This post is part of The Executive Series which is written by Jonas Klit Nielsen, CEO and Founder of Mindjumpers. The posts are based on his daily work with passionate people responsible in the area of social business, executives from large international companies and thought leaders in the social business space.
Growing up as an awkward teenager I did not exactly dream about working with social media. Yes I am that old! However, I started getting interested in how and why some companies succeeded while others did not. From the outside, it looked a lot like a branding thing.

I spent ten years working with traditional media, but mostly from a tactical perspective, not getting to the core of what really made a business successful.

In the last three years, through my work with social media I have had the opportunity to get into the inner core of big international companies. I have learned a lot about what drives success and what the challenges and issues are.

Now the question is, why did I get closer to the core, now? This is because, in the end ‘social’ can create value for any company’s high level strategy.

The Objective

I always ask potential new clients about what their objectives are when wanting to use social media – often the answer is a number of fans on Facebook. In my opinion a certain number of fans, followers, visits to website etc. is not an objective, it’s merely a target.

The Value Proposition

The interesting thing about social in my view is that it is actually not a question about views, impressions, subscribers, fans, followers etc. The Value Propositions for social are a lot of other things like customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, product and process innovation, revenue increase, cost savings etc.

Let me give a real life example:

Company X wishes to increase their customer satisfaction. Traditionally, they have a customer call centre (outsourced, of course). They decide that they want to try to increase the customer satisfaction by being present on their Facebook page with a customer service team. They decide that they will answer every day from 8am-8pm having a max response time of 1 hour in this period.

The following happens:

– People start asking questions on the Facebook page because it’s easier than picking up the phone and there are no annoying queues.

– Some customers don’t even have to ask their questions, they can see the answers on the page when the questions were asked by other customers.

– It is like the call center – some are angry in the beginning but when they get help they turn and become happy customers. The difference is that they leave the happy comment on the Facebook page for others visiting the page and sharing it in their friend’s news feed.

– The numbers of calls to the outsourced customer call centre starts dropping. This is providing the company with a most valuable outcome: cost savings!

To sum it up: Happier customers that share the good message with their friends at a lower cost.

The High Level Strategy

The High Level Strategy for a company is often circling around objectives like increasing the revenue, the customer satisfaction/loyalty, cost savings or product innovation, both on the processes and business strategies.

Because social is so much more than tactical media, you will be able to tie your strategy for using social to the High Level Strategy of your company. You need to provide that insight to the executive level of your company in order to get their buy-in.

Take a look at your company’s High Level Strategy and when creating the objectives and strategy for using social – integrate! Get beyond the simple idea that is: ‘we want 50.000 fans on our Facebook page’.

It sounds easy, though I am not saying it is! It will demand thoughtful leadership, courage and in the end resources. The good news is that even today, where we are still in the beginning of the age of “social”, the web is flooded with cases and evidence of companies who have created great value by enabling the right social media strategy.

Easy or difficult? New or old news? Do you think I am babbling? Please share any comment or question below or reach out to me at Jonas@mindjumpers.com

 

  • You’re right – the web is flooded with case studies and examples of ‘good practice’. However, there is very little in the way of a clear, chronological order of events that has taken Company X from position A to result B.

    Are there any examples that you deem to be particularly useful for analysis when setting about creating a Social Media strategy from the bottom up?

  • Hi Douglas – thanks for your comment and are hoping you are finding something on our blog referred by @ChristinaBruun:disqus 
    As mentioned in an earlier post I had a chance to talk irl with Jeremiah Owyang about a research study they did at Altimeter Group. Interviewing 140 companies about some key facts on how they had enabled their work with social. I use this presentation a lot, it makes sense on a senior executive level. Look it through – hope it can inspire you in your work.  http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/keynote-awareness-social-business-summit-esmboston