5 Ways To Integrate Social Media Into Your Company’s DNA

Social media is embedding itself in the human DNA as we connect and interact globally in an increasingly mobile social web. We have it wherever we go, on our iPhone, iPad or laptop.  If we aren’t connected we feel isolated, not in touch and feel like we are missing out. We are are social and the companies that we work for are social and there is a growing awareness that we need to weave the social media DNA into the fabric of the corporation.5 Ways To Integrate Social Media Into Your Companys DNA

The benefits include

  • Crowdsourcing of  technical assistance with customers providing  answers to questions from other customers on forums and blogs.
  • Leverage of your brand name through your content being shared on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube
  • Product development ideas provided on blogs by customers for free
  • Becoming aware of  issues before they become PR disasters

Companies that are operating like islands are missing out on opportunities to connect with their customers, increase sales, provide superior customer service and educate their customers with blogs, forums and online video.

One company that is integrating social media into its corporate DNA with great results is Dell which is weaving social media into its business in the following areas.

  1. Customer Service – Monitoring of online conversations and responding in real time. In 2005 Dell had a customer service issue that turned into PR disaster  and is still known today as “Dell Hell“. After this debacle Dell started weaving the social web into its DNA with online listening tools like Visible Technologies and Radian6.
  2. Customer Engagement – It initiated forums  and corporate blogs that have now grown to six in total including healthcare and education that are targeted at their core vertical customer demographics and that fix problems before they turn into a firestorm such as happened with Dell Hell
  3. Marketing – It has many Twitter channels including Dell Outlet on  Twitter (with sales approaching $6.5 million in 2009). Dell has also woven social media into the corporate website with share, comments and reviews permeating the website from the homepage to the product pages. Dell has created active advocate engagement through its Customer Advisory Panel that engages with power bloggers and influential online personalities.
  4. Public Relations – The public relations is better managed through its online monitoring and its active participation on Twitter and forums
  5. Product Development – Dell started a  blog style website called Ideastorm where they capture ideas from their customers and rank them and then implement the ones that make sense.

So how can you integrate social media into your company?

Image by kevindooley

Comments

  • http://@bluish_yellow Nick Green

    Isn’t number 5 just SalesForce’s Ideas platform, not really social media. When we used it at my ad agency, it almost seems to impede conversation, rather than make the bulletin board-style more social.

    You can notice that happening on Dell’s site, too. The top 3 ideas are the only ones that have more than a couple comments.

    I only bring it up because it seems that SalesForce has been pushing concepts like Ideas and Chatter as social media constantly to high-level execs. Meanwhile, the idea of social interaction is left virtually untouched. You can’t get your peers to read your post unless they’re looking for content on that particular topic. Which most often leaves conversations divided and broken.

    Nick

  • http://bhc3.wordpress.com/ Hutch Carpenter

    Nick –

    It’s worth pointing out here that studies show low interaction rates on Twitter as well:

    http://mashable.com/2010/09/29/twitter-replies-retweets/

    I suspect that will be the reality for any social initiative that goes outside people’s Dunbar Number. At that point, the focus becomes more crowdsourcing and signals, rather than interactions.

    Hutch

  • http://blog.sysomos.com 40deuce

    All great ideas Jeff.

    In regards to the other comments here, there is much more to product innovation than just creating a small site. Just by monitoring what people are saying about your brand in social media will give you ideas for improvements you can make with out actually soliciting it. I find that some of the best ideas come from the organic conversations people are having when they don’t think people are listening. Not all of them are going to be great ideas, but by listening you can get a good feel for what people are thinking about your company and where you may need to improve.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • http://www.radian6.com/ Lauren Vargas

    Spot on. Social should be woven into the very DNA of your company. There is no need to fight about where social belongs…the conversations/data belong first to your community and then every invested department in your company. This is a culture shift. As more companies recognize the need for guidelines to protect them and their community and see the value of these conversations, social integration will become the norm. But it is a journey…

    Lauren Vargas
    Director of Community at Radian6
    @VargasL

  • http://twitter.com/_DaleOD_ Dale O’Donnell

    I agree 100% with what your saying Jeff and I can’t understand why there is still some business’ out there that haven’t made the move yet .e.g Facebook, Twitter. It’s a big plus when you see a company interacting with their costumers online!

  • THLJess

    Great timing Jeff, as always! I have committed to teaching our entire staff how they can manage social media in their own lives because I truly believe that our best “marketers” are the staff that we believe in. We have a series of “how to” trainings set up – starting with twitter on Friday. Because our staff’s experience level on each platform varies by a lot, we are starting with “what is twitter” and ending with all of your fabulous articles on mastering it. I appreciate your blog and wisdom and completely agree with integrating social media into our business.

  • http://twitter.com/sudhanshu_80 Sudhanshu Saxena

    How about hirings, we can always see more of an individual through his social media exchanges and this can give a reasonable insight into how he/she actually is ?

  • http://twitter.com/JillBrown20 Jill Brown

    Great article, thanks Jeff. Our company of 5 websites has 3 lively Facebook pages, but a few others that are underperforming. And our Twitter is very haphazard across all sites (although penetration is small here still in Australia). I’m on a mission to upgrade our social media strategy, and this article provides helpful food for thought.