الرئيسية > Enterprise 2.0, social network, web 2.0 > Social Network Strategy: Customer Engagement for Competitive Advantage

Social Network Strategy: Customer Engagement for Competitive Advantage

Last week I have talked about enterprise’s wiki strategy, and this week I will talk about social network strategy. To start off, lets define customer engagement; CE refers to the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer- or company-led and the medium of engagement can be online or offline. In this post, I will talk mainly about using online CE for competitive advantage.

 

Now businesses realizing that social networking is no longer the field of teenagers only. In fact, the digital culture that created by social media is enabling the customers and prospects to form online communities, interact with others who share same interests, and talk to brands they care about. It is also forcing business to change the way they plan and execute their marketing strategies.

Most importantly, social networks have the capability of informing and influencing purchase decisions, as many participants now tend to trust their networks more than any marketing tools.

Example:

This example will demonstrate how Ford Motor Company chose a online customer engagement strategy to promote the Ford Fiesta, a popular subcompact model outside the U.S.

In 2010, Ford selected 100 “social agents” to test out the 2010 Ford Fiesta for the next 6 months. These Agents are social influencers, and selected  by their geographical location. According to Ford: “[The] 100 agents are spending six months behind the wheel of their own Fiesta, sharing their experiences, and completing monthly missions to show you what experiencing the Ford Fiesta is all about, way in advance of the U.S. launch in 2010.”

Six month later, Ford shared some stats of the campaign:

– 4.3 million YouTube views thus far

– 500,000+ Flickr views

– 3 million+ Twitter impression

– 50,000 interested potential customers, 97% of which don’t own a Ford currently.

Ford VP of global marketing Jim Farley said “60 percent of the public is now aware of the brand, even though the vehicle doesn’t go on sale until early next summer. If you would have told me that we would have 100 vehicles in the U.S. … and we would have 60 percent brand awareness in the segment, I would have said there is no possible way.”

 

 

Some tactics to implement online customer engagement strategy for competitive advantage:

  • Set list of attainable objectives:

To be able to define the objectives, every business should ask them selves certain questions such as:

    • Is social networking the right place for our strategy and us?
    • What do we want to achieve? Brand community building? Lead generation?
    • Do we have the right resources to engage with online users?
    • How can we match up our marketing strategies with audience interests?
  • Younger staff to mentor the business social network activity.

Many business executives are not familiar with the social networking culture, therefore unsure how to get the advantages of it. So the younger staff who grew up with social media make great consultants that can be then integrated into the marketing plan. According to a survey conducted by the Centre for Work Life Policy revealed, “40 percent of respondents had asked younger colleagues for help with text messaging, social networking and using iTunes.”

  • Be Prepared for Damage Control

The open conversation on social network may expose the organisation’s brand to reputation risk, so the organisation should be prepared to mitigate or avoid any possible risk.

  • Organisation’s people as Online Community Leaders

Having People (such as: employees, executive team members, partners) as online community leaders, take social network interactions into further level, as they will guide conversations and encourage more participation.

As we have seen, Social network represents a dynamic and promising business opportunities, and to be able to catch one of these opportunities, business are encouraged to have social networks strategies that could employ to achieve the pre-set objectives.

References:

Engaging Online Communities for Competitive Advantage

Fiesta Movement 2 

Ford says Fiesta campaign exceeded its expectations

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  1. 10/10/2011 عند 10:29 ص

    Great post, i agree that the organization must be well prepared with strategy for damage control when engaging with online customer engagement. Exposing the organisation’s brand to public can be quite risky and not knowing what feedback they might receive whether its positive or negative.

  2. 10/10/2011 عند 12:11 م

    Nice post Khalid, to add to that, i think organizations have to find the right metric as a key step in their journey toward increasing customer engagement, which is useful for planning and measuring effectiveness. Thanks

  3. 13/10/2011 عند 6:21 م

    Great post and example on how to manage a successful social network strategy, I think you’ve raised an important point about reputation management. Since with social media organisations have to embrace the good and the bad – however, if they have clear protocols / policies in place to deal with these negative comments then they can turn these into opportunities – for example they can then earn more people’s trust by the way they handle customer complaints.

  4. zhuoranzhang
    16/10/2011 عند 5:01 م

    Hi, I like your “Damage Control” part, even though is not long. I think, after we consider the benefit of social network, the negative should also be notice. sometimes, preparing for risk or damage are much more important than others.

  5. 16/10/2011 عند 10:35 م

    This is one of the great strategy every organisation need to give it more work, because with the engagement of customers the organisation will gain 50% of the target they are aiming to get.

    feel free to drop to my blogs and check it out.

    Ryan ALHARBI

  6. 17/10/2011 عند 11:27 م

    Great post mate….
    I think you mentioned a good point of reputation management…

  7. 03/11/2012 عند 5:05 م

    I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have presented on your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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