Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 | 6 min read
Today, 85% of retailers consider social technology to be among the most critical investments in the journey towards digital transformation. Enabling your company to use social solutions, however, is often easier said than done.
Social deployment – the process of implementing social media management technologies to manage a company’s social presence and activity – is a crucial (and often tricky) step of digital transformation.
But before a company even starts setting up a new social media management tool, it needs to know how employees will use the tool, review goals and pain points of the team, align social with existing processes, and consider where the tool fits into its roadmap to success.
With that in mind, here are four crucial things to consider before you deploy.
Assess Your Team (And its Current Needs)
Before setting up your new social media management tool, consider how your internal resources and processes will be affected throughout deployment.
Consider what decision-making processes look like, and how the tool may change those. Who will be involved? Who will be impacted? Which teammates own specific actions, and where does it make sense for responsibilities to change?
There will be different implications for separate teams and geographies, and various groups will need to change the way they interact once you successfully deploy and leverage the tool.
A unified platform will change the way that disparate teams communicate – hopefully internal interaction and decision making will be more efficient across front office functions. Approval flows may change, ownership of day-to-day tasks may shift, and you want to know exactly what that will look like before you get there.
The social technology with the highest payoff may have the highest learning curve, so it’s best to be realistic about how it should be customized for your very unique team and use case. Step one, is understanding what that uniqueness so that you can act on it.
Review Current Goals to Inform Future Ones
Companies acquire new social technologies for a range of reasons. Maybe they want teams to take care of customers more efficiently, or perhaps they want to decrease SLA or increase customer engagement across social platforms. The bottom line is that they’re likely paying more money for a new tool, so they certainly have an important business outcome in mind.
Whatever your goal is, try to avoid being carried away by the prospect of “what could be.” Assessing what’s important to you right now will improve your understanding of what’s possible for the future.
A new social technology may spur you to refresh the goals of your team (or perhaps even your entire company). This is a good thing. You eventually will have to reassess how social fits into larger company goals. But it’s important not to attempt a quantum leap on day one.
You need to first understand the team’s goals, how practitioners will continue to meet them in their day-to-day interactions, and how that funnels into company goals, before fixing things that might not be broken.
Identify Processes That Don’t Work, And Learn From Those That Do
When building your social platform, accounting for current processes will help ensure a smooth transition, and improve the chances of a successful implementation. If you have an efficient way of ensuring correct answers to customer questions, for example, then it makes sense to keep that process in place.
If practitioners feel like they have to change the way they work for reasons they don’t understand (or don’t agree with), then adoption is unlikely to be successful.
On the other hand, this is also your opportunity to identify areas that need improvement, or hurdles in the way of your operations.
Don’t be afraid to be critical – look at the previous missteps your company or team has made. What social management or deployment efforts have failed, and why? Was an approval process clunky that didn’t have to be? Was valuable customer data lost between teams when transferred as a spreadsheet?
Only once you’ve thought about what’s already working should you consider what needs to be changed, and how to change it.
Keep Practitioners Top-of-Mind
You should consider not only what your gaps are, and what you’d like the tool to do, but also the experience of the people using the tool. The person paying for new software is likely not the same person who will be using the tool every day at an enterprise company.
Too often, the people determining how technology is set up, are not the ones who will be using it to interact with customers on a day-to-day basis.
This is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. You must prioritize the experiences of your team members – the internal end users. They are the front lines of your social interactions with customers.
Setting up the tool specifically for them to use with ease is as important as what your company wants to do with the new tool. The people using social technology should love it, and should be excited to implement and unlock its full potential because the customers who matter most will feel the difference.
Once you’ve fully briefed the project and understand your team’s needs, you are ready to meet your goals by integrating with processes that are already in place. Setting up social deployment in this way makes the barrier to success much lower, and prepares you to get started without a hitch.
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