I had a great lunch conversation with a friend yesterday about social media and its future in business. We talked about many things including what the future looks like and what businesses need to know to harness the power of reaching out and interacting with their customers in new ways.
The discussion led me to reiterate something I think is vital for businesses – no matter how big or small – to be successful and leveraging new platforms (i.e.: social media) to produce results for their business.
The crux of my argument: to be successful in social channels, you must have shared ownership of the interactions across the entire organization.
To many times I hear from colleagues who tell me that social outreach lives in one department or the other. For some it’s in marketing, public relations, or customer support. For others its in the obscure reaches of the organization where it is underfunded, understaffed and out of view. All of those options are not sustainable and usually show a lack of understanding or a comittment from leadership in the power of social business design.
Instead, a business should live with social aspects being a part of every part of the organization. It should live and breathe in all areas so cross-functional work – with the benefit for the customers ringing loud and clear. This means product development, marketing, testing, PR, customer support should all be at the table and own social media. This leads to better innovation in products, better implementation of social elements where they fit and a removal of the barrier between your employee and the customer.
That removal of the barrier between the employee and customer is vital. The only way businesses can provide a product or service that customers truly love to use or buy is through understanding their core needs. You can’t fully understand today’s consumer without that closeness and desire to listen.
While the hoopla around social media for businesses settles, one thing is certain: businesses who do a better job of weaving social aspects into every part of the their business will bloom now during the boom, and in the future when it becomes the norm.
The question is, do you have the ability to drive that sort of change through your organization?