"Ignorance is Bliss"... or so they say..
As a business owner (or employee for that matter), can you really afford to act like having a Social presence for your website isn't necessary? Maybe you feel like you just don't have the time, or that it’s out of reach, or too difficult to implement, or just too expensive to build and maintain. If this is how you feel, you're not alone. Many businesses around the world are struggling with the importance of, or even trying to understand what a Social Solution is (and isn't)...
Now we're not talking about Facebook, or Linkedin or maybe you’re stuck still using MySpace...
The Current Sitch
Today, unless you've been living under a rock, or haven't been staying current with emerging trends and best practices, you may think you don’t have a need for a business-level Social Solution, or maybe you think that you've never even seen or used one. If you've ever posted some text, a picture, or even a video on Facebook, you are quite aware of the power of a properly functioning personal Social Network. From a business perspective, what's great about sites like Facebook and LinkedIn is that they can help to develop your brand, but not much else. Facebook is effective at letting people know about your company's news and announcements. However, it is rather in-effective for offering some type of service to your clients, or for offering a constructive centralized hub for product-based idea exchanges between them. In addition, only Mr. Zuckerberg has access to all of the invaluable metrics about your clients and what they're doing on your Facebook page, and important user data like where they come from and what they all like to talk about collectively.
If you have ever posted an idea on a bulletin-board website, or written a post on a blog you probably understand both the power and importance of using a social platform for your business... and what it can, could and should bring you, as an end-user, in return.
If I Build It, Will They Come?
If you've ever tried building an application like a blog, a forum, a live activity stream, or a wiki yourself, then you understand the challenge and headaches of not only the creation processes, but also trying to debug, maintain and keep the entire offering centralized, free of down-time, and of course without any future issues or problems. And once you've built it, you have to maintain and supervise the different moving parts and all of the content that can get posted to it. If you miss a step in any one of these areas it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix, maintain and supervise the parts of your social "solution".
The Way It Can Be – Potentially
These days, having a completely centralized, seemingly self-maintained hub which can offer your clients someplace where they can reach out and have some sort of direct contact with the companies that they use on a regular basis is invaluable.
What You Can Do About It
Contacting a Social Solution service provider to discuss what kind of functionality they offer and how it could benefit your company would be a great first step. This will help you identify what points of growth your company could enjoy by going with a Social service offering on your company's website. It'll cost you nothing to get in touch to see how their solution might impact your bottom line. You would be pleasantly surprised at all of the benefits of having a social solution on your website:
- Raising your profile as an industry voice worth listening to
- Sustaining a meaningful conversation with your customers, and amongst themselves
- Customers actually prefer to ask for advice and listen to another customer rather than listening to reps from the company
No matter which solution you choose, price, quality and customizability should all be factors in which solution you go with. If you choose to build your own solution with different working parts, you can plan on a lengthy getting-started period, and a difficult adoption period. This is why a complete integrated solution will bring you higher ROI with much less headaches along the way. Your solution should be streamlined, and allow direct insight on who is using your social solution, what they are saying... and what new ideas they might have. If you’re not using all the aspects of a good social solution; a live activity stream, a place to share ideas (both publicly and privately), a page to share concerns or to look for assistance then you’re not getting the big picture. You need something that centralizes all of these aspects and something that will give you a backdoor pass to all of this information that is held so tightly and privately with those other social networks we mentioned earlier.