Yeah, yeah, social media is still trendy and we all wish people would stop singling it out as anything other than another tool in the customer relations and marketing toolbox. But utilizing this tool effectively is still crucial to quality customer interaction. And what better way for a business to make a royal, social media mess of things? By not having a social media policy.
I would like to make the argument that any company, however small or large, in whichever type of business it may be, needs to have a social media policy of some kind.
Now certainly a one-man business or small shop shouldn’t waste their time writing an elaborate 20 page document covering every single aspect of every possible social media platform available. But they do need to evaluate how their employees are going to conduct themselves across various platforms as representatives of the company. Even if that means a simple paragraph in the employee handbook.
What is important to understand is the scope and penetration of company related social media interaction. For example, as the marketing director, I try to weigh each item I post anywhere against how I might be perceived as a spokesman for Big Bang. Even on accounts that have no direct tie to the company, I still consciously conduct myself as if the person reading what I typed knew I worked for Big Bang and what it was all about. This is largely because I spread Big Bang information all over on a daily basis.
But what about the person who isn’t responsible for external media, like one of our software developers. Well Big Bang’s short little two-page social media policy breaks it down two ways. First, if the individual does not have their work email, work url or any other work related items tied to any of their social media accounts, then they may conduct themselves however they wish. If however, they do have information available for public consumption that indicates their affiliation with Big Bang, they need to conduct themselves accordingly.
The extent to which a company manages and enforces social media policy is typically based on the scale of effect that an individual's personal social media presence can have on the company's brand and image. For Big Bang, we simply want represent ourselves ethically and with common sense, to offer honest and transparent insight into our brand and protect its integrity. And if we make a mistake, to be honest about that as well.
For us, and what I think is the most effective way to institute social media policy, is to treat employees with the same level of respect and trust that you have in them to work hard for you every day. They already possess the level of pride in their company necessary to, with the subtle guide of a well-written social media policy, conduct themselves as brand ambassadors.
And if they don’t, then that is probably indicative of larger issues than errant tweets.
In Part 1, we left off with the question, “how can you make good use of such real-time information” from cyber stalking?
Ideally the prospect has been tagged and scored, so each new piece of information helps us steer them toward a tipping point, ours is a successful download of our Free Trial. For example, a prospect clicked on a Google PPC ad and from there completed a form on a specific landing page pertaining to product X. The next time the prospect visits your website, he looks at product X in more detail and exits on the video you have explaining how product X works in scenario Y. By this time, your prospect has established a pattern and the next time you see him/her visit the website in real-time, you can send off an introductory email containing the Case Study your company wrote specifically dealing with how product X works in scenario Y.
Talk about a content-driven, meaningful first impression!
Another situation in which stalking your prospect can pay off might be if sales has already established communication with a prospect, but they have expressed reluctance to speak with the salesperson. The prospect may have even told sales to take a hike-they aren’t interested. How interesting would it be if a week or two later sales notices this very prospect download a white paper or visit the website. It’s pretty obvious the prospect is still interested, but definitely prefers the hands off approach.
Yet another example might be relevant to the support team. If support is currently working on a case for a customer, but work is in progress, and the support person notices that the customer is visiting the knowledge base, he/she can touch base with the customer to see if there is an additional issue or more information is needed.
These are just a few ways that real-time cyber stalking can be beneficial. What it all boils down to is yet another great tool to determine what content your prospect and customers need to convert them or take good care of them.
Any practical examples from your web tracking that work for your organization?
In my previous post, entitled, "Be Conservative," it's possible to interpret that as supporting a political philosophy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Honestly, I have to admit I lean heavily to the middle, and find the ridiculous partisanship to be offensive. Like most sane human beings, there are parts of both the Democratic and Republican platforms that I agree with. And there are other components, from both, that offend me to the core. The truth is though, you can run a successful business regardless of which way you lean.
Aside from the political conservative side, there is also the issue as to whether one is personally conservative or risk averse. Like the political perspective, this has little to do with the potential success of an entrepreneur... as long as the extremely conservative nature can be curbed slightly when it comes to the business. A small business owner must take some risks, no matter how small, or the business will never get off the ground. An excessive amount of risk can lead to either quick ruin or potentially mind shearing success. Extreme conservatism will lead to a slow death, and that's really about it.
One of the things to realize as your business grows though, is that the perception of you as a business owner, may be vastly different than the reality. However, that's because your reality changed dramatically, while that of your friends and family did not. As the business grows, we begin to deal with numbers and decisions that others close to us can't fathom, and so what is perhaps a conservative, low-risk decision to us, can easily appear as a crazy, outrageous decisions to those around us.
I can't tell you how many times my grandfather has asked, "You sure you're OK kid? That's a lot of money..." when looking at the property and renovations we've made to our offices. The idea of paying over $1,000,000.00 for a piece of property is unfathomable to him because he never made more than $50,000.00 in a year (if I had to guess.) That's a risk he just can't wrap his head around. For Big Bang though, the far greater risk was staying where we were, in what would have been an undersized office building. In order to allow the business to grow, we needed more space, and this option cost less than our existing lease space.
Anyone that knows me, would likely not describe me as conservative, personally or professionally. We offer great salaries and benefits to our employees. We have a great campus on five wooded acres with golf and volleyball and disc golf. I have played poker in some of the biggest tournaments around, traveled the world scuba diving, and drive an Infiniti convertible. I doubt "conservative" is what friends and families think of me.
But in business, for the most part I am conservative. But that still means providing the support and materials my employees need to succeed, not nickel and dime-ing them on the small stuff. That means sending them to expensive training courses and tradeshows, so that Big Bang maintains the highest quality of employees. That means paying our bills on time or early so our vendors respect us and want to do business with us, rather than holding off payment for 45 or 60 days.
As Sue, one of our employees is fond of saying, "Make good decisions." Well good business decisions are conservative decisions, that are made for the good of the company, even if they look like crazy decisions from outside.
This post is the result of a humorous conversation I had recently with our sales staff. We are just finishing fully implementing a new marketing automation platform, Pardot (which we love-more about this in a future post). The question came up, “are we sure we want to stalk our potential customers like that?”
I answered, “absolutely, people love being stalked!”
Before you begin preparing your rousing rebuttal, let me elaborate.
One of the many slick web tracking features of Pardot is a web prospect tracker they call Lead Deck. Lead Deck is able to track incoming web visitors based on a number of criteria including IP address. This is by no means unique, but how they handle the resultant data is one of the big reasons I chose them.
So without detailing too much of the functionality, needless to say, this allows our sales people to see in real-time when their prospects are engaged on the web. If the prospect is unknown, there are any number of ways to determine a known prospect. They can immediately see exactly which pages they just interacted with and what forms they may have completed, or send them an email through our CRM. All of this data is tracked and scored for lead conversion.
When I first introduced this to the team, I told them that they should be glued to Lead Deck and the second they see an existing prospect, they should email or call them. I was of course being completely sarcastic, but the looks I got were worth it.
The conversation that followed was definitely worthwhile to have though – When and how should you stalk your prospects?
Much of the answer to this question hinges on business type. For a B2C retailer, connecting immediately following a product search may be completely appropriate. For Pardot, what really sold me was the tailored email I received within 10 minutes of researching their site. For our software company, and for many others, the need to make far more judicious use of the visitor information is crucial.
The last thing most web visitors want after leaving a site is a phone call trying to sell the product at which they were just looking. While there may be a handful of those perusing software who don’t connect what just transpired, they are far outweighed by the vast majority for whom the immediate response is cynicism and contempt for being cyber-stalked. That certainly isn’t the first impression we want our prospects to have.
So how can you make good use of such real-time information?
Find out in next week’s post.
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|About Adam Murphy -
Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.
|About Nate Bauer -
Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities.
|About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian
Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.