The Social Process

A couple weeks ago I blogged about The Pillars of Social CRM after listening to a discussion led by Matt Keenan, Microsoft® Dynamics CRM Director. I recently got into a discussion with some colleagues about how the process of the social world works for businesses and why patience is easily your biggest virtue, but more importantly, how patience plays a huge role in social success.

I was immediately reminded of Matt's explanation of the social process, and although there are many steps, each step is vital to the process. By investing the time and effort in each step, your opportunities for social success should increase dramatically.

Here's a summary of the process. Feel free to let me know how, or where, your process differs, or if we're missing anything!

  1. Listen. This is how you can easily identify issues and trends. You can turn around and immediately use this vital information when it comes to shaping your own messaging. Once you know what your target audience is interested in, you can begin to provide them the kind of information they are seeking. By listening, you can talk to, and with them, opposed to at them.
  2. Engage. This is best done on a one on one basis once someone has "raised their hand" and demonstrated an interest in learning more, or getting more information from you. This can kick off your sales process.
  3. Amplify. Social, at its best, spreads your message and gets your solution/services widely publicized. In this step your audience does the work for you as they re-post your message to their own audience.
  4. Solve. More often than not, your audience has issues they are trying to solve. By finding the pain points your customers and prospects are experiencing, you can let them see that you understand their issues and present reasonable solutions.
  5. Innovate. Social is a great place to present ideas and concepts to your audience to see how they react to them. We can often have 'light bulb' ideas but they mean very little if they are not validated by our audience. Use your audience to create a community of people who are actively engaged in making what you do better.
  6. Analyze. This entire process is great but it loses a lot of steam if you don't look at your data and learn from it. We need to be able to look forward and see what is coming. One of our goals should always be to solve problems before your customers are burdened with them.

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