20160824 HyperConnected Disruption no text“The internet is a place”, Jeff Jarvis said some time ago. The web has become a place where people learn, act, react, transact and affect transitions in real time, and often as a group.  Social media tools make that collaboration possible. If you are just listening for brand mentions or just your social handles, in the words of many a great meme: “UR DOING IT WRONG.” Even worse, your risk is growing.

Sure, the first natural instinct is to tune social listening tools to where people are talking to you. It where you would expect the most engagement. But if you have a single department (or person) handling all of social media engagement, you are doing it wrong. Listening will bring questions that needs resolution by support, PR, legal, HR, product managers – everyone. And it’s happening where minutes matter: in a public venue in front of your customers, prospects, stockholders and competitors. It’s a bi-directional communications channel, but unlike the phone, there is a live audience.

It’s happening in front of your customers, prospects, stockholders and competitors. With an audience.

Simply, successful social media is a team sport that doesn’t care about internal silos, headcount or politics. Some days, it seems to be a full contact team sport. People to write awesome content, optimize the content, modify the tools, actually listen and engage in social, train others, optimize social media spend, and so on.

Imagine if just one department in a company had telephones? We do phones – check the box. That is may be what you’re doing to your customers and company. There a difference between being a social enterprise, rather than a company that “does” social media. It’s not “doing social”, but rather what you do with it that matters to people.

It’s not “doing social”, but rather what you do with it that matters to people.

Internally, your social media program needs to be as much about mentoring employees in good social behavior as business objectives. This ranges from how to use social platforms, being transparent and disclosing when speaking about your own brand, and the procedures to escalate an issue.

From experience, even B2B mid-sized brands can get as much social issue traffic from 7PM – 7AM as they do during the workday – sometimes hundreds of posts around a single issue. And yes, you need team members from across the enterprise on call, even with a 24x7x365 social presence. And for some reason, they believe you are local – wherever they are.

This is era of WeCommerce, to borrow a Billee Howard term. This is not like a phone that you turn off at the end of a company’s business hours. Rather one person sharing their pleasure (, disdain or disgust) about you to their audience, who amplifies it further. This disrupts sales because prospects who have not yet contacted your company already see your “dirty laundry” aired and not being answered.

I always get a big “but” when talking about customer experience and why we can’t fix a process. (And wipe that middle school smile off your face).

It’s time to think how the brand’s action or inaction make people feel. That will directly affect what they share in social media, and how they will vote with their wallet.

The good news is there is still time to get it right. If you had frustration with a product or bill, you may not post it on social media, but most people today, when reaching that frustration point, will post. Not being prepared to answer the post is not being prepared to answer the phone – if it was 1990.

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