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Global Marketing

Leading a Social Business

I came across an interesting interview from ADP’s CIO Mike Capone about his thoughts on social media and how a business organization can lead a successful strategy in this area.  While this communications channel is still in its infancy, and there are inherent risks associated with the free exchange of ideas and information between customers and employees, the benefits of social networking far outweigh the risks.  In today’s business environment, either you take on social media or it is going to take on you.

Rubix Cube

 Below are a few tips on how to create a successful corporate social strategy.

Establish policies. Identify and set guidelines on which social networking sites would provide the best benefits for your company.  Keep in mind the core focus of the site, its user demographics and whether the brand aligns with yours.

Educate users. Set rules about social media use and educate with specific examples.  Provide best practices and ‘dos,’ which will make employees’ social efforts more successful. Corporate social media guidelines should be just restrictive enough to keep people and the brand safe.

Engage in social communities. Be social. The premise of social networks is for people to interact, not to simply push a message out or shamelessly shill products/services without providing feedback or response when questioned. Companies need to get involved in conversations with their audience, and spend more time listening whether it be to  prospects, customers, competitors, partners or influencers.

Measure success. Social networks might be a mostly inexpensive way to communicate with customers, but companies should still track the ROI of their time and energy engaging employees on these sites.  Businesses need to determine the results they would like to get from targeted sites and scheduled activities, then analyze which ones worked best for their customers and brand.  The information collected, can then be utilized to drive demand and business decisions.

Be human. Companies should let their human side shine through and leverage the personal touch of social networking. Being authentic can go a long way to building a successful social media presence, and the potential rewards for increased audience and customer loyalty are great.

Social networking is a necessary activity in the course of business today, and it truly is a fantastic way to leverage communication channels that were not even available as recently as 5-10 years ago.  It provides genuine opportunities for real-time feedback, innovation, inspiration and ideation. In the 21st Century, companies need to proactively harness the power of social media, as one way to manage and grow their brand and propel their narrative.  Be Social. Lead Social!

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Global Marketing

Kill Them With Information? Why Lethal Generosity Works.

We have all heard of the sayings “Kill Them With Kindness” and “Kill Them With Laughter”, but what about “Kill Them with Information”.   That is the concept behind Lethal Generosity, first coined by social media pioneer Shel Israel in 2008.  Lethal Generosity purports that the people and companies who are most generous in social media companies are also the most influential.  And those who just promote their self-serving agenda very often fail.  By being more generous to customers (e.g. posting the most tips, links, advice, case studies, best practices that followers find useful) than their competitors, a company can essentially eclipse them in the eyes of people who would buy or recommend their products or services.

Generosity Image Hands_Money

With the proliferation of media channels and content providers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to cut through the clutter, grab the attention of their target audience and communicate the value proposition of their products and/or services.  The effectiveness of traditional TV, radio and print communication has diminished, and been supplanted by internet and the ubiquitous nature of social media.  It is no longer enough to tell people about your products/services, companies must be seen as genuine, credible and authoritative in their area(s) of expertise.

By freely giving away their expertise and educating customers, companies can be positioned as the leading expert in an industry.  This in turn can help solidify the relationship between brand and consumer, and make it exceedingly difficult for any other product, or competitive service to displace this bond.

An example of Lethal Generosity can be seen through a data storage community set up by Hitachi Data Systems as a wiki that became very active.  Interestingly, the site was not branded as an HDS wiki, but rather opened up to the entire data storage community including other vendors, as well as customers, analysts, press and the like. Out of this anonymous act of generosity came a fascinating, but unsurprising development, the community recognized HDS’ contribution and the motives behind it and started calling the site “the HDS wiki”.  The end result was that HDS was seen as the thought leader and in Shel Israel’s words: “Every time a competitor joined into the wiki conversation, it re-enforced Hitachi’s leadership.” If they did not join, the competitor was visibly boycotting a place customers found valuable.

“In social media, the best way to beat the competition is to be more generous with anything that your customer values and keep their agenda at the heart of everything your company does online.” – Stan Woods

Keep Killing Them With Lethal Generosity!