THE BLOG
03/20/2014 10:50 am ET Updated May 17, 2014

How Social Listening Helps the Red Cross and Dell

Challenge: Today's consumers are more connected via new media than ever before. To fully engage the multichannel consumer, companies need to leverage the power of social listening.

According to Nielsen's, 2014 U.S. Digital Consumer Report, it's critical to know how consumers are behaving in today's fast evolving digital environment;

» Americans now own four digital devices on average.

» The average U.S. consumer spends 60 hours a week consuming content across devices.

» Today's constantly connected consumer is active using social media anywhere they go. Nearly 64 percent of overall social media users say they use social media sites at least once a day via their computer, and almost half (47 percent) of smartphone owners visit social networks every day.

Dell understands the importance of connecting with customers across digital channels. They've implemented innovative social listening strategies. Eric Nystrom, Director Social Media Services Group, summarizes Dell's priorities:

  • "Listening has a major impact on nearly every aspect of Dell's operations beyond marketing and sales to product development, customer care, talent acquisition and shared innovation."
  • The outcomes of effective listening include: improved brand health, CSAT and loyalty, positive impact on revenue and lead generation, product ideation and predictive analytics and actionable insights that create value and accelerate overall business outcomes.

In a unique social listening initiative, Dell helped the Red Cross build a Digital Operations Center. According to Wendy Harman, director of social strategy for the American Red Cross: "We began to concern ourselves with scaling our social media operations and expanding the limited scope of what we listened to on the social Web."

Dell Public Sector Marketing Director, Colleen Ryan, saw the opportunity to answer the American Red Cross's need. "It seemed like a very intuitive thing to explore bringing to the Red Cross what we already do at Dell for our customers," says Ryan.

  • The discussions between Dell and The American Red Cross resulted in the first large-scale social media command center, with six large screens showing a variety of data, and relevant public conversations across the social media.
  • Staff member and trained volunteers monitored these conversations to improve response ability and anticipate the public's needs.
  • The social media program allowed the Red Cross to expedite their connection with people and get resources distributed during times of disaster.

5 Strategies Marketers can Learn from Dell's Social Listening

Eric Nystrom provides the following 5 smart recommendations:

  1. Listening is really at the heart of any social strategy and marketing; Listening to who's talking tells you who your advocates are, your influencers, your ranters and your ravers. This forms the basis of all relationship marketing.
  2. Social listening can impact every part of your business; Integrate social into all aspects of your marketing so that business value may be realized.
  3. Remember that the voice of the customer is strong; Listening should lead to meaningful connections and two-way dialogue that is authentic, honest and direct.
  4. Listening should bring you the information you need to develop your strategy; Avoid ready, fire, aim. Let the results inform a platform-agnostic, overarching social strategy.
  5. Listening objectives should be defined; For example: (1) Radar -- early warning detection (2) Learn -- learn keywords used to fine tune SEO/SEM (3) Track -- track conversations through lifecycle of campaign (4) Identify -- identify sites, key opinion formers and peer influencers for engagement (5) Support -- provide information or answer questions where consumers are online (6) Humanize -- humanize the brand by participating in conversations and (7) Connect -- connect with industry influencers and build relationships.

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Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-in Marketing.

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He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".

His 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 author of the widely read blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices", (www.erdm.com), and author of "Opt-in Marketing" and "Integrated Direct Marketing".

ERDM's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Symantec.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based strategies, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with customers and prospects of these clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high value customer relationships.

www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com