Social Media from A to Z

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For the rest of the June 2009 issue of CRM magazine — The Social Media Issue — please click here.

Ask. Ask your social customers what they want from you. They’ll tell you. Just don’t be afraid to hear the answer.

Blog. Only 16 percent of the 2008 Fortune 500 have a public-facing corporate blog with a post in the last 12 months, according to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. But please: no ghost-blogging.

Control. You’ve already lost much of it; you just didn’t know.

Disposable applications. That’s how Gartner analyst Adam Sarner describes en vogue social applications. Today’s fad (Twitter) may be tomorrow’s also-ran (Friendster). The social tool hardly matters; the social strategy is everything.

Enterprise 2.0. What’s on the consumer Web is behind the firewall, too. Collaborative applications, such as Socialtext and Atlassian, allow your employees to get social.

Facebook. If 200 million people are there, you have to be.

Ground rules. Lay ‘em. Live by ‘em. (But also be flexible enough to adapt ‘em if you need to.)

Hype. Oprah’s first words on Twitter? “Hi Twitters.” Anticlimactic, maybe — and she did it in all-caps. But the buzz surrounding Twitter has yet to wane. This social stuff ain’t no Snuggie.

Interact. Don’t expect the conversation to just come to you. You’ve got to give a little before you get a little.

Just do it. Analyst Charlene Li has famously suggested that doing nothing is not an option. Social media efforts scare you a little? Doesn’t matter: You’ve got to jump in.

Key influencers. Given the fragmented nature of social media, you can’t reach everyone. But the right few, with dedicated followers of their own…

Listen. Now hear this: In the Social Media Buyer’s Guide 2009 survey, 80 percent of respondents said senior leadership listens to feedback from social media channels.

Mentor up. Your Generation Y employees are updating their Facebook statuses on their iPhones at this very moment. Use the young’uns to your advantage and have them help shape your social media approach.

New media. That’s what the old media used to call the Web and everything online. New media has proceeded to gut the media industry. Social media is the new media of corporate-customer interaction—so plan accordingly.

Open up. In social media, transparency matters most.

Pick your spots. You can’t be everywhere. Marketing maven Seth Godin says being in too many channels dilutes his brand, so he’s staying out of many of them, including Twitter.

Quality. Customers will remember if you handle the social contract poorly. So focus on a solid strategy.

Ratings and reviews. User-generated content isn’t just all the rage — it also increases sales. Bazaarvoice says the average customer implementation of product-page reviews sees at least a 20 percent lift in sales.

Second Life. The most famous of the virtual worlds, which may have lost some of their buzz lately, but still house millions of active social customers.

Twitter. Accounts went from 8 million to 14 million to 25 million in a matter of months. Also? The media practically lives there now, so your message matters.

User interface. Usability not only matters in social media, it matters more. If people can’t interact easily with your company in a channel, you may as well not bother. Ask Facebook about the uprising over its changed layout.

Voice of the Customer. It’s time to eavesdrop on what the customer is saying.

Widgets. They make social media tools easy and adaptable.

X Factor. There’s so much about social media that we don’t yet know. The landscape’s developing faster than you think.

Yesterday’s news. That’s what you’ll be if you don’t keep up.

Zero. The amount of time you have left to sit on the social media sidelines.

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