As social media continues to establish itself as the predominant information source for consumers, brands and retailers are finding themselves at the mercy of public opinion and looking for new ways to affect what is being said about them and their products online. This new paradigm of communication has paved the way for a number of innovative corporate campaigns, including “crowdsourced R&D” to monitor and extract new product ideas from online conversations, rapid social marketing response in an attempt to offset negative press surrounding a company and its products, and peer-to-peer unpaid marketing teams that are strategically placed to communicate and influence conversations with other consumers about a specific product or company.
Additionally, according to Altimeter Group’s Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang, there are five pillars of building a successful CRM program within the social media space; “the 5 M’s of Social CRM”: Monitoring, Mapping, Management, Middleware, Measurement. Essentially this breaks down into monitoring conversations about you and your products on social media outlets so that social profiles can be mapped out and connected to better understand relationships. From there, data is made actionable for management through effective processes, and middleware is used to connect to the consumers in the social media space. The final piece is to measure the effectiveness and impact of a campaign against a company’s goals and strategic objectives. Corporations are becoming much more intelligent in understanding the influence that organic, peer-to-peer conversations in the social media space can have on their business and have started to adapt their strategies accordingly; definitely something to keep in mind the next time you get a recommendation to try a great new product from a Facebook “friend”.
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