One of the challenges in any business is to systematize operations and processes. It’s nice to be able to do something well once, but what distinguishes great from merely good is the ability to repeat that activity over and over at the same high level. I raise this because I’m not sure many businesses think of social media as that sort of process yet. Maybe they consider it to be jazz – mostly improvisational – without understanding that even improvisation in music has a lot of built-in systems. In any event, one company – Cisco – seem to “get it.” Here’s why and how it can affect your business.
Chris Brogan coined the expression “grow big ears” when it comes to social media. I like that notion since it distills what’s critical in social down to three words. It means companies need to listen – to put together ways to monitor activity on the various social media sites and to draw actionable conclusions from the data they gather. It’s a process, one that needs to be put together and run by executives with enough business experience and company awareness to make it productive. Yes, that’s a shot at the businesses who turn the social media keys over to interns with little or not instruction other than to stay active.
What Cisco has done goes well beyond that. As Media Post reported, Cisco, using Radian6, has developed:
…a rapid routing and tagging system as part of its social monitoring strategy that automatically opens a service ticket after detecting a negative tweet or post on the Web… Aside from complaints, social reports also guide the company’s marketing strategies for campaigns by allowing search and social marketing teams to share information. The search engine marketing team feeds keywords to the social team related to products and topics. In turn, the social team feeds search marketing new lists related to social networks they wouldn’t typically find for themselves. This allows the company to identify features and technology internal teams should emphasize to customers.
In other words, big ears that feed a replicable process. The process yields benefits (search keywords, features, customer service) that go well beyond being able to tweet out a clever quote or informative article. Even the most engaging social media activity pales when measured against this sort of intelligent back end. Something to consider.
How big are your ears? What’s on the other end of them?