This is a Time for Leaders to Lead not React by briansolis


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									This is a Time for Leaders to Lead not React
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed book on social business Engage!

If you’re reacting, someone else defines what you’re going to do, rather than defining
what people need to do.

Your businesses faces great change. This statement is true about customers,
competitors, and everyone else affecting market behavior. The question is, what are
you going to do about it?

Customer engagement, and specifically customer engagement in social media offers
many benefits that businesses are starting to uncover, most of it unintentionally. While
many champions knew in their gut that social media offered business value, to what
extent is now something that is becoming a primary focus in 2011 to 2012 budgetary
planning. From satisfaction and goodwill to thriving online communities to building
loyalty and trust, customer engagement in social networks is revealing tangible
advantages. Once champions recognize how to capture activity, document progress,
and translate raw numbers into tangible business value, social media will become an
integral and proven pillar in the foundation of not just customer service, but the very
fabric of business.

For some of you, I’m preaching to the choir. Perhaps this comes across as rudimentary
or common knowledge. But in my experience, social media is largely siloed in marketing

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
departments. And for those businesses experimenting with customer engagement in
social media, engagement insights and lessons are largely siloed within the service
department. I challenge you to extend the value of social media beyond any silo to not
just socialize the entire business but introduce new processes, systems, and
methodologies that makes it more relevant and adaptive to an increasingly discerning
connected customer.

The opportunity before us extends beyond Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and even in the
communities that exist to connect customers to one another in branded forums. The
challenge however lies in our ability to translate engagement into either direct or dotted
lines to existing business metrics. Yes, we need to look beyond what I refer to as the
3F’s (friends, fans, and followers) to prove the value of social media. But this goes
beyond just documenting converting numbers into KPIs that lead to ROI. This is also
about translating insights into catalysts for business transformation.

To determine the ROI of social media, programs must be designed with the end in mind
and compared to the performance of existing programs using existing measurement
processes. Additionally, customers insights and trends must be documented to
demonstrate the opportunity to improve customer experiences. For example, you can
demonstrate that social media reduces inbound call volume and thus saves the
company money over time. But that’s just the beginning. If you identify repeat problems,
issues, or trends, your next step is to work with the affected business units to create or
deliver a fix. Once this is communicated to customers through all available channels,
customers en masse will feel acknowledged and appreciate the businesses ability to
adapt to their needs and concerns. What’s the value of that experience?

As I introduced at the beginning of this post, using social media to react is just the
beginning. But at some point it takes a shift to not only react, but also lead.
Demonstrating the value of social media is our mission in 2011. In 2012, proving the
value of the insights learned from customers and prospects in social channels will help
connect disparate business units and functions into one connected and adaptive

This is about taking the perpetual switching of social media from on and off to on again
and evolving campaigns to that of continuum engagement. A connected customer is
always on and as such, an adaptive business must do just that, remain nimble.

Your task is not easy. The case must be made to leadership that there are material
benefits in embracing change. To help, I’ve assembled three videos produced by
Salesforce featuring my dear friend Dr. Natalie Petouhoff. In each of the three videos,
you’ll learn how to build the business case, how to calculate ROI and how to make the
cause for an adaptive business.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for
businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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