Social Media: Where's the Strategy?
While corporate participation in social media is increasing, many companies still do not have a strategic plan for its use.
There's a lot of well-deserved skepticism these days for anything associated with social media or networking. After all, it's really hard to attach any meaningful return on investment (ROI) numbers to most social networking engagements. And yet, clearly there is something potentially very powerful starting to occur.
To help businesses figure out what is real versus theoretical when it comes to social media and networking, Hewlett-Packard has launched HP Social Enterprise Services through which it promises to walk companies through the process of becoming a true social business.
According to Dennison DeGregor, worldwide CRM executive for HP, the process starts with simple social media sentiment analysis concerning your organization's brand that can quickly move all the way up to driving actual sales via social networking. But the real end goal, says DeGregor, is to create a level of transparency into the business that encompasses everything from the supply chain to customer service.
Today, hardly any organizations have that level of transparency into their operations. But they have to begin somewhere. DeGregor says that HP will start the process by bringing tools such as its recently acquired Autonomy enterprise search technology and the skilled HP specialists required to run it. For example, DeGregor says most companies are going to find that 70 percent of the social media traffic about them could be classified as spam, and only two percent of the remaining 30 percent might actually be a service issue requiring their attention. But getting in front of that two percent before it snowballs into an issue that adversely affects the brand can be critical.
While social technologies in and of themselves might never provide a measurable ROI, reinventing the way the business operates in a way that is fundamentally more efficient might just be priceless. None of that is going to happen overnight. But a few prototype projects should put the organization on the right path without creating a situation where expectations far exceed social networking reality.