How to Monetize Social Media

Social media is many things to many people. Officially, social media is “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction and the construction of words, pictures, video and audio” (Wikipedia). From a business perspective, social media provides the unprecedented opportunity to aggressively move from organizations/businesses talking “to” their customers to talking “with” their customers. Social media intrinsically creates a conversation to be had.

Often times, the speed of development in social media outstrips corporate risk-management capabilities. In many cases, social media is making “legalese” obsolete – by the time a company can respond to what it perceives to be a legal or risk issue, the damage is done. Billion dollar brands can lose up to 25% value overnight …

Historically speaking, brand owners were once able to define the relationship that consumers had with their brand themselves. Now, thanks to social media, consumers (including employees) are the ones who actually define how a brand is perceived and what its relationships with its customers are. This has driven most organizations to realize they must engage in social media – in one form or another. Some just dip their toe and use various platforms as an alternate vehicle for the posting information, while others opt for multi-channel full duplex conversations that are building communities and driving corporate brand and corporate ROI. The problem here is the brands that are handling their social media engagement in an incompetent manner by inadequately engaging, slowly responding to customer needs and ultimately improperly utilizing social media to its fullest potential.

Social media — when used effectively — has the potential to enable:

• Public relations
• Customer service
• Loyalty building
• Collaboration
• Networking
• Thought leadership
• Customer acquisition

The biggest learning curve for successful organizations over the past two years has been that it is critical to invest in internal readiness in support of external market messaging to ensure long-term health of the brand and corporate opportunities. What does that mean? It means that in addition to shifting from “campaigns” to “conversations” on the marketing side of the house, they need to be investing in the
following areas to enable the organization to execute and maximize corporate returns. To transform your enterprise into social business, you must:

First, start with the end in mind – define clear business objectives & gain executive alignment. And second, establish guardrails with four critical organizational policies:

o Social Media Policy (defines how the corporation at large uses social media and expectations of employees – both in and out of work)
o Disclosure/Ethics Policy (helps set expectations with regards to what employees are saying – both corporately and personally)
o Community Policy (focused on desired behaviors of employees and customers in corporate social media communities)
o Privacy Policy (defines what the company will do with data gathered through social communities and if/when it will be shared)

Additionally, you must provide baseline training and empower employees to use social media tools – employees will either help to define and drive your brand or de-rail your brand based on what they are saying at work and outside of work. Finally, invest your energy on creating corporate advocates. In this way, you will create sound relationships with those who will promote your brand wholeheartedly.

Social media — as relatively new, bright and shiny as it is — has built its foundation on core human relationship interactions. In order to successfully use social media for your brand, you must follow some rules and, most importantly, use consideration for others and some simple common sense.

Want help monetizing social media for your organization or business? It’s what we do best. Contact us at looking@look-solutions.com, message us via Facebook or DM us on Twitter to find out more about how we can create a social media road map for you!

Photo Thanks To: Altimeter

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