Social media value chain: Learn the art of listening

 Years ago, I created my very own social media value chain mainly to guide me along my work around branding, identity and social networking initiatives. It was just a spur of the moment, curly creative, seminal, scraggly map which I shared in a post here.
social media value chain by henriette weber first edition

But you know what? Surprise, surprise…

Although I did not know then that this map would be very useful in guiding me through my consultations with existing clients and helped me clinch projects with potential clients, it was more like a trial and error journey. There are some highs and a few lows but, I learned a lot through my interactions with business owners and my tweaks in social campaigns.

I even published an ebook, “Rock Your Identity”  to spread the good news. Rock Your Identity is sort of a mini-guide on how you can elevate your identity in social media to rock star status. No worries, rockers, you can download a free copy here.

Here’s a quick model of my social media value chain, distilled through years of practice. This is what a social networking value chain look like:

social media value chain by henriette weber final edition

Today, I won’t dwell too much on everything that I discussed in the ebook, because I assumed that all those who have not yet read it will want to know what the hell I’m talking about. However a value chain of social network is something I deem extremely important in your social media process.

Well, I like to amplify more on that first step when you engage in social media – learning the art of listening. Yeah, it may sound simple when all you listen to are five-star reviews and glowing feedbacks. But how will you react to those big, fat zero reviews and negative feedbacks? It’s too sad that a lot of business has failed miserably in their social media campaigns because they are just not prepared to handle social criticisms.

Sure, they have risk management teams and PRs to handle these situations. But generally, these efforts are superficial at best. In the intolerant and opinionated culture of social media, they only aggravate the brand’s image.

In any case – you have to know how to use those reviews (positive or negative) to add up to the bottom line of your company.

social media value chain: capitalize on user innovation

But that’s just one side of the coin. The other side is just as important. Most companies, after investing much time and effort in engaging their most dedicated consumers, fail to capitalize on user innovation, when those consumers have improved the products to fit their needs. Really, it’s one thing to decorate those suggestion boxes with all the latest tools you can get your hands on but, if those suggestions go straight to the trash… Oh, what a waste.

The culprit? Most brands are just not ready to jump into concrete actions on what they are hearing on social platforms. It’s a needed individual flow, somewhat like dancing into the groove. How are you going to make those comments or those ratings a part of your brand?

Maybe they are too proud to acknowledge suggestions coming from the front thinking wrongly that their R&Ds, with all the glowing resumes and fat salaries, are more equipped to handle product improvements. Maybe they think that their risk management plans can gloss over their shortcomings and everything will be fine tomorrow.

Here’s the gauntlet – everything comes down to one essential question: how do you react to what you hear around your brand? And have you set up a system that gives you a hunch around what you’re supposed to hear?

Last week I was at a conference in Copenhagen (at Better Place and on a side note I urge you to choose a car with a purpose the next time you’re purchasing).  The ever-awesome Chief Happiness Officer: Alex Kjerulf told a story about Zappos and how they found out that the reason one of their clients hadn’t returned the goods she said she would was because her husband died. Later that day, not only did they pick up the goods themselves, there was also a gigantic flower bucket standing on her porch with condolences from the whole Zappos team.

Do you have an organization that would do that? Do you have people in your employ that simply implements this because of the brand’s DNA ?

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