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Leading Edge focuses on new social models

New models for social marketing

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In another keynote speech during Leading Edge, Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst partner-customer strategy at Altimeter Group, discussed how successful companies are building new models for social marketing. Owyang presented a social business strategy adapted from psychologist Abraham Maslow's “hierarchy of needs,” with five levels: foundation, safety, formation, enablement and enlightenment. “Every company has to lay a foundation with objectives, policies and education, giving employees access to social media tools,” Owyang said. “Most companies are not prepared.” For the second level—safety—companies need to put a dedicated team in place and have a crisis plan, he said. For example, when a bad storm recently grounded planes, Frontier Airlines had a crisis plan in place and used Twitter to listen to conversations, respond to customers and send out updates. The formation level involves taking an inventory of all social media accounts—the average company has 178—and implementing a cross-functional plan across the organization. Many companies have set up social media centers of excellence to do this, Owyang said. Enablement, the fourth level, is often the hardest, he said. “Once you have done the first three, you need to turn the reins over to the business units and encourage them to run their own social media programs within the guidelines you have set.” The top level is enlightenment. “This is mainly aspirational; few companies are at this level,” Owyang said. “All employees are using social media in a safe and consistent way, using data from customers, employees and partners, which is all being integrated back into a central dashboard to predict what employees, customers and partners need.”
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