The idea of being social is central to human existence. Social nature of human society (Etymology – derived from “social”) has played an instrumental role in the development of our civilization and with the advent of digital media, we are finding remarkable new ways of communicating, collaborating and creating wonders.
Companies and businesses have made a shift in their thinking about the role of social media over the years. Companies now recognize that social media no longer plays a supplementary role in building their brand; it rather plays a strategic role. Anything companies do, they should chart out the implications of their action in social media sphere. A great example of this can be found from this video by David Meerman Scott about Dave Carroll’s experience with United Airlines.
Businesses are now leveraging the power of the social media to engage customers. But what is the real aim of engaging customers through social media? The best marketing strategy for any business is marketing through customers. When customers talk about products or services and bring in more customers, all marketers have to do is to find more such customers. There is a subtle line between word of mouth marketing and customer evangelism. The only ROI worth chasing from social media is the ROI from customer evangelism. Ironically, it is the most difficult to measure. Or is it?
The most obvious inference to derive from this is that the aim of all social media efforts of a company should be to produce or create customer evangelism i.e. passionate advocacy of products and services by customers. This is illustrated by the following diagram (Yes, © Copyright here, I developed this!)
When a company relies on web content for establishing its brand, I call it content evangelism. Read more on Content Evangelism, Tribes and Future of Internet Marketing, here.
Sound pretty simple, isn’t it? What is more difficult to achieve is making this as a single goal of all customer service activities, spread across departments and at all levels of the organization.
The idea is to align the entire social media enterprise of the company to a single idea, i.e. engaging customers in ways that lead to customer evangelism.
The question then is how to go about engagement and evangelism? I will address that in my next post. Keep watching!