February 24, 2011 / by Becca Ramble

I have a very exciting job here at Visible working with enterprise-level companies as they develop, implement and manage social listening programs.  Every day I work with clients who are now finding themselves tasked with adding “social media” into their daily work responsibilities. For most people new to social and those more sophisticated, there is the challenge of one, figuring out how to fit it into their day and two, how to get their teams excited about this new responsibility.  The key tasks at hand are how to take the nearly insurmountable mountain of data that is available about their brand, their products, their executives, their competitors, etc. and figure out how they can use Social Intelligence to make it useful for them and in doing so, how to encourage social media adoption among their teams.

Ultimately what I find it comes down to is that each of the clients we work with within a company are individuals with their own job descriptions, business needs and goals and what matters to them is not the thousands of posts that are created daily but instead what that information represents and how can it help them do their job better, faster, smarter and hopefully more successfully.


At the enterprise level, I see many of our customers who are part of global companies but who represent unique business units within that larger organization.  Some of the business units getting active in social listening include those such as Corporate Communications, Research, Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Service just to name a few.

All of these groups have an opportunity to incorporate social media monitoring and intelligence into their work but often get overwhelmed at the sheer mentions of posts about their company at the brand level, which for most of these teams isn’t that useful.

At this point, if you don’t know what to listen for, even the most enthusiastic social media can grow frustrated and disappointed.   The reality is, you need to figure out how it matters to you – to make it personal, if you are going to successfully integrate social media  into your already resource challenged, busy days.  The key to working towards enterprise adoption of social media is it needs to be business group specific and use Social Intelligence to help narrow the volume of data so you only see what is relevant to your specific business unit goals and resources.

Start making social integration personal and manageable

The first step to making social media personal to your business group is to invest some time in understanding what your business unit needs from social data.  Essentially you want to explore the business questions you have that social listening will help inform against.  Each department and group within a company usually has very specific business goals.  What are the business questions that you would love to ask if you could create an exceptionally open, diverse and honest focus group of customers, potential customers, advocates, detractors, competitors, media and more.  By understanding what you want Social Intelligence to help you know, you can then focus on what you are going to listen for – this will help you set up your social listening programs to answer your business questions and you can keep it manageable in doing so.

For example: Customer Acquisition groups may want to understand how people feel about using their brand’s specific service offerings or pricing because they want to identify the barriers that their customers and potential customers see when deciding whether or not to use their specific products or services.   These groups may also want to see how people feel about that same information in the context of competing brands so that they can see how they fare against their competitors.   By thoughtfully collecting social data that maps specifically to these areas of focus, you can segment the once large social media data set into one that provides your team the information it needs.    For this example, our Customer Acquisition team can now create more targeted marketing messages, identify potential customers and brand detractors and craft a unique strategy that uses their very specific “social focus group.”

What if you miss something?

Sometimes though, people fear that they may miss something by only looking very granularly at social in the context of one business question at a time.  You needn’t worry.  The key to managing your “social life” is to look at it in ways that are manageable to you and your team.  Starting small or granularly will help you see social as a tool to help you get your specific business questions answered. Don’t worry, other challenges will follow and new social data needs will continue along with them.  Each time though, as long as you look at social media from the perspective of what do I need from it, you will be able get into your data, and get out with a more informed work group, and hopefully time to spare.

Mapping social media monitoring to your groups’ needs is the key

As anyone who sits within earshot of me here at Visible knows, one of my greatest passions in this industry is to help companies normalize social media and the Social Intelligence it can provide across the enterprise.  My now not-so-secret-plan is to see social listening used by as many business units as possible within an organization because I strongly believe that almost every business group within a company can use specific subsets of their brand’s social data to help drive their unique business goals, inform business decisions, positively affect customer experience and have better and more thorough research.

The reality is that the 30,000 foot view of how people feel about your brand is fine and a great metric to watch but it’s not going to help each individual team within the company with their work.  The key to success is determining what specific business questions your group has and then map your social mining to those specific needs – take a little time to make it personal, and then social listening will be something your team gets excited about and will be something that can inform your day instead of overwhelming it.

Tags : social media

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