By Stacey Tomasoni
Most projects organisations implement are delivered according to a framework or set of best practices. These guidelines help ensure the project aligns with business needs and follows a deployment process that will provide the best chances of ongoing success post-implementation. The same should apply when beginning a social media program in your organisation.
With social media, businesses often jump into the water without a life jacket, forgetting they don’t know how to swim. Profiles are set up. A few statuses or tweets are posted. And then it all ends — either because there’s a lack of consistency in who’s driving the strategy and execution, a crisis emerges online that the business is unequipped to deal with or the ROI of social media efforts can’t be tracked. The result is a wasted investment —especially when you consider the potential reach, revenue-generation and retention of customers social media can help facilitate.
A more valuable outcome can be achieved through social media by following a set path for strategising, executing and then optimising results. This framework is called BITIL, which stands for Brokerage, Integration, Trust, Incentives and Leadership. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a social strategy provides organisations the intelligence to assess the relevance of previous community activity, requirements for future strategy, rationale of future spend and the allocation of resources. Below, Scott Ward, director of Datacom partner organisation Digital Infusions and the creator of the BITIL framework, explains how BITIL can help organisations succeed in social media.
Q: How would you start an organisation on this framework? Is there any one place you start?
A: “When building a social media strategy, the natural starting point is leadership. Everything else trickles down from there. Leadership fills in a lot of the gaps. You’re trying to figure out what you’re trying to get out of social media and the value you’re trying to give to your customers. How are you doing that and enabling it and how are others progressing toward that goal in the community? That’s the secret to figuring out ROI as well.”
Q: A lot of organisations think they need to create content from scratch before they start sharing on social media. Is this true or false?
A: “It can be existing content that you can infuse in different conversations. If you’re listening online, that should give you the topics of discussion for posting content because you learn what people are talking about and interested in. You respond with content from there.”
Q: Where does sentiment fall in all this?
A: “Sentiment is important, but if it’s negative, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. It’s an opportunity to reclaim customer loyalty. If you resolve an issue, the customer can be more loyal than they would have been without an issue. Negative sentiment is the biggest opportunity to build trust.
Remember that on social media, 90% listen, 9% respond and 1% posts original content. You want to illustrate to the silent 90% per cent that it is safe to contribute should they choose to. The 90% can learn from the interaction and carry those conversations offline. While they may be passive in their online activities, they are still on the engagement ladder.”
Q: How can businesses integrate the customer lifecycle with their social media efforts?
A: “This is the end user experience — wherever the customer comes into contact with your product, you want to be there. When they might call, walk into the store, have a transaction, then leave the store — that’s the customer experience. So if they come into your store and buy a shirt, you include your social media profiles on the receipt or a card or flyer. Encourage them to follow you online and upload a picture of themselves with their new purchase. You want to figure out how you can insert your social media activities into all of those interactions. This works for B2C as well as B2B.”
Q: What kinds of incentives work best in your experience?
A: “It’s up to leadership to provide the right environment and incentives. You should always thank people for tweeting, following, commenting. The incentive model for social media is called SAPS: status, access, power and stuff. That order is from the most effective incentive to the least effective. When you do things like thank someone for following, it falls into ‘status’ and is more likely to move them toward becoming a committed follower.”
Datacom GM Stacey Tomasoni and Scott Ward will be speaking at “Moving Beyond the Social Media Hype”, an ATA event that will focus on using BITIL to create an effective social media strategy, in Sydney on Sept. 26. Learn more information and register here.
Stacey Tomasoni has worked with Datacom for four years in a number of critical executive roles across the business. Her current role as General Manager, Australia has seen her lead large-scale operations across multiple sites, driving a number of positive business outcomes for both Datacom and its clients.
Stacey specialises in a number of areas, including rapid deployment of resources to respond to unexpected events, adoption of multi-channel resources, with a focus on self-help and call elimination, and using social media to listen, react and engage.