Forgive us for smiling to ourselves this morning, as we came across this piece in Forbes by Bruno Aziza on the power of social media.
The article begins by wondering whether Twitter’s soaring market valuation is a sign of “the Charlie Sheen effect”—a reference to the troubled TV star (and the subject of an earlier post) who attracted more than a million followers in 24 hours.
From there, Aziza wisely suggests that companies (and, we would add, social-sector organizations) looking to leverage social media should be wary of such hype. They also shouldn’t be dazzled by the technology itself. For in the end, social media has only one real use: figuring out what your customers value and helping to deliver that value to them.
“You might get thousands or millions of followers because of your brand, but if you don’t do anything to solve the basics of your customer systems, your social media strategy will ultimately fail,” Aziza writes. He notes, for example, that “my bank has been trying to reconcile two of my out-of-state accounts for the last five years. No amount of social media attention will fix my frustration.”
Peter Drucker, who wasn’t computer savvy in the least, couldn’t have agreed more. “The customer defines the business,” he wrote in his 1973 book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. “A business is not defined by a company’s name, statutes, or articles of incorporation. It is defined by the want the customer satisfies when he buys a product or a service. To satisfy the customer is the mission and purpose of every business.”
Aziza points out that “your organization’s ability to empower its employees to enchant and delight customers is the ultimate weapon”—and if social media can help in the effort, that’s terrific. But, he adds, “be sure to remind all your employees . . . that their customers are not just online likers or followers; they are also customers, in the flesh and blood.”
All of that makes great sense. But it’s Aziza’s last line that truly tickled us: “When Charlie Sheen meets Peter Drucker,” he asserts, “Drucker wins all the time.”
How about your organization? How is it using social media to help give your customers what they value?