I am about to tell you how to build an extraordinary and innovative social business strategy. But first I want to tell you an important story about one such strategy. This is a story about a business near my home … a landscape nursery business.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou
A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for two or three generations. The staff was happy, and customers loved to visit the store, or to have the staff work on their gardens or make deliveries – anything from bedding plants to ride-on mowers.
More details to study: 10 STEPS TO SUPERCHARGING YOUR ECOMMERCE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive happy people.
Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business.
In fact it was the other way around…
A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge, saying Business Is Great!
The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however was the owner’s attitude, and the badge saying Business Is Great!
Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, “What’s so great about business?” Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.
Anyhow, the Business Is Great! badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work, for example:
- the pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
- the reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
- the fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
- the fascination in the work itself, and in the other people’s work and businesses
- the great feeling when you finish a job and do it to the best of your capabilities
- the new things you learn every day – even without looking to do so
- and the thought that everyone in business is blessed – because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where we have no real worries.
And so the list went on. And no matter how miserable a person was, they’d usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.
It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another it’s probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, on which point, if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide:
The badge came first. The great business followed. And that my friends is the best social business strategy that I know of.
So do you and your staff like making new friends and building new relationships? This is becoming the most important element of a social business strategy.
Related post: Adapting to Major Changes in the Social Media Climate
Creating positive experiences for building customer relationships often will take some serious thinking. But hopefully not at the expense of the little things you can do to build customer relationships.
What is social business? Is your company a social business? If your answer is no, think again. It’s not rocket science. What makes a social business? Why putting emphasis on being social, of course.
Sometimes small actions or inactions by a business can have big impact on customer experiences. And it is usually due to a lack of an explicit customer experience strategy.
Here are some further thoughts on a social business strategy.
The fact is that social networks are facilitating huge numbers of people to share their ideas, beliefs, and stories – creating communities of influence. Social is now the top Internet activity and by 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.
Nick Blunden, Senior Vice President of Digital at The Economist Group describes social business as a mindset or a culture. Social recognizes that collaboration, particularly collaboration facilitated by technology, and the collective knowledge that results from that collaboration is a large source of competitive advantage for businesses.
Social networks are giving people a voice to share their stories – and ultimately be heard. People now have a microphone to share their experiences with clients and partners that want to better understand how to drive transformation, inspire innovation, build collaboration and create amazing, personalized customer experiences.
And when you put people at the center of the conversation through social business, the audience begins to listen, co-creation and collaboration occur, and most important – the community becomes engaged.
Social business … source of competitive advantage
Social recognizes that collaboration, particularly collaboration facilitated by technology, and the collective knowledge that results from that collaboration is a large source of competitive advantage for businesses. Moreover, social business leadership comes in all shapes, forms and sizes, as it smashes down silos and fosters connectivity and new levels of collaboration like never before.
Innovative social business strategy
A social business strategy isn’t just about tweeting and likes – it’s about something far more powerful. As Bryan Kramer explained in his book: “There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H” businesses are starting to behave and sound like real people dealing with other people, rather than “business” to “consumer.”
Example of social business … connecting and personalizing
It’s about connecting people – employees, partners, and customers – with each other to share knowledge, identify expertise and better reach customers. Leaders are using social business strategies, technologies and practices to make a significant impact on their businesses and communities. Using the power of personalized storytelling through social business, impactful stories can be unleashed into the marketplace – and shared like never before.
Customers today are demanding a more personalized experience than ever before, which leaves businesses working harder to meet these rising expectations. When used effectively, the rewards of personalization can be enormous – increasing sales and revenue, enhancing online conversion rates, boosting average order value, driving cross-sell and upsell initiatives, and strengthening customer loyalty and retention.
But even more powerful than personalization is a concept that marketers have been familiar with for years: real-time personalization. It’s not just making advance decisions about what message customers will see the next time you interact with them – it’s also being prepared to make fact-based decisions about personalized messages to create real-time, meaningful interactions.
And while most companies are beginning to understand personalization and even real-time personalization, others are taking this concept a step further to include personalized engagement, which, in social, is a two-way conversation.
They are leveraging personal connections and giving people a platform to tell their stories through social networks – exposing large numbers of people to other’s ideas, culture, beliefs and technologies, and creating communities of influence.
Social business ideas … amplifying connections
Customers have grown increasingly overwhelmed with outbound marketing offers, and consequently the effectiveness of traditional outbound marketing campaigns has significantly declined. The ability to connect with customers on their own terms, at any time, with any device can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. We already know that real-time personalization allows you to successfully:
Social business strategy … message relevance
To increase response rates of inbound channels consider maximizing the relevance of messages presented in real time.
- Improve each customer’s experience by personalizing his or her interaction with your company
- Maintain a consistent dialogue with customers across all channels
- Achieve better overall marketing results, including increased sales and revenue, improved online conversion rates, and strengthened
Customer loyalty and retention
But social business takes all the benefits of personalization and brings them into a very public forum. It gives people a way to share their insights with others – on a massive scale – and creates overwhelming value for everyone.
Tying it all together
In the end, it’s about social, mobile and real-time connections – and how those pieces work together to enable stronger connections among people. They can share more easily than ever, right in the moment, at any given time.
What companies need to do is live and breathe what the principle of social stands for – which is being open and listening.
Understanding how customers want to interact in the future – and meeting them there – will become increasingly important when it comes to interactions, and truly creating a sense of personalized engagement.
The bottom line
It’s all about wearing and expressing your enthusiasm and passion all the time, isn’t it? That is a true priority of running a social business.
Companies that are proactively managing all elements of being social to improve their business are most successful in achieving customer trust and loyalty.
Remember, customers create the most value for you … when you create the most value for them.
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Are you devoting enough energy innovating your social media strategyg?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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