2010 marked an important milestone in the young social media industry. Mainly because businesses began to leverage social media to be closer to their customers, have a better and almost real time understanding of their markets and reduce marketing expenditure while growing brand reputation and market share.
Businesses who are not leveraging social business technology to monitor, research, connect and collaborate socially with their clients will have a competitive disadvantage over those companies who do.
* 60-80% of purchase decisions are based on recommendations
* Time in the social web exceeded time spend on TV
* 16 Million search results on "has anybody experience with…" indicates that product and brand exploration is no longer influenced by traditional advertising
Social business tools will become strategic in 2011.
20 strategic social business tools for 2011:
Social Media Monitoring
Tools to monitor the market and gain deeper insights in what people talk about, what needs they have and what they are looking for. It helps identify influencer, major contributors and active voices for specific industries, products, markets or behaviors.
Social Relationship Management
Tools that help business teams to keep socially in touch with a large audience and still be personal. SRM tools allow sales teams to reach out to more people in a given timeframe than cold calling or email shots. SRM tools also help business people to become more approachable and make it easier to do business with. SRM tools typically can be integrated into traditional CRM or support systems.
Online Communities / Forums
Those are tools to gather customers in closed or open but branded communities. Those communities help to relocate conversations from many isolated groups or forums into one big branded group.
Blogs became one of the back bone technologies in the social web. Questions starting with "Has anybody experience with…" typically find their answers in either a forum or on a blog.
Social Media Marketing Software
SMMS are tools to help orchestrate social media marketing efforts. Managing multiple platforms serving them in various countries can be a daunting task and tools help to organize those engagements.
The above selection of products are not a suggestion but shall help to get a feel for the technology as you can select products from nearly 10,000 social media tools and addons these days. The ones with an asterisk (*) are the ones we internally prefer and help our students to work with.
Free or paid applications?
Interesting to note is that none of the above tools are free. Non of the above companies bet their business success on advertising but on the happiness of their customers. In other words, all of those companies are driven by the needs and requirements of their users and customers. We have seen many of the free tools come and go in the past 5 years. Business solidity is certainly another aspect when you decide in which technology you invest time and team resources.
Most of the times a social business strategy goes hand in hand with the tools selection as tools are the enabler to actually execute such a strategy.
Our research team and world wide over 50 CSMS (Certified social media strategists) have the skills and experience to help you select the tools that are best suited for your specific needs.
You may plan to join the Social Media Tools Week – SMTW 2011 in February to get some latest insights into what those tools are capable of.
(my social networks)