OK, I know there will be lots of people jumping on this one but someone had to say it. Social media in my world is helping companies get “more of the right people talking more about them – proactively” – this is true Word-of-Mouth. Social media takes this concept and puts it on steroids – makes it happen faster, at a deeper level (because you can interact and touch your audience much more often) and at a lower cost than most traditional marketing.
So why doesn’t it fit marketing? Well, it does fit marketing, but not as good as other areas of your business. If you think about it, when was the last time you used word-of-mouth to tell someone about a great flyer you just received or what wonderful brochure this was or how great the direct mail piece is you just got in the mail – it isn’t happening. Word-of-mouth happens from a marketing perspective when there is a coupon or offer that people want to share with others but it is short lived and needs constant repetition – it’s expensive.
Contrast this with your Sales and Customer Service groups. These groups are designed to build relationships and solve problems with the customer so they can either help them to be loyal advocates or keep them engaged so they won’t move to the competition. These groups focus on “relationship building” not campaigns and promotion. Social Media shines in the area of building stronger and deeper relationships. It helps people learn about you in ways they wouldn’t normally be exposed to through traditional marketing.
Take Sales for example, they have processes and metrics about creating and building relationships – marketing doesn’t. They have a “sales process” designed to create a sale, then build the relationship deeper so they can get the customers loyalty and referrals. Their goal is sales, repeat sales, and leveraging the customer to create more sales. The good ones do this through building great relationships. Those that don’t are either in a pure commodity business or they fail. Sales groups should be demanding social media be built into their process and demand to manage the process and not leave this to the marketing department.
Customer Service is similar to sales but not as direct in most cases. But, they have the same goals in mind to build loyalty through their interactions – creating stronger relationships. They aren’t campaign based either, like sales, and they focus on the customer relationship and have the goal of maintaining loyalty and building advocacy. Once again, it is a stronger argument than marketing. So while marketing is relevant, it isn’t the best “owner” of social media – Sales and Customer Service are much stronger.