Does your business need social media strategy? Is it a right investment for a player in your market? Do the industry standards prescribe active digital media presence? What is the optimal way for your organization?
Social Media for B2Bs
Many companies still believe that Social Media is not their cup of coffee. Indeed, B2B companies often work under long term contracts and have an established pool of clients. We at Spectacled Marketer know that every business is a system of relationships between people. And if you do not address the amount of information that is available to these people online, you are exposing your company to serious risks. Regardless of whether your competitive advantage is associated with product leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy, Social Media is there to help you create even stronger market position.
Product leadership and innovation pipeline are highly correlated. Companies today invest millions of dollars in creating innovation pipelines. For example, AT&T created special foundries that help to screen new ideas in start up companies around the world. AT&T is constantly encouraging its employees to submit creative ideas for the R&D and marketing testing. Companies try to learn about their customers, and the direct ongoing interaction with them allows shaping product and customer service in accordance with customer value. A great example of the innovation pipeline leveraged from the Social Media is Mozilla Firefox. This search engine’s development was constantly shaped by its volunteering partners – the browser users. Because who can know better than the user what is important?
Operational excellence may seem to be less affected by digital media. However, today companies find more and more valuable talking with their clients and supply chain partners directly. Indeed, availability and transparency of information is the key attribute of operational leader. Social Media definitely introduces reasonable level of transparency. Imagine the Just In Time system by Walt-Mart at your business: would you like to know about demand and trend changes to adjust your production? The changes in demand and supply can be forecasted with a much better accuracy using a sound listening strategy.
Customer Intimacy is the competitive advantage for many firms in saturated industries. Being able to provide best customer service experience and develop long term loyalty relations is the goal of many companies. Again, Social Media provides an unparalleled opportunity for reaching to your audience. For example, Microsoft implemented an online measuring strategy for analyzing its customers’ online inputs about products, company and services. Looking at the digital conversations among Microsoft users, the company implemented the idea of answering customers’ questions, addressing concerns and complaints through using Social Media customer service team. Microsoft admits that developing this online listening not only helped in learning more about clients’ issues, but also contributed significantly to the innovation.
At Spectacled Marketer, we believe that Social Media is there to help you enhancing your competitive positioning regardless of your strategy, because anywhere where you have human interaction within your supply chain, transaction or sales processes, you can leverage an opportunity of personalizing the interaction and maximizing its potential in terms of customer/partner/employee satisfaction.
So what can you do right now to make sure you’re listening to your business?
• Make sure your website is shareable: your potential and existing customers need a way to insert your company in their online conversation. So let them Pin you, Like you, and Tweet about you.
• Create an online scanning agent that would screen the web for all notifications on your brand, for example, Google Alerts. This way you would be able to insert yourself into the online dialog and address complaints, issues and other notifications on time.
• Offer a platform where your customer/partner/partner/employee can actually express their opinions. It could be comment field on your website’s newsletter or a Facebook page. It also can be an online forum where your users would form online communities to discuss your products, services and business model.