Who should be running your social network operations? Who are social media experts? Do you bring in several interns because they’re young and know about computers and all that? Do you spend tens of thousands of dollars to bring in a consulting firm to put together your strategy and tell you what to do? The answer is quite simply ‘no’. The best way to accomplish it, is to look within your own back yard.
Find out how many of your people already use Facebook, blogs, or other Internet communication tools. Chances are they are pretty passionate about it. Now imagine if you could marry the passion they have with their own personal use of social networking tools with the product/service knowledge they have of your products. Oh yeah, find out how many of your most valued customers are in the space. Those are the people you need to be talking to.
This is exactly what Catherine Mitros writes about in this article on corporate social network adoption. I enjoyed reading this because I’ve always supported the management model to empower those people who are closest to the customer so they can make decisions to grow and keep customers. Remember all those lessons in Marketing class about the customer lifetime value? Well, if you’re a company that competes in the market place based on a strategy other than lowest cost provider (value added services, premium designs, differentiated service, etc.) then the relationship aspect of social media is for you. Involvement with customers through conversations, both electronic and face-to-face, keeps customers for the long term. Building relationships is what your sales and client support team having been doing for years. So why wouldn’t you use a tool that provides another way to keep in touch with your customer? And why would you outsource that or let an intern who doesn’t know diddly about your customers or business do that for you?