10 Social Media Strategies for the Fortune 1000 Corporations

John Furrier, Robert Scoble, Jennifer Jones, and Jason Lopez myself and others from the PodTech crew visited Intel, one of our fantastic customers last week. While I’m not going to give away any secret plans or strategies, we all left knowing that only good things are going to come out of them. I’m noticing a trend among corporate conversations in the area ofSocial Media, this post below helps to summarize the current issues in the industry, and includes my Web Strategy recommendations.

The conversation has evolved…

2006 was about “What is social media” and “Why does it matter”. Business blogging, flogs, podcasting and second life were the hot topics.

2007 is about “How do I deploy social media”. Companies will start to integrate Social Media up and down and side to side in the organization, both externally as well as internally.

Social Media (Blogs, Forums, Wikis, Podcasts, Video blogs and other tools) are appearing in every industry. Below are my 10 strategic themes for 2007.

10 Social Media Strategies for the Fortune 1000 Corporations:

1) Social Media is about people. Customers and Prospects and Partners are connecting, sharing and growing with each other, never forget this. Do it authentically, openly, and knowing the world is watching. Prospects trust consumers more than you, now they are talking to each other using Social Media tools.

2) Communities are the goal, conversations are the verb. Social Media can be used to reach and connect with customers, you can participate in communities. An obvious output of this community are the digital and real life conversations that will manifest. You can read, join, and even measure those conversations, this is your currency.

3) Let go to gain more. The participants of these tools are in charge, typically customers are using these tools long before corporate types do. Thereby, you must participate to be in charge. The more a corporation controls the less effective this will be.

Measurement will be important. It will be important to measure the interaction between people. Such terms such as Engagement, Participation, and Attention are rising. Qualitative responses that happen are what is important, not page views or downloads. Teach executives that Web Marketing has left the corporate .com site and has now spread globally and to small islands of conversations. I’ll be on the forefront of this industry need, stay with me, I’ll be your resource.

Organize internally. As much focus on internal communication about community should empower a fast, coordinated response. Some employees will be more passionate about one area over others, reward them, and support them.

Risk of the unknown. Human conversations are great, you never know where they will turn. For companies that are very logical, planned and methodical there is some elements of the unknown. One thing is for sure, the more you get involved with a conversation in the start, the less risk you’ll have over time.

Social Media goes deep in the organization. This tool will change how executives communicate to employees and the public. Support teams will start to engage customers using social media, Middle Management will integrate these tools into program plans, and the rank and file will often be first generation adopters, it’s often bottom up and distributed. Social media is already beginning to be a line item in the 2007 budget.

Social Media goes wide in the organization. It’s not just about Marketing or PR, the Internet, Extranet and the Intranet will be impacted. You can reduce support costs, build better products with engineering in near-real time. Decrease the sales cycle through education, and even reduce recruiting costs and attract the top talent. This web by nature is global, there are more Chinese internet users than all of North America, and for some time, Japanese is a more common language in blogs than English.

Social Media spans time. Savvy companies are learning how to use these tools across all phases of the customer life cycle. Awareness, engagement, education, pitch, negotiation, deployment, support, product research, customer feedback, market and competitive intelligence, and then repeat. This public conversation will be archived through as long as the internet is accessible. Google is the memory.

Social Media is not magic nor voodoo. Use these tools to open and reach out, use these great web tools to reach and connect to customers, everyone can contribute. Learn the tools, experiment internally. This is Web Strategy.

Who am I? I deployed a Community Marketing program using Social Media tools at Hitachi Data Systems, my former employer. I’m now a consultant, available for hire at Podtech, I help our clients understand and deploy Social Media to connect with customers.

Update: You can use Technorati to see all the blogs linking to this post, I changed the URL of my post seconds after the initial publication, since then, my trackbacks don’t seem to be working as usual in the comments section.

If you found this post helpful, also see Corporate Podcasting Strategies for 2007.