Finding the Opportunity in Being "Social" on Social Media

About fifteen years ago, professionals had to hide in shame if their corporations did not have an official website. Fast forward to 2012, and that same shame exists if businesses do not maintain Twitter and Facebook accounts in representation of their brands.

The problem, however, is that for as seriously as businesses take the need to establish a social presence, far fewer approach social networks from a standpoint consistent with their truest opportunities.

"We actually call Twitter a signaling tactic," explains Kim Celestre, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, in this exclusive Customer Management IQ Podcast. "You’re pushing messages out."

She adds, "For our definition of social media, social really gets down to the interactions and the conversations. It’s a two-way conversation, it’s not a broadcast tactic."

To quote Morrissey and The Smiths, "stop me if think that you’ve heard this one before." Customer Management IQ has intently covered business’ refusal to go "social" on social media, and yet the mistakes persist. People continue approaching Twitter and Facebook as "freebie marketing opportunities" rather than customer interaction forums, and the result is a whole lot of push and not nearly enough pull.

And though the philosophy driving brands’ Twitter and Facebook strategies need to change, an obvious—and yet somehow startling—reality is that many potential customers, particularly in B2B, are not using these channels for brand interactions or product education.

"One of the common mistakes we’ve seen is [businesses] assuming their customers even go to Facebook and Twitter in the first place when they are going through their purchasing cycles," explains Celestre. "If a business really wants to use social media tactics to impact a prospective buyer’s purchasing decision, it is critical to understand where their buyers go through each of the stages."

Throughout this podcast, Celestre explains where it is that these buyers go, sharing battle-tested philosophies and strategies for establishing customer communities along the way.

She does not, however, neglect Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and explains how they, too, can be leveraged as part of a more effective social media approach.

And if you like what she has to say, you’ll want to check out her presentation at the Customer Experience in Social Media event, taking place July 30-August 1 in San Francisco!