Attend any corporate meeting on social media initiatives and it’s likely that you’ll hear a question or two along the lines of “how is this selling us more product” or “what’s the ROI on these activities”?
Unfortunately, many social media strategists get caught up in the numbers that relate specifically to social media and they forget about the numbers that are meaningful to their business.
Obviously, each business or organization will have different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that determine the success of social media activities, but many organizations can benefit from using some, or all, of what I call the K.I.S.S. method.
No, it’s not “keep it simple, stupid”, with respect to social media, K-I-S-S stands for the following:
For the last 10 years, the nebulous term “knowledge management” has been used to try to identify ways to capture the knowledge stored in employees heads and turn it into meaningful information that organizations can use.
The dangers of ignoring knowledge management is that employees who leave your organization take their “tribal knowledge” with them, resulting in loss of access to the information and increased training costs for the persons’ replacement. The loss of this knowledge can ultimately impact your customer satisfaction if the tribal knowledge was never captured in any organizational knowledge base.
To avoid the loss of employee knowledge, you can leverage social media by creating an internal platform where your subject matter experts can share their knowledge, thus preserving it for organizational use. Wikis, idea networks, blogs, and social Intranets are a great tools that can be used to encourage employees to share what they know.
Keep in mind that you may need to provide employees with incentive to participate. Explore whether it would be beneficial to offer monthly incentives to those employees that contribute the most valuable content using internal social media tools. A $50 restaurant gift card that saves you thousands in training costs and keeps customers happy is usually a good investment.
Three Ideas For Implementing Social Media Knowledge Management Inside Your Organization
Build An Internal Social Network
Create an internal knowledge base that employees can refer to that helps them learn about your products and serves while also sharing their experience and knowledge. Think of your internal knowledge base as the “Facebook for your company” and create an environment where employees are encouraged to connect and share.
Build a corporate intranet that is only accessible to your employees
Use the intranet to communicate with employee frequently and provide them with the ability to respond and share feedback. Choose a platform that is secure and is easy to use. DON’T try to use Facebook as a company intranet.
Encourage Internal Blogging
Create opportunities for your employees to write blog posts that explain what they do, why they love it, and how their activities benefit the company. Encourage them to share solutions to issues that they have identified. The more internal knowledge you capture and make searchable, the easier the transition will be if the employee leaves the company.
Think of social media as a direct pipeline into information about your products/services, your customers, and your competitors. If your customers don’t like your products or services, they will share their displeasure via reviews, tweets, and posts. The same holds true for your competitors products/services.
Additionally, if you listen closely, your customer and potential customers will tell you what they want from you with respect to new products/services. Take that one step further and engage with the community that makes up your customer and prospects, and you can identify new ideas that might not have been developed by your R&D department.
Three Ideas For Using Social Media To Gather Organizational Intelligence
Monitor your competitors
If your competitors are engaging in social media, you should darn well be monitoring their communications. Want to know when they launch a new product? It’ll be shared via social media. Want to know if their employees are dissatisfied? Try identifying and following their employees on networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Implement a social listening strategy for your products and customers
You want to know when your customers are unhappy and social listening is a great strategy that can help you find unhappy customers AND resolve their issues. Tools like Brandwatch, Hootsuite, and Radian6 can help you identify and monitor customer communications and then respond when appropriate.
Encourage customers and employees to share ideas
If your products or services aren’t working like they should, encourage your customers and employees to share why they aren’t working and identify ways to make them better. Who knows, through a customer idea, you might just get a new product or line of services.
Social media can be a great way to connect with your existing customers and empower them to become your brand advocates. Customers are great if they continue to use your product, but they’re even better when they share their experiences with others and encourage their friends and family to try your product. This isn’t a new concept, it’s been around forever and have been successful (remember Faberge shampoo’s “and they told 2 friends and so on…” campaign?)
Social media also offers a significantly cheaper medium for advertising then traditional print, TV, and radio advertising. Look for ways to get your ads in front of highly-targeted consumers using social advertising on channels like Facebook and YouTube. Just be sure you set clear, measurable goals for engaging on those channels.
Don’t forget that social media can also give your sales professionals an easy way to identify new prospects who are looking for a product or service that your provide. LinkedIn Answers and Twitter are great ways to find new potential customers.
Three Ideas For Using Social Media To Increase Sales
Empower and encourage customers to share honest reviews
When your customers have a great experience with your products or services, be sure to give them an opportunity to share their experience with a review. Whether it’s an Amazon review or a review submitted through your Website, be sure there is a way. If there are negative reviews, reach out to the customer and identify what went wrong and help resolve the issue. Sometimes a dissatisfied customer can become a great ambassador if they are provided assistance.
Create an influencer program that amplifies the positive messages from your brand ambassadors
Find a group of happy customers and empower them to share positive messages as brand ambassadors. It’s okay to give them “sneak peaks” to your new product offerings and allow them to share their experiences before the products are launched. Just be sure that they are disclosing that they are brand ambassadors, so there isn’t any confusion. When they post on their social channels, be sure to amplify their message by retweeting or sharing their message via your corporate channels.
Run a social media contest
If you are working to identify new leads and customers, try running a social media contest. Encourage users to show themselves in a video or photo using your product and reward them by entering their video/photo in a contest. Encourage them to share their photo/video with their friends and family via their social networks. If you’re going to use a channel like Facebook to run your contest, just be sure you understand the rules of running a contest on their platform before you launch.
One of the most often overlooked value propositions for social media is that of customer support. Anyone who has ever worked in a call center knows that the most expensive way to provide service to a customer (other than coming onsite to their location) is to have a call center technician help them on the phone. That’s why call centers track important metrics like First Contact Resolution (FCR), Time on Call (ToC), Cost per Call (CpC), and – of course – Customer Satisfaction (CSat).
By capturing your organizational knowledge (via the “K” of Knowledge Management), you can enhance your internal call center knowledge base, allowing your call center technicians to locate and provide answers more quickly, which could decrease Time on Call and increase First Call Resolution. Decrease in TOC and increase in FCR often results in an increase of CSat.
Three Ideas For Using Social Media To Increase Sales
Reduce your inbound calls to your call center through proactive social media
Inbound customer service calls are expensive, when compared to the ability to resolve a customer issue via social media. When a customer calls on the phone, a customer service representative (CSR) is fully tied-up with that customer until the issue is resolved. Using social media, the same CSR can mange 3-4 different communication streams at the same time. When it comes to phone and social, it’s not one or the other…it’s a health mix. Provide your customers support in both channels.
Turn employee knowledge into solutions that reduce time on call
Remember the “K” of knowledge management? If your employees know how to solve the issues customers are experiencing, allow them to create re-usable solutions that call center reps can use. Publish those knowledge articles on your Website and share them via your social media channels. Who knows, maybe they will help a customer and keep them from calling in to your call center.
Measure customer satisfaction through online surveys
Do you know your customer satisfaction score? If not, why not add a customer satisfaction survey to your Website and empower your customers to share their experiences. Take the bad news with the good news and work to resolve any issues that are identified in the surveys. Then, work to increase your cSat score year-over-year.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to start thinking of ways that engaging your employees and customers through social media can improve your operations, open up opportunities, and positively impact your customer satisfaction.
Have ways that you have implemented the KISS method or have additional ideas for positively showing a ROI for social activities in your organization? I’d love to hear about them in a comment or a Tweet.