Forrester Outlines Seven Things Your Organization Must Do Because Of Social Media

Forrester analyst Augie Ray posted a list of seven things he recommends organizations do to avoid the recent problems of Nestle and United Airlines. The list makes for interesting reading:

  1. You must be proactive: Nestle knew the palm oil/deforestation issue could blow up, but did nothing about it until it did
  2. You must improve customer support: Poor customer service now has the potential to do widespread damage to your brand. As Ray puts it,  “Marketers must view their customer service organizations as a key component in brand-building efforts”
  3. You must listen: It’s becoming more and more important for organizations to monitor online discussions to avoid escalating issues. There’s no risk – if you’re not listening to online conversations about your brand, you’re neglecting your brand
  4. You must participate: You don’t lose control when you participate in online conversations; you gain the opportunity to be heard. What’s more, it’s easier to address an issue on a central property than in a fragmented environment, which you may have to do if you don’t have a place to engage
  5. You must respond: As Ray writes, “how can you ignore damaging accusations that accumulate within your own Facebook group?  You can’t; inaction breeds frustration, annoyance and distrust”
  6. You must move faster: Responding to an issue in days risks the accusation of moving slowly. Expectations have shifted, and people expect organizations to respond quickly
  7. You must realize every employee is a marketer: Your employees can affect your brand messages just as much as broadcast messages in traditional media

I encourage you to head on over and check out the post in full.

How does your organization shape up? Are you encouraging your clients to move in this direction?

48 Responses toForrester Outlines Seven Things Your Organization Must Do Because Of Social Media

  • We tell this to clients all the time but you’ve done a fantastic job outlining the content in a simplistic manner with short, relevant examples. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dave,

    These are all key points, however I’d say these are all things brands should be doing in the offline world as well. I don’t think they are necessarily issues unique to social media involvement.

  • Number two is so true! Information can spread so fast, and it is so accessible that any kind of bad comment about your company can become a viral sensation. It is definitely crucial for companies to prioritize in customer service and effectively adapt to the way people are connecting and having conversations via social media.

  • Just think if more companies embraced #7 more often? Oh, the potential…

    Thanks for sharing, Dave. Great stuff, as always.


  • While all of these are spot on, #7 is REALLY spot on. It seems many businesses, especially larger corporations that are having difficulty utilizing or understanding social media, have the most trouble getting this fact.

    They trust employees to market to friends via word of mouth. They trust employees to market to customers by using the phone and email. But, when it comes to social media all that goes out the window. Suddenly they’re afraid their employees might say something negative about the company.

    • Andrew,
      This is true, but I think it’s because social media has a much broader reach than speaking one on one to a customer on the phone or chatting about the brand to immediate friends and family. With many “regular Joe” people having thousands and thousands of followers on Twitter, subscribers to their blogs or friends on Facebook, the impact is much more significant. Chatting as yourself is different than chatting as a company representative. Even the most seemingly transparent company is really more like translucent. There are always going to be things that companies don’t want to share. Just like one’s personal online presence, there are certainly things that most people don’t reveal about themselves. Fear of employees saying something damaging or embarrassing is reality. This may be a controversial thing to say, but not all employees are great communicators and social media is all about communication. I think the bottom line is for companies to make sure that all employees that have the potential for online representation are well versed in the company mission, message and philosophy.

  • I think that it is definitely more difficult for defining a clear strategy when it comes to participating in social media. However, there are great sites like SalesFuel that integrates with LinkedIn, so that B2B marketers and sales reps can use social selling to make warmer sales calls. Try the free trial and connect to 32+ million companies with in-depth profiles.

  • All great points, though the first point is especially important, and so obvious it’s surprising that it’s not taken as a given. The majority of situations that blow up are known about in advance and can be planned for, yet I firmly believe a huge number of companies don’t have that planning in place. That, linked with speed (point 6), means that if there aren’t some formal plans setup on how to deal with crisis situations then it’s always going to be very difficult to limit the damage.

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