People are talking…posting…and sharing – on Facebook and Twitter, on LinkedIn, Google+ and Yammer. From informal chats to professional exchanges, social media is now the dominant mode of communication. Smart companies are joining the conversation, shaping the outcome, and reaping the rewards.
“Social” is the new currency
Social networking is dramatically changing the way businesses communicate, both internally and externally. In this digital age, employees are constantly sharing information both with each other and, whether directly or indirectly, with consumers.
That’s why businesses need to embrace social media not only by establishing an online corporate presence, but also by empowering employees to act as brand advocates and engage with customers and stakeholders directly in the social arenas where they are most active and where their attention is most focused, be it Facebook or Twitter or any other social site.
Consumers want to be engaged early and often, about topics / products / solutions that help address a need they have. They want to participate in real-time dialogues about your brand and get answers to their questions as quickly as possible. The proof? They’re already talking about you amongst themselves. But without your input, they’ll form their own opinions and make decisions that you can’t control or affect.
The rewards of sharing and caring
When customers connect with each other, they discuss every aspect of your company and its products – the good, the bad, and the ugly. By merely listening in, you can discover invaluable new information about their preferences. But by actively participating, you can impact the conversation by sharing the kind of information your customers are literally asking for – information about upcoming promotions and products, tips and tricks, stories about customer experiences that echo their own.
The benefits of sharing conversations and targeted content with your audience are tremendous. You win the hearts and minds of your customers when you offer them the kind of content they love. You gain profound insights into their behaviours, preferences, and expectations, right down to the smallest details. This extraordinary depth of knowledge enables you to offer them the products and services you know, with absolute certainty, they want. And empathic engagement drives sales and satisfaction, increases customer loyalty and referrals, influences purchase decisions, and enables you to engineer positive customer experiences.
The downside? There really isn’t one…as long as you’re a socially-aware company!
Social business and your business
Today, in order to become fully connected, many companies are investing in social networking platforms and software. The biggest names in TECH, including IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Adobe, have evolved “Enterprise-Class” social media marketing platforms and infrastructure that empower employees to fully engage with customers through networking, collaboration, email, UC, and other business applications to create new ways of designing more pleasurable customer experiences.
But before taking the leap, it’s important to understand the difference between doing social business and being a social business. Amber Armstrong, Social Business Program Director for IBM says, “People think a social business is social media, or that promoting your business through social media is social business. [We see] it quite differently: we help our customers develop a social strategy to connect a company or city’s employees and customers to drive cost savings, increased revenue, and innovation. It’s a much broader story.”
Social business can transform your enterprise from the inside out. “By embracing and harnessing the power of social tools, your business can break down organizational and geographical barriers inside your organization, and drive deeper, more impactful engagement with customers on the outside.”
Still reluctant to join the conversation? Prepare to go unheard.
Is your business ready for next-gen collaboration? Find out more at www.arkadin.com