Often times in social we can feel like we are ahead of the game, on top of the new world order of communication. We are on the cusp of a new way of doing things and now we got it nailed. We’ve created strategic Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages, feeds, blogs, and more. We watch them for perception, tone and feedback, interacting with the customers that engage with us through them.
Some of us have also been able to attain that other golden jewel of getting big companies new to social media to understand the value of what we do as social media managers/owners and what it can do for them. We’ve battled through pitch after painful PowerPoint pitch to our investors and execs to get them on board with understanding the value of something that can feel incredibly squishy and nebulous for business at times. If this was a challenge for you and you pulled it off, congratulations. Another rung on the ladder grasped.
However, if you think you got it dialed by only having man-handled the two big challenges I mentioned above, you may have forgotten the one battle you must fight and conquer to win the war.
Process makes perfect
Most up and coming marketers that are out there doing the social media thing, love it because it’s free and nimble and easy to join the party. I will say that there is some business beauty in that. However, in the enterprise, I think one of the caveats that most business leaders new to social media have with it is that no one has explained to them how it fits into their internal business processes and why. How nice will it play with processes that have been established over several years (and that worked really well pre-social media) in various cross-functional organizations and departments?
All is well and good when your company responds to a tweet right there on the fly. Life is good in social media when a question is posed on Facebook and you know the answer and can respond right there and be done with it. But what happens when a question is posed to your company that you don’t know the answer to? What happens when you don’t know who has the answer and you gotta do some digging through your org chart and email a few people. What happens when you finally find that person and they answer with more questions for the customer who posed the original question over Twitter?
It's important to catalog all use cases as they pop up so that you can facilitate an answer to inquiries from your social channels quickly and effectively. Committing to a higher standard of customer engagement publicly and then leaving your customers hanging because you didn't have a solid feedback loop for getting questions answered in a reasonable amount of time can turn into a negative buzz fast.
There needs to be a solid process in place to support the feedback loop required to add value to your social media initiatives. If that loop is dysfunctional, unorganized, under developed, or just plain missing, then your company's public perception is at risk and your efforts may backfire.