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Engaging the Social Culture to Drive Brand Advocacy in the IT Sector – Paper delivered in Moscow
A series of papers written by Peter, the UK’s leading social media consultant
1.0 Key trends in social media – Social media is here to stay
1.1 Statistics and observations
1.2 Key findings from a recent 2011 Nielson US report
1.3 Russian statistics from TNS Digital Life
1.4 Other general Russian trends – General comments
2.0 The social media brand
3.0 Social media and channels to market
4.0 What should a brand look at when considering social media?
4.1 Brands need to make sure the basics are covered
4.2 Brands need to engage with customers through social media to drive the brand experience
4.3 Brands need to move towards a social media service centre culture
4.3.1 Service desks can improve communications with the use of social networks
4.3.2 Why brands should put a value on social networks
4.3.3 The road map for success – Solve problems with social media
4.4 Tech support goes social
4.4.1 Social PC repair
4.4.2 Risks of social service help desks
4.4.3 Tweet for help
4.4.4 Looking forward; what brands should consider
4.5 Social service call centre
5.0 The driving force needs to be brand advocacy
5.1 Key to developing brand advocacy is social media services provision.
5.2 There are some simple rules to follow
6.0 You need shoppers if you want shopping
6.1 Consider your structure and strategy – function and form
6.1.1 Social retailing goals
6.1.2 Social retailing strategies
6.1.3 Social retailing tactics
7.0 Understand the social shopper and put the customer at the centre of all decisions
7.1 Social media intelligence and business intelligence decision making
7.1.1 Social marketing analytics defined
7.1.2 Beyond listening— the path to integrating and acting upon social media data
8.0 Social customer relationship management
9.0 New merchandising strategies for retail growth – crowd sourcing strategies to attract customers
9.1 What is crowd sourcing?
9.2 What is real‐time merchandising?
9.3 Create digital habits for offline behaviour
10.0 Set goals, objectives and develop integrated strategies
11.0 Should companies in the IT sector be taking the lead? Surely they should, but where do they begin?
11.1 Social media starts at the top – establishing social media policy
11.1.1 Top executives lead social strategies
126.96.36.199 Step 1: Understand people
188.8.131.52 Step 2: Determine objectives
184.108.40.206 Step 3: Develop a strategy
This paper looks at how social media needs to be viewed and applied by brands with particular reference to the IT sector. It will consider what organisations need to do to drive brand advocacy and how this requires a more holistic view of the social media organisation. In particular the paper will focus on the use of the social media service desk as a driver of brand advocacy in the IT sector.
Social media has significantly changed the way brands need to connect with their customers. More and more companies are starting to realise the true value of social media; they are adapting and integrating this new form of communication into their culture. It is important to understand that for a successful social media strategy, the company has to have an internal culture that is ready to accept new ideas and promote learning from these new practices.
How should brands use social media? The obvious approach and best place to start, is; blogs, social networking tools, forums, and video to build brand awareness, which maintains an up-to-date dialog with the consumers. This may be about new products, services and tech support. This is a good platform to start from, as it gives a human face/personality, which starts to develop a relationship with the customer.
The above social channels or paths form a holistic approach to communications with customers. This holistic approach needs to be mirrored by the internal brand, with the top-level executives taking the time to give updates on what they are doing and company activity. The social media brand is driven from the inside out.
In order for companies/brands to engage from the inside out, they need to develop social digital platforms, allowing the company and its employees to share and discuss technology, tech-related products and services. The employees need to be guided and encouraged to join relevant product and service discussion topics like computers, interface products, personal IT products, iPods, mobile devices and so on. There needs to be clearly defined channels for social customer service. The marketing department needs to consider and understand how social media service can lead to brand advocacy and loyalty. They need to put the loyalty strategies in place and ensure the team have the technology, processes and capability/training so they can engage and drive the strategy. Management needs to ensure the team also have the time to make sure the social media assets, such as forums etc, are stimulating environments, where valuable conversations are developed and participants converted into brand advocates.
At one level social media marketing is all about getting your customers and your potential customers interacting with your brand. The following paper will detail this evolving relationship between social media marketing, brand recognition and customer-company interaction.
The key question is ‘why invest in the use of social media’?
If you allow your employees and other stakeholders in the value chain to build small groups on the fly, to work on a problem through social space, the resulting collaboration magnifies their ability to deliver innovative solutions. What if you can engage the customer in the problem solving? Where does this lead us in terms of brand engagement?
When the social media revolution started, the initial reaction, for many brands and businesses, was to use social media as a broadcasting tool. They started by applying the old ‘shout it out’ mentality. Many marketing professionals considered social media as just another communications channel. To them it was a place to post their messages to prospective clients and consumers. They hoped that social media would be a mass communications tool that would reach billions of people at a low cost.
Marketers need to understand that people don’t go to Facebook or Twitter to see what there is to buy or which services they may be interested in. They go to interact with friends, to socialise online, and to experience the attractions the social media world has to offer. Therefore, social media marketing needs to be refined in order to be noticed when the audience is not necessarily looking for it. The social media audience may however be tempted to ask you a question or wish to access useful information that will solve a problem they have. As a communications strategy, this is the concept that most marketers tend to miss.
Brand marketers need to take a 360 degree view of social media and consider how they can put their social media strategy at the centre between business, brand and the consumer. Statistics show that more internet time is spent on social media than on games, email, and portals put together. Brands and businesses need to take advantage of this and consider their strategy for social brand engagement, social brand experience, social customer service management and how this is driving brand reputation management, brand advocacy and brand loyalty.
The key to the above comes down to understanding. Those who focus their attention on their customers through social media will gain a better reputation and find it easier to broadcast their promotions as a result. Businesses at first, don’t see this, as they want to sell their message by shouting, or using traditional interaction with customers. But, it makes sense, once they realise the true capability of this valuable medium.