One of the hardest things to do in social media is to find the voice of the organization. If you’ve been following this blog you will notice the writing style and structure will change over time as we identify our voice. What level of complexity and detail are our readers looking for? How do we convince you that we can help you overcome the challenges we are discussing in our blog. Do we clearly identify the issue that we want to talk about? All of these things go into shaping the voice of our organization. Right now we only have one associate writing the blog. Should I be writing in the first person singular or first person plural? Since, I am representing the entire company I try to write in fist person plural. When in the future other team member start blogging how will we handle this. With multiple people generating content what rules will apply to make sure we don’t contradict each other?
All of this leads to one of the most important steps in the development of a social media strategy the development of the policy statement. Social media is a very personal form of communication. That is what creates the value for your organization. You want your associates to be free to express themselves in a genuine manner with customers but you need to establish guidelines.
Brian Solis goes into more detail in this blog post “The Social Media Style Guide: 8 Steps to Creating a Brand Persona” The main thing to remember is the voice of the organization should be the same regardless of the medium used.
We’ve been thinking about this blog post for some time. The original title was “Does your organization need social media?” When we first thought about it we were going to write about how not every company needs to use social media. We know we are a social media marketing firm and we were going to write a whole post on why your business does not need to use social media. Probably not the best move but the thing is we want out partners to understand what social media and co-creation is and how it can help them. For many organizations the amount of time required to successfully participate in social media is not worth it. That was until the rise of @BPGlobalPR on twitter as a reaction to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
@BPlobalPR is a spoof account on twitter that makes snide comments while pretending to be a real BP PR representative. Last time we looked @BPGlobalPR had 151,945 follows. Now let’s compare this to the verified @BP_America account with 13,704. A fake account has 10 times as many followers as the real company. There are many reasons for this but one of the biggest is BP did not have a strong social media presence prior to the oil spill. BP’s last tweet was a month before for the oil spill. So like many companies BP had entered the social media space but had mostly abandoned it until the crisis.
This illustrates two important aspects of your social media presence. First you must build the goodwill and connections with your customers before something goes wrong. Second you must maintain that connection once it has been established.
Hopefully none of you will ever be in a situation where your organization is facing overwhelming negative press but if you have built these relationships ahead of time people will be more willing to support you. Building positive social capital with customers is not just helpful in crisis management it allows you to build loyal customers who will advocate for you brand. Maple Seed Marketing is here to help you develop a sustainable social media strategy that is easy for your organization to maintain and grow.
Update:Mashable has an interesting article on BP and twitters request to @BPGlobalPR to clarify that it is a parody site. BP and twitter to @BPGlobalPR:tell them you are a joke.
The focus of co-creation is the development of engagement platforms. So how do we develop the mindset of developing affective engagement platforms? A good acronym to keep in mind is D.A.R.T
Whenever you are looking at an engagement platform you ask the following questions.
Where / how can we improve Dialog?
Where / how can we increase Access to tools and information?
Where / how can we reduce Risk on engagement between both sides?
Where / how can we induce more Transparency?
The answers too many of these questions will overlap and enhance each other. The goal is generate new experiences, lower risk, and increase profits. By delivering products and services that better meet the needs of your customers. Using the co-creative mindset to engage with customers through social media will give your business an edge over the competition.
These first two post on co-creation are the core concepts that Maple Seed Marketing uses to integrate co-creation into social media marketing. To learn more about co-creation visit Experience Co-Creation Partnership.
Co-Creation of value is an organizational mindset. Although traditionally thought of as occurring between the organization and the customer co-creation of value can happen anywhere there is an interaction between people.
Before we go any further lets define co-creation of value. Dr. Venkat Ramaswamy of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan defines co-creation of value as follows.
Co-creation of value is the use of engagement platforms and an experience mindset to create mutual value.
There are two main ideas in this definition that need to be explored in more detail. The first question is what is an engagement platform? The engagement platform is the environment where the organization meets the customer. In the physical world this can be a retail store, a call center or anywhere two way communications can occur between the organization and the customer. In the digital world a similar definition applies anywhere your organization connects with its customers is an engagement platform. This could be your website, message, boards, cell phone application, blogs, email, facebook, and twitter just to name a few. A few large corporations like Nike with its Nike+ system have gone so far as to develop their own digital environments to collaborate with consumers. Co-creation is not only about developing the environment for the customer to interact with our organization but also developing and environment for customers to interact with each other.
The second question is, What do we mean by an experience mindset? An experience mindset starts with the voice of customer and takes it to the next level. By looking at the environment from the customer’s point of view but also from our employee’s point of view we can develop and engagement mindset. This mindset requires us to develop the user experience from all sides of the interaction to maximize engagement between the firm and the customer and almost as importantly the customer and the customer. This simple definition is the key to success with social media marketing. Historically marketing has focused on leveraging the core competency of the organization to craft a message and deliver a product to the consumer atÂ a price that maximizes the economic benefit to the organization. This is still a valid goal of marketing but with the rise of social media, marketing can do so much more.
Dr. Ramaswamy work on co-creation which this post is based has had a major influence on the thinking of the Maple Seed marketing team. We highly recommend his book with C.K. Prahald, The Future of Competition where the idea of co-creation was first discussed.Â Â In addition look for The Power of Co-Creation by Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouillar to be released in October 2010 for great case study’s on the power of Co-creation.