Now how do we spend it?

In the past three years, social media has gone from being a novelty, to test and try out, to being serious business.  Companies are now coming on board and showing their new opinion of the true business value of social media by opening their budgets and allocating resources to social media use.

So the social media budget is there — which is great news — but now what?  Many companies will just add social media as another self-contained “bucket” in the product life cycle, but it needs to be so much more than that.  It is time to spill the social media bucket so it crosses all aspects of the organization.

Research: use social media for gathering customer preferences, behaviors and expectations… and let this information guide your innovations.  Your budget (and stakeholders!) will appreciate the financial savings from fewer wrong innovation turns.

Legal: consider the implications of social media use and make sure your entire organization knows what is legally appropriate.

Production: use social media to perform due diligence on your current and potential vendors and manufacturers.  Listen to their public customer conversations.  Look for theirBrand Advocates (they don’t have many?  That should be a danger signal to you!).

Customer Service: Use social media for instant and ongoing engagement with your customers.  Pay attention to them and address their needs early, often, and publicly.

Marketing: use social media to engage with customers, build relationships, and increase brand visibility – low cost, high return!

etc.: use social media as internal communication and collaboration tools. Everything social media can do for your customers, it can (and should) do for your organization!  Use social media to build relationships, to share information, to make announcements, gather data, and expedite innovation.

There’s also a nice side effect to weaving social media use through all aspects of your organization:  it gives you clearer ways to measure your ROI (and ROR!)… and the more useful and accurate measurements you can provide to the C-suite, the more willing they will be to continue including social media in the budget.

Don’t take for granted inclusion of social media funds in the budget.  It is up to you to prove the continued value of social media for your organization, so start now with implementing a 360-degree approach that crosses every silo and every platform. Go spill your social media bucket and start the integration work!

Originally posted at ZuberRants

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