Natalie L. Petouhoff, Ph.D. By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

Everyone is A Beginner At the Beginning

So many of you came to the @CRMe09 conference where I spoke about the ROI of Social Media, in particular that derived from customer service. And a funny thing that happened there… Lithium had a booth in the exhibitors area and they had asked me to come and speak to people about my ROI model. So there I was ready to impart my wisdom. A man came up and saw the flyer on the table – it was for the Tweet-up. He picked up the flyer and asked me to tell him about Tweet-up. I smiled and said, “Well a Tweet-up is gathering of people that tweet each other- but instead of connecting in cyber space, they connect in person- to share, tip a few and enjoy each other’s company.”

He looked at me like I had three heads. I knew immediately I had said something wrong, but I wasn’t sure what it was. He asked me, “So this Twitter thing is a drinking game?”

I instantly got that he was new- like I had been not so long ago – to the world of social media and all its unique nomenclature. I asked, “Were you asking me about Twitter or about the Tweet-up. They are two different things. Twitter is an application that over 100 companies are using for customer service. A Tweet-up is a event where people who “tweet” meet in person and share food, libations and have fun getting to know each other in person.”

Once he got the clarification, we had a wonderful talk about ROI, about Twitter, about social media and where all of this was heading for enterprises. 

And that’s when it hit me. Once you are a fish in the water, you can’t see the water. When he said “tweet-up” he didn’t know that tweet-up and twitter were two completely different things. It wasn’t so long ago that these words were new to me. And I realized that even though I’ve emersed myself and become a student of social media — not everyone is there yet. And that’s what alot of my client calls have been like. They have been asking, “Ok- we get this social media thing is for real, but where do I start?” or they say, “There are non-believers and I can’t convince them that social media is for real! HELP!” It’s not that hard, but it does take some patience and learning a whole new vocabulary – and a new value proposition.

Where Do You Start With Social Media?

You start by listening- check out my social media best practices doc for more details on that or the blog post if you are not a Forrester client and don’t have full access to the research… 

If you are the one brave soul in the company and have no money, no tools – then I suggest using some of the free tools — here’s some to get you started…

Simple Tools To Begin to Start Listening to What Is Being Said About Your Company



Conduct Google Searches

Listen in Blogs

Listen in Forums

Listen  to User-generated Content

ConductTwitter Searches

But if you do have a budget, then you might take a look at Visible Technologies. I had a great conversation today with Blake who heads up their Marketing. He was briefing me on their new release of their social media platform technology that.

They have a product called truCAST, which they have made into modular parts- which includes truPULSE, truVOICE, truSEARCH, truINSIGHT and truREPUTATION.

If you are new to social media and you want to take that first step- which is listen in the cloud- then you might consider the truPulse product. iF you have some budget – about $500/ month – you can begin to listen with some real vigor and discipline. And…. have a tool that does the listening for you- versus having to listening to each of the individual channels above.

Your organization will be able to monitor social media dialogues in one easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate web application. With that insight, you’ll have the foundation to take the next step- which is defining your goals and beginning to interact with customers in the cloud. And with that insight, you’ll know more about what customers are saying, why they are upset and begin to formulate a strategy around how you want to respond and interaction.

So here’s to Twitter, To Tweet-ups and to Listening! Three cheers to the beginning of something grand – listening to your customers! (and below a couple of screen shots of what you can see by listening!)

Learn. Share. Grow.

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