Excellent comments from Justin Kistner at Webtrends: “Having started by building social media programs with systems that I rolled myself to building out a global social media program for Webtrends; I can say that a big realization has emerged from what Jeremiah and Tony have been talking about. Businesses need to think about social media as a communication channel. They should be planning for it and evaluating it using similar KPIs as they do their phones. It’s not a question of if they should talk to customers, prospects, partners, etc. The question is how efficiently they’re doing it.
However, that’s not what businesses are currently thinking or doing. Most businesses are still sticking their toe in the water of social media and as a result have seriously under invested in the space. Large Fortune 1000 companies are gripping about spending $30K on software and handing it over to super small teams–sometimes a single person. Can you imagine if they tried to answer their phone lines with a 3 person team? Or a single intern?!! How can they expect to evaluate performance when the team is so under water that they can’t even think?
The reality is that if businesses want to be successful in participating in social media, they’ll need to allocate resources in proportion to the volume that exists for their brand. Small companies can get away with small teams. Large corporations will need large departments. They will be structured like call centers with IVRs, scripts, answer trees, etc. It will take a substantial investment in staff training, infrastructure, and rolling out business processes. Everyone in the company will have to know how to use the tools and different departments will be responsible for different pieces of the conversation.
There is wide spread confusion about how much to invest and how to measure value. To help, Forrester or someone should do a study comparing the amount of conversation hours large brands have on phones, email, and social media. That would help businesses understand the relative investment to make. It would also help them determine which channels are most efficient so they can push conversations to their most efficient channels. We’re deploying a cross-departmental, multi-channel, global social media program here and we plan to share the details for our customers’ reference.”