Social media strategy: what’s in it for the customer?

21 Dec

If a company starts to use social media to support their business processes they typically start to reason how social media can support their business goals, i.e. how can we get more revenue or reduce costs. In other words, how can the use of social media benefit the company! The paper ‘Social Strategies that Work‘ by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski in Harvard Business Review (Nov 2011) also addresses this point and shows that companies should not focus on internal goals only but should also focus on the social needs of customer,  so what’s in it for the customer so that they are willing to contribute content that is useful for the organization. Examples of this content could be feedback on a product but also shopping preferences and shopping behavior for example. In order to get the customer to your social media initiative, a company should therefore ask themselves how their initiative will help customer build and strengthen their relationship. According Piskorski companies should therefore ask themselves how their social media initiative can do one of the following things:
– connect with strangers
– interact with stranger
– reconnect with friends
– interact with friends.

So if your company is embarking on some new social media initiative it might pay off to do the test and see if there is any value for your customer in order to predict the potential success of the social media initiative.

Another interesting article that reports on social media usage and strategy is this one:

Culnan, M. J., McHugh, P. J., & Zubillaga, J. I. (2010). How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value. MIS Quarterly Executive, 9(4), 243-259.

This might be the topic of a next blog post.


5 Responses to “Social media strategy: what’s in it for the customer?”

  1. Peter Knol December 21, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Interesting read!
    Do you, in addition, know of any research enlighting on whát value customers are exactly looking for, that makes them engage?

    • rwhelms December 21, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      Nothing comes up directly. But keep an eye out for the book by Piskorski (Connect!) that will appear in 2012.

    • rwhelms December 21, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      Just remembered this one:
      Hoffman, D. L., & Fodor, M. (2010). Can You Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(1), 41-49.

      Not sure if it it really measures customer value. But it gives a nice overview of all kinds of metrics for social media.

      Currently I have a student that works on a master’s project to aggregate all these kind of social media metrics into high level marketing metrics. He is conducting his research in Munich.

  2. rwhelms January 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm #


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