A significant amount of discussion around social media focuses on the mechanics of making it work inside your organization: facebook pages, twitter accounts, YouTube channels, and even legal, risk and human resources policies. Most organizations are feeling pretty good about themselves if they’ve gotten far enough to actually create a strategy document on how these pieces will be used, but usually this strategy is limited to the coordination of these mechanical pieces will be used throughout the enterprise.
But let’s take a step back and actually look at how will social media will be changing your enterprise itself over the next few years. Shouldn’t the mechanics you put in place now tie to the new social landscape your organization will be forced to compete on in the coming years?
Here are the biggest changes social media will be creating inside your organization in the coming years (we’ll deal with the biggest changes outside your organization next). Plan now or pay later…
We all know the story of how one man and his damaged guitar bruised not only one airline brand but the entire industry. Brands have come to fear viral videos, but they will be the least of your worries. Social media builds communities – close communities – giving even the most unimportant unhappy customers direct access to your most influential supporters. One complaint isn’t damaging, but over time they will add up and soon organizations with even slightly flawed processes affecting customers will find themselves working to add content to their streams simply to dilute the number of complaints present on their feed – a losing battle. Social media will create the need for much greater process definition and process discipline than we’ve ever seen before. Few organizations are prepared for this, and even fewer operations managers will understand social media’s role.
Why are customer complaints a problem? Can’t you just delete them? Everyone says you can’t but in reality you can. I don’t recommend it but if you plan to remove them just wait for the complaint to sink low enough in your stream for people to lose sight of it. That works now; in the future it won’t. Once online social analytics improve, complaints will have significantly greater visibility than they do today. They will be more holistic. The new metric will be not only the numbers of complaints brands get, but also the number of posts removed from their pages. Get busted filtering the content people are allowed to attach to your brand and that surely will go viral. Be prepared for the online love brands are feeling now via social media to end – when the honeymoon’s over the complaining starts.
Right now the most difficult job in business is being a business analyst. They live in the unpleasant space between operations, finance, information technology and unmanageable data that will do anything to avoiding becoming good information. They are tasked with understanding business processes, the customer experience and comparing it to data that defines performance and customer preference. And there you have the starting point job description for your entire social media center for excellence of the future. If you’re hiring cheap college grads with no business experience to run your social media now, figure out how to get them understanding what drives your business before they become unskilled labor.
4. Social Media Joins the Round Table
As if social media professionals didn’t have enough to do understanding and integrating social media into their organization, selling it to executives and teaching managers in their organization how to use it without creating a disaster, things are going to get a little more complicated. Expect executives to invite the head of your social media initiative to strategic meetings with increased frequency. Not only are they going to invite you, but they are going to expect you to have answers on how social media creates an ROI for itself, helps them achieve their strategies, while at the same time differentiating your organization and providing a competitive advantage. The upside? It will take a few years still, but keep an eye out for executive incentives and perks if you’re successful.
Is your organization planning now for these changes?
From San Diego…. Dave