While social media gurus push hard for businesses to be busy writing content, posting links, and sharing media, most businesses can't help but become discouraged by what appears to be a lot of work without an obvious connection to sales.
While I see the matter quite differently, I understand the barrier and believe it exists because not everyone understands the real opportunity social media presents.
Business Intelligence Is the Big Prize
I have said many times that social media is in its infancy. But even at this early stage, gathering data and painting a picture of what a customer wants, why they want it, and how you succeed or fail to provide it is the great gift of social media.
Today there are powerful tools that give us an enormous amount of data that could employ teams of people to interpret. But it will get easier over time as tools provide more value beyond just the data. Even now, by staying focused on continuously improving your method of gathering data and interpreting it to honestly answer the big questions will keep you ahead of customer expectations and ahead of your competitors.
Start With a Question
Social media doesn't become social until business leaders become curious about their customers. Curiosity will create questions that you desperately need answered and those questions should start conversations that can help you give a better service worth paying for.
Start with a question you really need to have answered and start asking that question online. Ask it through the pictures, videos, blogs and tweets that you share, and answer the comments as they come in with conversation.
Social Media Strategy Belongs With Those Who Set Business Strategy
All of the traditional business functions need to take part in this effort. Public relations, marketing, sales, and human resources need to participate in the brand community but social media isn't just a benefit to any one of them and should not be owned by any one of them.
Social media is a lever that serves the bigger goals of the company and needs to be led by the leaders of the business, not any one department.
Here's my question that will help me serve you better: Who owns social media for your business and why?