My former colleague Mikołaj Jan Piskorski of Harvard Business School has written a new book titled "A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media. In this interview excerpt from Forbes.com, Piskorski offers two important pieces of advice for companies as they engage customers via social media platforms. I highly recommend reading the book.
Brands often are too eager to inject themselves into
conversations about their product. Despite a brand’s best efforts, most
consumers are not going to identify with or trust a brand the way they
would a friend. To alleviate this problem I recommend that companies
focus on facilitating interactions between their customers.
The second issue is that companies often engage socially without
clear business goals. Instead, they focus on getting the highest number
of likes or followers, or getting highest rates of engagement. At the
end of the day, none of these metrics matter if they do not lead to
higher sales or lower costs. Companies that have mastered the social
space start with their business objectives and ask: “What is the source
of my competitive advantage, and how can I use social platforms to
strengthen it further?” Without asking this question first, many efforts
in this sphere end up having no business results, even if they create a
lot of engagement with their customers.