Where is the expected added business?

Social media appears to be a new marketing tool. It looks like a new way to get closer to customers, win some more deals, creating a new communication channel. But where is the new business?

How can I turn it into an $800 Million business?
It was just a little bit too simple. And like anywhere else, there is no free lunch. But social media has a huge potential. It wasn’t just for fun that Zappos, an online shoe retailer was acquired for $800 Million dollar by Amazon. So what is it that makes social media work for some and not for others?

It is actually only one tiny difference:
For some social media is a new marketing channel, get done with it and go on with business as usual. Honestly, how could that work? For others social media is a whole new way of doing business with existing customers, partners and the rest of the market across all departments. Yes, it needs some thinking – but again, there is no free lunch. The latter ones are the winner.

Customers across all industries complain that the vendors, channels and suppliers they deal with provide a mediocre to lousy service, the companies are not approachable and nobody seem to listen. Businesses are so busy with themselves fighting the “business climate” that they seem to oversee that the most important aspect of getting business up are happy customers. Obviously even the coolest social media campaign won’t help at all – if the rest of the company does business as usual. If Customers complain about approachability social media can help to get the team more approachable. If service is a weakness, social relationships between service team and customer would be a great deal of improvement. If products lack functionality requested by users, social media is a great way to connect product management with the market. Interestingly enough, in none of the above scenarios a “cool social media marketing campaign” is the weakness or even required to engage.

How to solve the problem:
1) Understand that social media is a cross functional engagement
2) Don’t hire an external social media team but create a social culture internally
3) Keep sales in charge of customer relationships – but in a more social way
4) Make product development more approachable and listen to the market by being part of the social web
5) Ask marketing to help gather data and reports from the social web and escalate alerts inside the organization
6) Develop a strategy based on a thorough social media assessment
7) Engage in the social web with the goal to increase customer advocacy
8) Have a small team well educated and professionally execute the strategy

The Social Media Academy conducts a complimentary webinar this Friday Aug 14, with further details on the topic.

Since I started Twitter in 2007 I followed all kinds of people and over 25,000 followed and unfollowed me over time. I used other tools to get through the noise and a few weeks ago I started to unfollow. I am down at around 1,500 right now. Why 1,500? See further down – let me first say who and how.

Who did I unfollow?
1) People who have “I make you rich” or “follow me I follow you” in their bio.
2) People who still today have no photo up
3) People who have their dog or cat instead of their own photo. I understand you love your dog – but I’m not tweeting with your dog
4) People with over 10,000 followers and still follow more than they have followers. People collect all kinds of things, stamps, photos tinker toys – and today: Connections. Not my cup of tea.
5) If you didn’t tweet in the last 90 days – tell me when you are back – happy to re-follow if it’s interesting
6) People who basically RT all day long to stay in the game, I check carefully – some are actually very nice – others I just don’t care.
7) Random noise & Bandwidth eater. Now if you read so far, please read this carefully: I don’t follow if it is all about walking your dog. I LOVE people talking about there personal life as well – what they had for dinner and so forth but only if that is not ALL I read. I like the complexity of business, family, fun, personal, and what ever constitutes you. We humans are complex anumals and can assemble a social picture in seconds – challenge my ability to do that.

How did I grind through thousands of connections? I used a cool tool called refollow.com. It does it all. You can filter and slice and dice and then mass unfollow.

Who should NOT do this?
If you are follower collector, you shouldn’t do that because your followers will go down right away. Many who auto follow (that’s how you get many followers in the first place) have their tools also do auto un-follow – so you would loose all those who followed you automatically. In other words if Twitter is your follower game platform – it ruins your game ;-)

Now why down to 1,500?.
In accordance to Dunbar, an average human being is limited to about 150 social relationships as a meaningfull number. The limitation is our neocortex. But just a few hundred years ago we couldn’t fly, we couldnet lift much more than our own body weight and had many other limitations. What the industrial revolution did to our physical productivity – the social revolution does to our social productivity – So my “Axel-Factor” is to be able to socialize with 10 times as many as Dunbar’s number is – or about 1,500 people thanks to the social tools we have.

(XeeSM is my approachability utility)