5 Social Media Lessons Learned From Whole Foods (Repost)

Excellent review of the master’s strategies

http://mashable.com/2009/08/25/whole-foods/

Here’s the summary:

1. Make Content Increasingly Relevant

2. Go Where Your Customers Are

3. Loosen Control from the Top

4. Decide What Channel to Use for What Purpose

5. Let the Conversation Happen

Twitter died yesterday, what did you do?

Twitter got nailed yesterday like a 98 pound quarterback. It was so bad that it’s still spotty.  What happens when something so tragic occurs?  Well, I cried on my couch for an hour. Here’s how my day went…

First thing, I woke up and tried to tweet. Page Cannot Be Displayed. Arrgh.  Checked my connection and it was fine, so I Google “twitter down”.  There were only a few relevant results. Most of them from the past.  I thought, how would news be delivered immediately if Twitter is down?

Then I got to thinking.  So many people in such a short time have built entire businesses and marketing plans around Twitter.  It’s like the Gold Rush but more frantic and a little more stupid. Twitter is just a tool as is everything else. And clearly fallible.

How does this affect CRM?  Well, think about CoTweet, a great CRM tool for Twitter. Their business sucked yesterday. What happens to them if Twitter is attacked next week?  Great product, great company, terrible position to be in. What about all the businesses relying on CoTweet to handle their CRM needs?

The million (or billion) dollar problem is not accessibility and network stability. It’s using to few channels for building and managing customer relationships.  Twitter, Facebook, other social media sites are fantastic.  But they cannot be relied upon so heavily.

The promise of Social CRM is connecting companies to customers in the social networking space.  But that’s not enough. It needs to bridge the gap between online, offline, social, and automated communication. As well as sentiment and analytics of course. We need tools to help build better relationships all around. To transform fleeting digital profiles into real-live breathing loyal customers.

Thoughts?

Context Matters More Than Anything

If I’m a sales person looking for information on a prospect, I want the latest, most relevant content. I don’t really care about articles written two years ago. Problem is in current web search, relevance is largely determined by age (starting to change). Yeah and backlinking–which requires time to establish.  In the future, relevance will be about volume, proximity, and syndication (sharing).

In the same example, better information for me is a compound of all current/recent “chatter” about my prospect, where it is being generated and the sentiment behind it (dare I say Web 3.0).

More important is taking this “new” massive pile of information available and making sense of it in the context of the current user AND the current task.  CRM stands to be the center of a new revolution of real-time data aggregation, search, and presentation.

It’s a complex task with many moving parts touching on multiple scientific disciplines. We just need to be careful not to make things more complex.

Fight, Fight, Fight! Social CRM battle on Twitter #scrm #crmus

This week was bloody. There was savagery in the Twitterverse. And it was awesome!

Here are some of the more vocal warriors:
Prem Kumar Aparanji
Mitch Lieberman (added!)
Brent Leary (oops, wasn’t involved…but still a sharp guy!)
John Moore
Esteban Kolsky

I loved this friendly “battle” because it was trying to solve a problem. I don’t think it was solved but it sure was fun and got everyone thinking. Isn’t that the purpose of any great conversation?

The discussion was over the nomenclature for Social CRM.  One side said it’s Social CRM (#scrm) another side said it’s CRM Using Social (#crmus). Still others said it’s #ivehadenoughofthisarguementcantwealljustgetalong. I doubt the actual term matters much. Semantics are important. But cart before the horse.

Just a few days prior, everyone is discussing what social CRM even IS?  How can you determine semantics unless you know the definition and purpose!  One of my consulting clients is in the same boat. They’ve launched a new social platform for he medical industry.  It seems every day they are trying to come up with the terminology for the web UI. But most of the discussion is actually trying to figure out the true benefits and function of the platform!

HOW WILL PEOPLE USE IT?

This is the one question that needs asking to determine the semantics and nomenclature. The key to developing excellent terminology is discovering the user’s mindset while using the tool.

In regards to Social CRM.  How will people use these tools?  More importantly, how do they WANT to use the tools?  I don’t think there are any great Social CRM tools out there yet. People are integrating social tools and CRM tools. But it’s more than just a simple API integration. This new Social CRM era must be rethought.  Kind of like Google Wave.

It will be another year before these definitions get nailed down. So many companies are trying desperately to build tools that are effective and useful. But the market mindset seems to change every day.

Maybe the answer is not to build “new” tools but to look at the way people have been interacting forever and build tools that reflect those attitudes and behaviors.

Social CRM is about context

When people interact in the social world, everything is about context.

If I was having a conversation with a friend about the state of the economy and he suddenly said “pickles go great with peanut butter”, well, that would be weird.  Yet that’s what most businesses spend their time and marketing dollars on. The customer is going through their day with all sorts of worries, concerns, desires, dreams, and to-dos. The marketer comes along and says, “Look! A great deal on my widget that is totally unrelated!  Please buy!” No wonder businesses are falling apart.

CRM has sought to understand and refine sales pitches and processes based upon past customer behavior. But that method is old school. And alone, it is quickly losing effectiveness.

Social networking is 100% about what’s going on in the person’s mind–right now.  The merger of this is where the company leverages the social communities to discover the precise conversations and engage with customer right then.

I just Tweeted about a problem I was having with Hootsuite. My goal was to get a recommendation for another Twitter client to use. Before anyone else responded Hootsuite replied to me and tried to solve my problem. We had a conversation. And they kind of solved it.  But more importantly is that my search for a new platform virtually stopped. I’m thinking, “If a company is this fast and responsive with problems, maybe I should stick around.”

Key takeaway points:
1) Hootsuite was listening
2) They responded
3) They were personal
4) They tried to solve my problem
5) They started a reliable relationship

Consumers don’t expect perfection.  They crave acknowledgement and effort. They want their vendors to try and improve. They want engagement. Hootsuite won today.  I wonder how many other customer complaints entered the Twitterverse and went completely ignored?

Why Facebook destroyed all other social media platforms

Excellent resource from Nielson about social media trends. The best part is on page 10 about what makes Facebook so successful compared to other platforms.

We can all learn from Facebook’s success. Most important, as we create other technology solutions, this template is a good one to follow. Don’t try to break the mold too much. Use a successful pattern and add your own twist but don’t change it.  Just make sure the pattern truly is successful!

Original PDF report

———

Factors contributing to Facebook’s rapid growth

Design. An organized, simple and

easy-to-use interface – with much less

advertising compared to many of its

competitors – is likely to appeal to a

wider audience.

Broad appeal. Facebook isn’t targeted

towards a specifi c demographic like many

other players (e.g. StudiVZ to students or

Bebo to young adults) – ironic considering

that it started out as a network for

university students.

Activity Focus. Facebook is focused on

connecting as opposed to entertainment.

It can be used for multiple networking

activities – reuniting old friends, business

networking, dating, sharing photos,

status updates. Facebook is Reunion,

LinkedIn, Yahoo! Personals, Flickr and

Twitter all in one.

Architecture. Inventive features (including

applications, invites, requests) and open

architecture – including the masterstroke

to open the platform to applications

developers – have increased word-ofmouth

and visitor engagement.

Privacy. Members have more control

over who sees their content than in

many other networks where nonmembers

can access personal content –

a concern for many people.

Media coverage. Facebook’s early

momentum was given a huge boost due

to the large amount of free media

coverage it received.

Copyright ©

Social CRM is Like Sex

Great post by George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research

Title kind of says it all!