The Challenge: Social media platforms are crucial to building customer engagement, but the vast majority of marketers haven't incorporated that reality into their daily workflow -- with outsize consequences to their bottom lines.
A recent study by IBM found that while more than 80 percent of CMO's track traditional information sources, only 26 percent of CMO's track blogs -- to say nothing of newer platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Mila D'Antonio at 1to1 Media described the consequences: "CMO's who underestimate the impact of more deeply engaging in social media are missing opportunities to grow revenue, expand brand value, and strengthen customer loyalty."
This disconnect costs businesses money.
Last week, American Express released their 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer. They found that consumers who use social media for customer service are significantly more valuable than the general population.
Socially engaged customers:
• Are almost twice as willing to spend more for excellent service than the general population.
• Are nearly three times as likely to communicate positive customer service experiences.
But there's also a risk.
The flipside of socially engaged customers:
• They are over 50 percent more likely to cancel an intended purchase because of poor customer service than the general population.
• They are over twice as willing to share negative customer service experiences.
CMO's cannot take advantage of the opportunities created by social media -- or mitigate the risks -- if they are not engaged participants themselves. As D'Antonio wrote, "Today's CMO's Should Be Social Media Socialites, not Wallflowers."
Best Practices for Socially Engaged Marketers:
→ Establish Social Media KPIs
For too many CMO's, tracking social media is an afterthought. To break this pattern, socially engaged marketers need to establish Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) for every social channel they engage, and build an organization that optimizes them.
→ Track the Online Conversation in Real Time
Even if you're not on the major social media platforms, your customers are -- and they're talking about you. Build a rigorous process to track your online reputation in real time, even on platforms you don't actively engage.
→ Expand PR Beyond Traditional Platforms
Marketing and PR efforts must be closely aligned, in traditional media and new. Traditional press releases and media blitzes still have their place, but an effective PR organization needs to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.
Ernan Roman is President of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.
Recognized as the industry pioneer who created three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research.
Ernan was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
Clients include Microsoft, NBC Universal, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
Ernan was named to "B to B's Who's Who" as one of the "100 most influential people" in Business Marketing by Crain's B to B Magazine. His fourth and latest book on marketing best practices is titled: Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.
Ernan is also the co-author of "Opt-In Marketing: Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing" and author of "Integrated Direct Marketing: The Cutting Edge Strategy for Synchronizing Advertising, Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Field Sales."