In this second post of the quest to find out what the leading social software vendors think of the future of Social Business, here is a summary of What Attensity thinks of Social Business.
Where is the Social world going to be in 12 months? 24 months?
I believe the social world will be heading further into mainstream adoption. Novelty of creating a Twitter account, followed by wait-n-see approach will disappear, and brands will be looking for a more systemic approach to engaging in social media, including solid planning and measurement. Analytics will solidify their mindshare position as they attempt to cut through the noise and deliver actionable insights for businesses.
Privacy is going to continue to be an area of focus for tools, businesses and customers alike. As consumers, we will continue to push the boundaries of what’s private vs. public, what data we want companies to see, and in exchange for what benefit. Private and premium publishing and sharing will become more popular. As businesses, we will continue to explore and define best practices in listening and customer service via social media, without appearing creepy.
Social will become even more central to customer service, especially among big brands, which will become better at enacting social service alongside traditional service. Businesses will finally realize that every employee can touch the customer and will establish better collaborative processes to provide the most customer value.
How can businesses not be left behind?
The best way to not be left behind is obvious: do something about it. Social media and social business are ever changing, so if you go into “analysis paralysis” and are thus late to the party, you will be ineffective. At the same time, be careful of jumping in without a plan. Figure out where you need to engage and don’t try to be everywhere – you can’t possibly be effective everywhere.
Start any plan with an objective, a list of actionable and measurable steps and consistently measure and course-correct. Create a social contract with your customers: if you are going to provide service via Twitter or Facebook, make sure to state expectations upfront and stick to this contract. If you promise 24×7 help, you need to provide it, or risk a backlash.
You also need to create an internal crisis response plan, and decide how you will activate resources in times of crisis, as well as in times of peace. You need to get all key parts of the organization trained and working together to provide value to customers, partners and others.
What is going to happen in three years and beyond in the world of social?
Social won’t be a brave new world, but rather a part of business as we know it. Those who didn’t make it part of their organization, will be left behind. As kids who grew up using social networks come up in the business world, social engagement will be a part of every day ho-hum, much like email is today. No one questions the value of email now, and no one will question the value of social anything later. Data deluge will continue to be a problem; more and more we will rely on tools and platforms that provide context and allow us to connect and collaborate.