Live from MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum: The Now Revolution – 7 Shifts to Make your Business Smarter, Faster and More Social

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Feb 3, 2011
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Next up for me was the presentation by Amber Naslund and Jay Baer on “The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make your Business Smarter, Faster and More Social”.

Amber started off giving an example of being in a bad hotel. What do you do? The first thing you might do is ask for help. You might go to the front desk. You might call management. You might write a letter to complain.

But Jay added that now you can create a review on TripAdvisor.com via your phone. Jay showed a real-life example of just this same scenario. Even though the review on TripAdvisor, which is highly negative, is over a year old, it’s still not received a response from the hotel chain. It has likely lead to no more TripAdvisor bookings for that hotel, which could devastate business.

Every customer is now a reporter. There are four major challenges today that are new:

  1. Verification: Do you know the person even stayed at the hotel? Who is “Shawn12345″? Is it a competitor? We have little info to confirm identities.
  2. Contemplation: The motel has very little time to react because these responses are instant.
  3. Coordination: Information has to flow seamlessly… there can’t be many layers to respond to respond quickly.
  4. Privacy: Both clean and dirty laundry are out there for everyone to see.

As individuals, we love the control we have over brands. We have essentially created our own Frankenstein. As business owners, we have to pay the price for the same opportunity.

There are three things companies need to do to get a hold of this.

Objective 1: Faster

We have to move information through our companies faster. At one point, the telephone made business move faster. Then faxes improved speed. Then the web. Then email. And now, social media.

While businesses adapted to the other technologies, most companies today treat social media as a Yellow Pages 2.0. Build a new foundation by making a cultural shift that is shared and believed by all employees. We must empower our employees with information and trust. We can’t call a committee meeting to determine a response strategy for every tweet. But don’t just wing it. People need frameworks to work within. Have a social media policy.

We also need to hire different types of people. Jay mentioned ThinkGeek.com that hires based on cultural fit, giving them a strong culture. The first question ThinkGeek asks in an interview: “Star Wars or Star Trek”?

Objective 2: Imagine

Social media didn’t invent criticism, but it did make it easier to hear or see. All of the feedback is valuable. While people go to their friends, there’s information for you as a company to go out and harvest. In order to do that, though, you’ve got to really listen. Understand how social media integrates with your business-at-large.

This isn’t improv.

It’s about coaches, the booth, and the players. The coaches guide and shape how social media is used across the organization. Coaches are not necessarily executives, but they lead execution in their area. The booth is the back end folks who are impacted by social media. They’re not on the front lines, but social media affects them. It’s important and integral part to organization. The players are the front line staff that are the community managers or customer service folks.

Solid Success Metrics

There is no magic number as the ultimate success metric. The metric has to be focused on your social media goals — is it sales? customer service?

Imagine if only the coach knew the score. Far too often, people measure things but others never see the report. You’ve got to make sure the data gets pushed throughout the organization. Jay gave the example of Martell Home Builders in Canada. They used specific metrics to evaluate their success. They were paying very high commissions to realtors and most sales came from realtors. Using social media, they made a shift and were able to sell more direct and avoid more of the high commission fees.

Objective 3: Be More Social.

If you just answered and apologized, you’d be making progress. But you also need to be CREATING CONVERSATIONS, not just participating in existing participations. Build a presence.

Jay and Amber use a visualization called the “humanization highway”. Move from ignoring -> listening -> responding -> participating -> storytelling. Be sure to harvest and spread stories internally. Use internal social media to spread stories, then communicate those stories externally in your own, interesting way. Jay gave the example of Jared of Subway. People remember human stories, not marketing campaigns or taglines.

Amber added to combine smarter and more social by capitalizing on the opportunity economy. The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. Amber shared the Taylor Guitars story. United broke a guitar on a flight, and the passenger made a video singing about it. The owner of Taylor Guitars put up a video saying how his company fixed all sorts of guitars and talked about how you could take a guitar on board a plane. They didn’t address the passenger directly.

Jay brought up April from Sweet Leaf Tea, who happened to be in the audience. April talked about how she uses social media for Sweet Leaf Tea. They needed to address both positive and negative issues.

Jay emphasized that social media means more=more. Now, social media is a job, but soon, social media will be a skill. That requires that you realize you have an “unofficial army” in your company. Yes, everyone is a potential reporter, but everyone in your company is a potential marketer. Every employee brings their own network.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

There are changes of protocol and changes in paradigm, and we’re going through both right now. Every company will be social because customers will demand it. You can see that as a threat or an opportunity. There will be a new breed of corporate winners because they take calculated risks and put themselves out there.

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