By Angela Brutsché
If you attended the Digital MarketingProfs Forum held in Austin on February 2-4, then you probably met marketers from across the country who were surprised by the absence of Texas heat. Despite the chilly temps, participants filled the program with lively discussions on digital strategy. A session on “The Now Revolution” by Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert and Amber Naslund, Vice President of Social Strategy at Radian6 presented some tips on how businesses can better meet the changing expectations of customers.
How can businesses prepare for future success?
1. Recognize that Expectations are Shifting
The “now” generation has no patience for company representatives who need time to deliberate over responses to customer questions or concerns. While social media continues to help individuals become faster and smarter, most businesses still have a lot of transformation on the horizon. Businesses must become more nimble to meet the expectations of customers; organizations must make it easier for employees to respond quickly.
2. Monitor, Respond and Engage
We know the drill, but are we living up to what it takes? Listening to what customers are saying online is a great starting point. According to Baer, however, the majority of businesses do not respond to online customer comments. Companies that are successfully adapting to new customer expectations actively partake in conversations that are genuinely meaningful. Austin’s own @SweetLeafApril was there to share an impromptu summary of how the culture of Sweet Leaf Tea permeates online, particularly with The Sip blog.
3. Share, Share, Share
It’s more important than ever to ensure that real-time information flows seamlessly throughout organizations. By providing easy access to information, businesses can equip co-workers to become faster and more effective. Every person is a potential marketing or customer service superstar, especially if they’re armed with the right tools. Baer and Naslund say businesses should regularly communicate with employees about success metrics and issue resolutions so that everyone has the necessary tools to meet business goals.
4. Build the Appropriate Structure
Staff policies and guidelines are key elements that can better align the expectations of businesses and their employees. An Employee Code of Conduct that properly reflects company culture help employees understand what businesses expect of them. Businesses should also consider that specific tools are less important than the behavior expectation when developing social media guidelines. Businesses can give people the freedom to perform their jobs within a broad scope, allowing people to experiment…and be human.
5. Organize Players Strategically
While there are varied levels of social media engagement, Baer recommends that engaged companies develop a team of “coaches” who are responsible for the development and execution of social media strategy, but not necessarily the hands-on fulfillment. These coaches can oversee and offer guidance to the “players” who engage with customers directly.
6. Nurture your Culture
A company’s culture is the foundation for its success. While businesses have hired for skill in the past, organizations may look to hire those who best match company culture in the future. As an example, Baer and Naslund noted that the folks at ThinkGeek play Dungeons and Dragons every week. Maybe you’re not into D&D, but you get the point. Social media makes us evaluate who we are. Naslund says, “Social media is just as much a cultural shift as it is an operational one.”
The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster and More Social, written by Baer and Naslund is available on Amazon.com
Angela Brutsché is the director of marketing and communications for the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). She is responsible for developing marketing communications strategies that help strengthen the REALTOR® community both online and offline. Angela serves on the Board of Directors for the Austin chapter of the American Marketing Association and is active on the Membership Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).