To most, social networks refer to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all those phone, web, and app-enabled tools that help us communicate. But in reality, social networks are really nothing more than groups of individuals connected by some commonality: relationships, beliefs, profession, or purpose.
Before the internet and the World Wide Web, these interactions took place in person at school, work, church, and conferences. The emergence of social media has transformed one of the oldest characteristics of humanity: our desire to make personal connections. Modern technologies have revolutionized the way we exchange ideas, share information, and solve even the most challenging problems — reshaping research and marketing cooperation along the way.
Understanding the complexity of this is critical for success in the years to follow. Here are a few steps businesses can take:
1. Understand the social change.
Social Interaction is a science, always has been. According to Networks of Trust: Will the New Social Media Change Global Science?, it’s critical to understand that social platforms aren’t just a channel, but a fundamental change in human interaction and global science. Companies who don’t monitor, communicate, and engage will be disrupted by the magnitude and influence of social. The key to successfully adapting to the change is to understand your community, empower them to be advocates, continually monitor, and JOIN the conversation in real-time… even if the conversation is negative.
See also: The Key to Modern Marketing.
2. Get rid of marketing silos.
Place emphasis on integration. Crafting Integrated Multichannel Strategies will not only show a complete user marketing experience but complement social ROI. This is often a political and challenging road. But, revolutionary marketers understand the modern-marketing funnel and the importance of a creating multi-channel approach. Not having these lines connected will disrupt and possibly create a PR nightmare.
3. Join the conversation.
Customers are always talking to (or talking about) brands on social. Should you put up a “CLOSED” sign and ignore them? The answer is no. If you ignore them, you will more than likely BE the conversation. By JOINING the conversation — responding to as many people as possible, answering questions, recognizing problems, and highlighting advocates — you’ll create healthy, engaged, and powerful communities. You’ll build relationships.
4. Determine your return on investment (ROI).
We all hate this word, but I’ve learned to love it. The first step is to understand what success looks like for your company, then find out how you can report on it, implement the right tools, and evaluate the results. Think about how you can utilize the tools of social to follow up with questions/problems, show shift in brand sentiment, and increase overall customer satisfaction.