Making Social Media Less Risky, More Profitable

    Looking for the risk in trends plays a key role in strategic planning, especially when you can draw a line directly to revenue. But the rub is that, in many cases, you can’t wait for someone else to draw the line for you. For example, a recent Ovum report, “The Importance of Social Media in Enterprise CRM Strategies,” gives a snapshot of the multi-layered risk management approach that social media use requires of the enterprise, without even using the word “risk.”

    The first risk to customer service and CRM that Ovum identifies is lack of understanding or support from C-level executives, and failure to see the need for any investment, no matter how small.

    From Ovum’s release on the report:

    “Margaret Goldberg, Ovum IT services analyst, says: ‘Social media often only requires a miniscule fraction of the seats and revenue required for traditional channels, yet it can provide enterprises with valuable realtime market data. However, enterprise executives are yet to see this value.’

    If enterprise leaders do not become more receptive to leveraging social media, they are going to fall behind and pay the price, suggests Ovum’s research. Leaders must seek help to develop their strategy in this area, otherwise they will miss opportunities to reach customers and access strategic information.”

    Says Goldberg, executives need to be made to understand that correct use of social media “can help a company position itself more competitively.”

    That’s all well and good in certain industries, but those slower to adopt are often dealing with risk factors of another order, in heavily regulated financial services and health care, for example. Where’s the balance?

    Looking on the bright side for slower adopters, the fact that early adopters may have sunk resources into short-lived social platforms could provide a slight leg up. And Ovum suggests letting CRM providers or outsourcers deal with the details.

    Resources available on IT Business Edge to assess risk and readiness include a free, downloadable  Social Media Opportunity Assessment Tool, for deciding where to allocate resources, and a Social Media Business Plan Template, which covers strategy, projects, branding and image.

    Ready to jump in to specific products? You can start with this list of five social media tools to enhance customer service response.

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