Saturday, May 21, 2011

Media is not social - people are

In our course on social media we discussed why and how social media could be used by companies. We concluded that people´s motivation drives their behaviour on social media sites and therefore companies need to plan what and how they serve in different social media channels. We discussed that in principle same marketing rules apply as in other media - companies look for awareness, preference, purchase and loyalty but how they capture it in social media has to be planned based on people´s online behaviours and values. B-to-b marketing opportunities may be just as attractive as consumer marketing opportunities. It´s also clear that marketing is not the only opportunity within social media. Online channels can also be used for innovation, recruitment or customer service purposes.

But what I started thinking is what is the difference between service organizations and product organizations in regards to social media. If we emphasize the role of internal marketing and communications in service organizations, could social media provide enhanced possibilities for service organizations? In service organizations people are the ones to deliver the service. Their mindset and values need to showcase what value the company delivers. If social media is an optimal forum for collaborating, sharing and networking, could service organizations better embrace their employees for interacting with customers in a variety of ways?

The challenge I see is the barrier media in general creates. It is much more challenging for people publishing content in public than in internal channels. Therefore in service organizations we could utilize the expertise of people and capture it via various media but could create different roles to make most out of it. Some act as facilitators, some act as experts providing content. Could the service process be copied in social media: planning how we interact with customers throughout the whole service process, just doing it virtually?