Social Media based Customer Experience Strategy

The real underlying power in Social Media is a new customer experience model. Too many hip “social media campaigns” failed because it was just old ideas blasted into a new world. Too much money was invested in fan pages or online community that became dormant after just 3 or 6 month – or worst – was never adopted.

Anybody experience with…
Social media is about the most often asked question: “Anybody experience with…”. Customers asking for help from real users, real customers – names they would never get from the respective business. Over 160,000 Toyota driver, 65,000 John Deere customers, 50,000 IBM customer, 25,000 SAP customers, 10,000 Dow Chemical customers… customers in all industries for all types of products asked those questions and most found answers. You are right – this is not 100% of their respective customer base – but these are the most vocal and therefor most influential people. Neither business processes automation, nor the next generation CRM, or a marketing campaign or yet another survey can help. If you and your team are not part of the conversation – your influence is ZERO.

The new customer experience model
Social Media in a business world is NOT having a LinkedIn profile, is NOT listening to tweets of somebody walking their dog and is NOT browsing through facebook pages. Social media in business is first and foremost “The New Customer Experience Model”.
1) Create a thorough social media assessment
2) Craft a good old SWOT analysis
3) Create a sound social media strategy
4) Build your resource and budget plan
5) Develop a social media execution plan
All need to be interwoven with your business objectives.
You will notice that the tools are secondary – the new mindset for a better customer experience primary.

Leverages your team, your partners, your customers, vendors and others to become part of the conversation – not the old “message blasting one way street” – no – a meaningful and mutually beneficial conversation with your customers, your prospects and the rest of the market.

The Tools Selection
Only once you have all your ducks in a row you will select the platforms, places, and tools for your social presence. Then you select the reporting systems to measure, model and tune your progress and success.

The Social Media Academy is running a complementary webinar this week July 10th. which is all about the new customer experience model, case studies, methods, frameworks, reporting tools and ways to make it happen.



Social Media Competence is the New Business Imperative

Run out and get the July-August issue of Harvard Business Review. More than half the articles will tell you that the business climate has taken on a NEW NORMAL that businesses cannot ignore. We are not going back to business as usual after the recession. In fact, getting out of the recession and surviving in the future require the same thing.

What you will learn from the Hagel, Seeley-Brown and Davison article is that successful businesses will be social media savvy and incorporate this into the ways they interact with customers, employees, stakeholders, partners and the world. These are not social media gurus you might suspect are puffing up their own feathers. They are heavy weight business thought leaders. Same with the other papers that make it clear that people and businesses need to adapt. As Hagel, Seeley-Brown and Davison make clear, it takes Social Media woven into the fabric of business.

Still not convinced! Read the June issue of Wired magazine (this you can get online).

Now here is the rub, learning to use social media to foster the type of changes in business models and relationships won’t happen on its own. It will take consultants and managers who have broad knowledge of emerging business strategy and social media.

I became involved in the development and launch of the Social Media Academy because I shared with Axel Schultze the founder, that there would be a growing need an institution that could provide just this blend of education. Now, six months later, when I look at the content for our Leadership Class, I know we are on the right track. Take your own look at the course outline. This Link

The Harvard Business Review and Wired magazine message are just more of an increasingly strong message to the business community – Social Media competence is not a new gimmick, it is the new imperative.

If you want to learn more about how the Social Media Academy can help you gain this competence, I suggest you attend the next free introductory webinar on July 10th.

Register on the Academy website: Social Media

Posted by John Todor, Ph.D.


Social Media Academy – educating modern business

The Social Media Academy, based on my experience with their webinar course, teaches social networking not just from the standpoint of Twitter and Facebook, but from how a business should be run. I have enjoyed Axel sharing his work experience as context for new ways of doing business vs. old.

Much of marketing has evolved with analytics and techniques such as direct marketing have proved their worth to generate ROI in the past. However, many large corporations such as the big FMCGs have relied so much on layers of agencies, analytics and supply chains that they have lost the true connection with the user.

Now is an opportunity for these large businesses to essentially get back to the basics of relationship building with customers who are listening to ads less and less. The Social Meia Academy does a good job not only of presenting theory, but also practical application and commercial rationale.

Social Networking is presented properly not as an easy way out, but a new way of doing business that can save on operating costs IN ADDITION to generating sustained present and future sales.

The need for businesses to change is a significant underlying theme (businesses tend not to like change) and we are in early staging adoption. The course covers how to sell these new ideas into business as part of the change process.

Rick Speciale
Networking: XeeSM


Blogging on Social Media Academy Blog

If you blog on the social media academy blog, you may promote your own blog and places you are present.
Just add your XeeSM name at the end of your post. If you don’t have a XeeSM yet, create one at This Link

Blogging Tips
Keep your posts relevant to the social media space. If a topic has been touch before – don’t worry, your personal opinion counts and therefor freely blog about.

It is a good practive to embed links to referenced sites, point to names maybe on Twitter or XeeSM.

Let your friends and contacts know about your post and point them directly to your post. Tweet about it – the tweet feature in part of the blog.

We kindly ask you to not sell or overly promote any products or services on the Social Media Academy blog. We reserve the right to remove your membership otherwise.


New Customer Experience Model

With maturing strategy models, assessment methods and new reporting and analytic tools, businesses look differently at social media compared to just one year ago.

The Social Media Academy is running a complementary webinar next week Friday, July 10 helping gain insight:
“Social Media – New Customer Experience Model”

I guess it is important to note that it is not yet another “social media marketing” webinar or one that tells you how to use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook for business.
This event is all about the Academy’s core framework:
– Objectives
– Assessment
– Strategy development
– Execution Plan
– Budgets, resources and ROI
– Measure model and tune results

The overall approach: A cross functional way of customer engagement and customer experience ranging from support, product design, logistics, HR, sales and of course marketing too.
This Link

This Link


How do you manage all your social media URLs?

If you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, SlideShare, YouTube… do you add all the sites to your email signature? Do you have them all on your business card? Which URL do you have on Twitter? If you also use Facebook, do you cross reference other sites like your YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare or other Networks? Do you update them all when you add a new site or join a new community?

I just had enough and so we developed This Link
One URL with all the places and if I add some new place like I recently joined a new network, I only add it to XeeSM. If I comment on a blog I may just mention my XeeSM so people can find me easily.

It’s Beta – we just started today. Please let us know what you think.

Thanks a lot for any feedback

This Link


Social Media Rock Star or Social Media Business Consultant?

The social web has been explored and rapidly taken over by the business world. What was limited to a social marketing campaign just a year ago to make some cool noise for coffee, skittles or a new blender is today strategically dissected.

The social media rock stars who do a few campaign masterpieces are finding new competition from business process savvy consultants who take social media way beyond the campaign level on the marketing side.

Social Media in product marketing and product design plays a wildly important role. Co-creation is the known buzzword, listening to customers and building the right next-generation product the executable part of it. Social media empowered support organizations leverage engaged users and support the “user support user” paradigm through social media in a whole new way.

Logistics and procurement departments conquer old supply chain problems such as customer buying trends and customer purchase behavior with social media where social web analytics serve as a much more precise early warning systems than anything we had in the past.

While LinkedIn is the prototype for job hunters and recruiters – HR or better said HT (Human Talents) has gone way beyond search techniques and use social media for skill identification beyond the profile, team communication, project qualification and much more.

The social media marketing campaign is only one piece of the cross functional social media puzzle. And today it is actually one of the last pieces to be put in place. Even before developing a social media strategy a comprehensive assessment – assessing customers, brand, partners and competitors – is typically the starting point. Following a traditional SWOT analysis, a social media strategy is developed based on components such as Purpose, Objectives, Benefits Actions, and a sound reporting framework. Resource allocation management and funds allocation including ROI calculations are standard elements in a professional social media tool box.

Now – to do all that – professionally trained business consultants may join the “Social media rock stars” with their 100,000 Twitter followers. In my experience – if all you want to do is a cool social media campaign and get a ton of followers – you are not much further along than the ones who hope to get 100 Million eye balls through sponsored links – no matter what the value of those are. But if you honestly care about your customers and try to develop a profoundly better customer experience – then think beyond the “cool” and start building a holistic cross-functional strategy – so that service, support, product design and sales are a homogeneous force and the customer experience is something your customer recognizes.
Some of the consultants who are working more strategically may be less visible in the social web – but does that mean they are less effective in their work? Are the pros working in the background the ones who really spin the web – way beyond the “cool”?


The Oracle – Yahoo Deal

Yahoo is up for sale. Microsoft has a tradition: You mess with them twice they never talk to you a third time. Would Google buy Yahoo? No. Who else? SAP? Not a fit, not happening. Oracle? Hmmmm – let’s think about that one.

Oracle just bought Sun and turning Sun into a cloud computing power house. Probably rearrange the software part, integrating professional services, shutting down MySQL, and decommissioning the hardware box sales over time.

Now – Oracle is thinking Social-CRM, they have a cool online community, they are very much SaaS and Web 2.0 aware (even if they don’t produce yet). While maintaining their existing enterprise business, they will migrate carefully into the networked world – built from ground up on: yes, their own cloud.

The first meaningful application: Search. A search server farm is a cloud on its own. So here is a fit too. Oracle is bold and crazy enough to pull this off.

Oracle could even become the SaaS, Search, Social Web cloud provider for their own acquisitions plus the rest who is out there.

The benefit for the users? Huge. Oracle is the last company that would build an advertising based business model. Hence search may become a whole new user experience.

Search is over 10 years old and there was zero progress for the user – only for the advertiser. We still struggle with 10,000,000,000 search results generated in 0.0007 seconds. We still have no structured search, we still have no geo based search, we still have no social search, we still have no crowed search, we still have no ranking, selection or filter based search, we still have no…. – Simply there is zero evolution in the single most used software application on the planet. Right?

I would even pay 10$ per year for a search that does a good job. With a billion users that is $10 Billion per year.

And that is just the obvious beginning….

Strike – done – we will see.

Axel Schultze


Partner empowerment – with MDF to Social Media

We are conducting a project to empower partners to participate in social media. The funding is done through MDF. The details are here below.

I am interested in your response. The project is under way but not yet launched:

Social media is a place where customers hang out and converse over products, best practices, service tips and more. The purpose to get partners involved in those conversations is a) to intensify or win back customer relationships and b) connect with new potential customers who are discussing and dealing with the same topics.

The benefit to the dealers and reseller to engage is an obvious business benefit in increasing sales and gaining back market share.

Channel partners have neither a good plan, nor the resources nor the education to launch such a social media engagement. It is not so much an investment in tools or equipment but in knowledge and time. More so channel partners don’t have the content they want like attractive video clips, white papers, ongoing new blog posts and more.

Vendors “sponsor” the partners social media engagement including three components:
a) The base education for the partners
b) Some vendor side resource allocation to feed content to the partners
c) An online community system that allows the partner to build their own social community, which in turn is connected to the vendors who feed content straight into all the connected partner communities (in our case 3,500 connected partner communities)

The whole project is funded through MDF – and it cost less than the typical but less effective local marketing events. The initial funds allocation is $800 per partner for training, a few dollars for the online community and more but only if successful for community engagement (see below)

Reporting and justification
The MDF funds per partner grow with the activities and engagement in the communities. In other words if a partner does not engage with their market – no more money. If the partner engages and their community grows – additional money. If a partner is REALLY active constantly grows the ecosystem and develops a vibrant community – even more MDF cash. The reporting system provides activity level that in turn controls the MDF flow.

So at the end of the day – social media and its transparency provides an even deeper insight into the effectiveness of the partner activities. Probably a bid hard to explain in words but once you see it you will get the idea.

It is a multi million dollar project but simply because the channel is a global channel. It is less than 0.5% of the revenue through the channel.

However the concept is scalable and will work with channels as small as 100 partners for around $25,000 to start with.


Social Media Education For Managers

Why is this important?

You probably heard so much about social media and maybe still confused.
Fact is that close to 400 Million people are part of this phenomenon in some way.
Fact is that winning the attention of your customers and prospects is easier, less costly and more effective through social media than doing mail shots, cold calls, or advertising. If you want to grow your business, you need to catch your customers in the social web, not with a boring promotion.

But you need to KNOW what to do there, what to expect and you need to KNOW the limitations. You also need to KNOW the places and tools that are out there.

You can figure this out yourself. It may take a few month and some try and error. Or you may take a professional class and actually explore the space from a professional point of view together with others.

What do you actually learn?
You probably already have an account on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. You probably have a some connections and check it out once in a while. Now lets get down to business.

1) You learn to understand that probably none of your customers is using social media yet – most of your customers are “in it” since years. So what do you make out of this?
Understand how customers – in particular economic buyers, decision makers and buying consumers use the social web. Learn how strategic you may want to get and leverage the media for you AND your customers.

2) You learn to look beyond your own profile but how to get active with your customers through group engagements and how to build your own groups to get closer with your market. How to deal with groups to not only use it for customers but as a lead generating
tools where you catch two birds with one stone get new contacts and be so helpful that they actually find you new members.

3) Learn to look at the “professional networks” versus “personal networks” not from your point of view but from a business point of view. There is much to learn from professional networker and how Facebook may become your most important source of information.
Learn to create a buzz around your groups and fan pages that will create more contacts than a spam filer can filter your mail shots.

4) Learn to understand Twitter from a business perspective. If you think Twitter is stupid and you have no time to follow conversations about somebodies lunch or walking the dog – it only indicates that you follow the wrong conversations. Learn how some leading companies like Comcast, IBM or Ford use Twitter for all kinds of customer interaction.

What our Social Media Certificate includes
You learned to:
– create a holistic point of view when it comes to social media for business
– take social media as a cross functional solution for a better customer experience
– understand the key aspects of a social media strategy
– create a consistent profile across social media platforms as a person as well as a company
– leverage groups in LinkedIn to use it for business conversation
– how to create successful business conversations in LiunkedIn groups
– how to create your own group and make it successful
– how to bridge to confusion between busines and personal networks
– how to leverage facebook to learn more about your customers
– leverage facebook groups and fan pages for business interactions
– how to establish your own groups and fan pages and making them attractive
– when and why to use twitter for your business conversations
– how to select the right people and conversations
– what leverage twitter has to offer beyond just tweeting around
– how to use reporting tools report progress and success

Check it out at Social Media Academy