So, you don't get social huh? You're not seeing the return the guru promised in his blog post? Don't worry, you're not alone. One of the biggest reasons for social failure is that most businesses use it as a bolt on. That is, they just attach it to whatever it is that they are doing and pray that's enough. I'm here to tell you that it's not. Even if the "campaign" works where do you go from there? How are you engaging your community? What if your customers find out that you're not really like you're trying to portray yourself in your online social circles? What then?
The answer? All sorts of bad things. Social media can't overcome a bad product, bad customer service, employee apathy or bad attitudes. In fact, if you really want to take a hit to your reputation, (and who wants to do that) hire a crack social engagement team that portrays you as a wonderful, people first business, only to continue to do businesses the opposite. Talk about false advertising! How many bad reviews do you think you'd get then? What would that do to your business?
So, how should you be using social marketing for your business? Easy, you should sprinkle it throughout your entire operation from front end sales and marketing to fulfillment and follow-up. Social should never be bolted on to what you are doing, instead, it must be integrated into who you are, into who the business is.
So, are you looking for a way to take NO HITS to your reputation? By following the NO HITS method of developing a social business you will be way ahead of most other businesses. Before I get into the method I'd like to take a moment and mention that the acronym NO HITS first started out as NO SHIT, as in NO SHIT, this is how you build a social businesses. The idea behind the acronym goes to my good friend Nancy Simmons, co-founder of the social change network for auto dealerships, TruePro.org. So, in order to keep it clean we will be using NO HITS.
So what does NO HITS stand for? New Order = Honesty + Integrity + Transparency + Synergy
What is this New Order I'm referring to? The new social order. The more honest, integrity driven, transparent, synergistic version of business. Lets unpack this a little so that you can get a deeper understanding of what I'm talking about.
If you want to see success from your social marketing endeavors it's very important that you understand that social marketing isn't a campaign, it's a way of doing business. It starts at the very top (leader driven) and is part of the culture of your business. It's part of sales and marketing, even the file clerks and janitors understand the importance of NO HITS because it's part of the day to day life of the business.
Dishonesty (even perceived dishonesty) has ruined the reputation of whole industries. Just think of the auto industry, insurance companies and even politicians. By being honest with the way you do business, with your staff, customers, and vendors you open yourself up to being trusted. Trust spurs word-of-mouth, increases employee morale and influences customer loyalty.
Retired Wyoming senator Alan K. Simpson once said, "If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters." Many consider integrity as the single most important quality of a business, without it a business is short lived, with it, a business can have a long and healthy life. Much like honesty, integrity must be ingrained within the business culture. It must be talked about and revered, it's something that must be followed both at work and on off time. People either have integrity or they lack it, there is no faking it.
Integrity must be practiced with both the consumer and employees, with vendors and even your competition. I started this section with a quote and I'll end it as well, one from Phillipa Black the Director of the Institute of Business Ethics, "Not only is ethical behavior in the business world the right and principled thing to do, but it has been proven that ethical behavior pays off in financial returns."
Transparency can sometimes be a scary word. I'm not talking about sharing with your customers how much profit you've made off of them or sharing your classified documents but rather being transparent with the way you conduct business. If you want to build confidence with your customers, employees and stakeholders then you must be transparent in how you run the day to day. It's important to let people know why you do things the way you do them. Oh and using the excuse, "we do it this way because it's the way we've always done it," is NOT a good excuse. Remember, screw business as usual.
Being transparent means admitting when you do something wrong instead of covering it up. Being transparent means that your customers are better able to trust you and take you at your word. Being transparent is about being accountable, about being real and being truthful. Transparency is about building a social business.
Of the four C's of social engagement, consumption, curation, creation and collaboration, collaboration is the most important. It's all about synergy. It's about the people in each department of your business helping each other to make their department better, more responsible and more profitable. It's about the people in each department working with the people in other departments to make the business better, more responsible and more profitable.
Synergy shouldn't exist just within the business it should also exist outside of the business, with the consumer. The more synergy you have with your community (collaboration) the more they will feel like they are part of the business. The more that they feel like that are part of your business the more loyalty you will see and the more word-of-mouth you will benefit from.
NO HITS is a simple acronym to remind you that if you want a more social culture then honesty, integrity, transparency and synergy must be an integral part of your business. Remember that being more social isn't a campaign, it shouldn't be bolted on, rather it should be a part of the culture of the business, from the CEO all the way down to the intern.
How are you going to adopt NO HITS into your business?