inform content marketing and social content planning so your brand can provide the kind of information that customers actually want. Ironically, by talking less on social media channels about the brand and products directly, the more demand there will be for the brand. That is the essence of social business done right.
Most companies are aware of the tactical uses for social media marketing by curating and publishing content on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and even blogging. But bringing the value of social media inside an organization to tap into subject matter expertise and the community of knowledge that exists within a company is a resource untapped for many organizations. Think about social media and networks as tools beyond marketing to tap into content and advocacy from within your company.
Here is the full presentation:
Is your company using social media and networks internally to empower employees and your business to be more social? What tools are you using?