Integrate social media efforts across marketing and customer service

Most organizations likely place social media responsibilities primarily (or solely) with marketing, but a recent interview with Cisco’s Marketing Director on WebWorkerDaily, now part of GigaOM provides some insightful tips and makes the case for spreading it throughout the company, especially to customer service:

The heads of both your marketing and customer service departments should meet regularly. Marketing plans should be shared with — and can even be enhanced by — customer service. Each side should know how to use social media to not only fulfill their own goals but to help one another to get closer to reaching overall company goals.

Ensuring the alignment with the overall strategic plan is the key point, and in many cases KPIs for both groups will be similar. Hopefully customer service is already involved in other marketing efforts, but it’s especially important in the interactive space of social media. Customer service is better positioned to turn feedback into improvements to operations where identified.

Measure results together. As expectations are high for tangible returns on social media marketing investments, bring customer service in to help measure, analyze and tell the story of how social media is effective for the company.

Mine social media for more than sentiment. Instead of just looking for the positive, negative and neutral of what customers are saying about a company’s product or service, look for clues to how the public perceives the company as a whole.

Demonstrating a return on social media investments is a challenge for many companies, but collaboration across functions will help. As well, the social media team should build relationships with others subject matter experts within the company, so that customer feedback can be informed or addressed by the people best able to do so accurately. Tech companies, such as Google with their official blog, tend to do really well with this.

Building social media competence across the organization should also have the side effect of nurturing responsible personal use, which is still a risk, although one which I believe often unnecessarily overshadows the potential for beneficial use of social media to a company.

How are social media responsibilities organized in your company?

News the new way

Last night, protests that have been taking place in Toronto for the past few weeks at Queen’s Park and the US Consulate spilled onto the Gardiner Expressway, the elevated freeway that runs through downtown.

It was this event that brought home to me on a personal level the way the world is changing when it comes to how news is disseminated, and the role Twitter is playing in ushering in this new era.

Tamil protest on the GardinerMy condo looks over the freeway and I was able to watch the protests from above as they progressed through the evening. It started around 6:30pm and lasted until nearly midnight, when the last of the diehards finally called it a day.

When I wasn’t taking pictures of the crowd below, I was glued to my Twitter client of choice (for this week anyway), DestroyTwitter, reading the updates coming in from people watching the action from different vantage points.

All you needed to do follow the trend was search for #tamil or #tamilprotest. People weren’t just commenting on how crazy it all looked from above, but were also posting links to background information about the protests and the reason for them.

The most valuable aspect to me of this new way to experience current events is the connection I felt to everyone else in the city inconvenienced by the shutdown of the busy thoroughfare. There are a variety of points of view on the intelligence of the tactic itself, and everyone is sharing theirs via Twitter. It’s just such an incredible tool to connect people.

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