I can see lately a large interest from a number of clients in the Middle East and North Africa in the social media phenomenon. Our clients just tell us that they want to make use or be in the social media. We usually answer them with a question: “What do you expect to achieve from being present in social media?
And that is the key point, social media like any other media tool needs to be aligned with the organizational strategy, and its execution needs attention. Organizations cannot expect results by just tweeting from now and then or updating their Facebook page status. It needs dedication, like any other media channel.
An organization should ask itself the following questions: Do we have the resources to do it internally? Shall we outsource parts of the function? If so, what areas of social media should we outsource?
I was in a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last January, where our client -a large retail company- was complaining about how social media just wasted their time instead of doing them any good. Looking closely at their situation, they had more than 10,000 fans on their Facebook page and had a history of updating their status once every two weeks, with either incomplete messages or irrelevant updates, they even had a 3-month old spam on their wall. Now that is an example of lack of dedication. They have then decided to do something about it, and with just a little bit of attention, and a little bit of focus they have turned the 10,000+ inactive users into more than 12,000 active, engaged users in just a couple of weeks. Social media is very positively fast when you know how to control it.
Another example is a 5 stars hotel I have stayed in Doha, Qatar, where many un-addressed complaints were present on their Facebook wall, some of them were referring to tweets, and others were posted using a multi-platform software, that means they could also be present on linked-in myspace, foursquare and other social media sites. That specific hotel could turn the complaint owners into loyal brand ambassadors by just listening to, and addressing the issues; I personally became loyal to some entities, just because they knew how to handle one of my complaints efficiently and i am sure it has happened to you before.
To summarize here are 5 simple steps that you need to do to have an efficient social media ROI:
1- Align your social media with your organizational strategy
2- Treat social media as a priority by dedicating people and/or resources
3- Listen to your audience and engage them
4- Turn complaint owners into brand ambassadors
5- Innovate in your product/service offering by getting your audience’s feedback
Camil el Khoury