Organizing & Managing Social For Your Business

Written by Brandan BakiApril 7, 2011

Social media guru Jeremiah Owyang has done extensive research on how companies organize and manage their social CRM and how these companies have adapted to the rapidly evolving social media landscape. In his research, he addresses how companies structure and manage their social CRM initiatives, how they integrate their sites with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and how companies staff their social CRM teams. He discusses where to allocate your funds to enable growth both through advertising and by building an army of external brand advocates. In this article, we will discuss the major learnings from Owyang’s research.

The Past: Social CRM Management in 2010

In 2010, companies structured and organized their social CRM strategies in many different ways. The most popular were Hub and Spoke (41%) or Centralized (28.8%) (Slide 12). Centralized is when one department controls all efforts. While this is consistent it is rarely authentic, and authenticity is what people respond well to in social media. Hub and Spoke is where one main hub defines the rules and different business departments execute separate marketing campaigns according to those rules. This can be a painstakingly long process due to the fact that there are multiple marketing campaigns being executed concurrently and that information has to be passed down through several layers of the org chart. Each layer has to be watched over to ensure they all stay within the confines of what that company is trying to present.

Owyang’s data showed that beginner businesses with smaller budgets leaned toward a centralized model even though they tend to lean towards experimental processes. The middle and advanced companies both used a Hub and Spoke process as well as a Dandelion approach, which is multiple Hub and Spokes. The interesting part is that the budgets from middle to advanced differed very little. Perhaps those “advanced” companies are better at allocating resources?

The Future: Social CRM Management in 2011

Owyang found that management in 2011 would most likely mirror what was done in 2010 but make way for more authenticity and personality in social CRM (Slide 19). The major focuses will be on ROI and defining metrics to measure actual growth. Companies will organize their staff in a way that they will represent the company the same yet bring a human touch back into social networking. Customers enjoy the humanistic quality of Facebook and Twitter and making it feel robotic with premeditated responses will only hinder success.

While internal organization will be key, social media can show significant growth from just basic social stimulation. Knowing where and how to stimulate your fans and followers will boost conversation and awareness helping to make your social CRM campaign successful. Hiring the right staff and promoting ambassadors, or key external influencers, are they keys to exceeding the initial expectations of your social marketing plans.  

Keys to Successful CRM Management:

Integrating Your Site with other Social Sites

In the past, businesses have focused on social media and websites as two different entities. Instead, they should support each other, even though they may serve different purposes.  You don’t want your marketing efforts to lack cohesion when you can deliver your message seamlessly across platforms. You may have some customers who use your web site while other customers communicate to you through your social media presence.

How do you bring your customers together across platforms? You start with basic linking to your website from Facebook (and vice versa) while concurrently stimulating conversations and encouraging users to share information. Your next step is to get your users to comment and share using social logins (which allow users to sign into your site using their Facebook login or login from another network). The benefit of using social logins is that sharing information becomes easier as the user can jump back and forth from your site to their social networks with one single login and truly never actually leave. You’ll be removing a step for them, which can make all the difference between participation and abandonment.

Staffing your Social CRM Team

Owyang warns that you do not need social gurus anymore. Instead you need to staff your team with people who have a strong background in early technology adoption. He suggests looking for a corporate entrepreneur who will be comfortable taking calculated risks (Slide 31).

You are not hiring someone to control and run your Social CRM efforts with any crazy idea they may have. You have done the work defining the roadmap for your social CRM initiative. You now need to recruit solid professionals who can execute. These people will be the voices of your company so hire competent professionals that, most importantly, fit the culture of your company

Invest in Growth

Companies are still focusing their capital on the same marketing verticals they always have but the allocation of that capital is changing. Companies are increasingly allocating more marketing dollars to staff to manage their social CRM and marketing programs. The right staff can instill a social CRM and marketing culture and methodology that will live on for years.

Build Your Army

Identify your loyal customers and cultivate an environment  where they “work” for you as brand advocates. They already believe in your product or service. As such, invest in programs that will encourage them, reward them, and shape their perspective.

Owyang identifies a 5-step process for “building your army” (Slide 34):

  • Internal Readiness.
  • Identify your advocates.
  • Build relationships with your people.
  • Put your advocates first.
  • Foster growth.

Measuring and Improving ROI

Identifying the key metrics can be easy but what do you do with these metrics once you identify them? Since you are not communicating dollars and cents as you would with a balance sheet or income statement, what metrics do you report to key decision makers and investors?

First you want to leverage your community managers and external agencies as they have access to the engagement data from your social media campaigns. This data consists of your core metrics such as clicks, fans, followers, tweets, retweets, views, check-ins, etc. However, these basic stats, while useful, don’t truly show business growth. However, these stats do measure activity that can trigger actual revenue growth if managed correctly.

Next consider your business stakeholders, the people actively involved in executing your campaigns, and determine what they can derive from your social media analytics. Your stakeholders need to know the impact of their efforts in terms of resonation, word of mouth, share of voice, support response and insight intake.

Finally, your business executives will be evaluating top line metrics such as revenue, cost, brand reputation, and customer satisfaction. This is where your efforts and investment translate to true growth. Frankly, these metrics are difficult to convey in the current state of social media as the industry as a whole is still in the “investment phase” with marketers across the board hustling to turn social traffic into sales growth, better customer retention, and increased brand recognition. The challenge is proving to business executives that the resources invested in social media are having a positive impact on the business when the bottom line has not yet changed to reflect the associated growth (Slide 40).

The Future

Owyang’s advice for 2011 is to open your wallet and spend wisely. Last year, companies invested in the idea of social networking. This year, they should invest in focused, measurable social marketing programs. Specifically, companies should invest in staffing, technology integrations and advertising. Grow your business through social marketing and watch your website follow. Encourage your advocates and enable them to boost revenue and grow your brand.

If you need more information, read the full keynote from Jeremiah Owyang. Keep your business plan focused and be persistent so that as you execute your social media strategy for the year it will be easier to measure growth and improvement.

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