Andrew Rudin's post at Customerthink raises a pertinent question with respect to an ideal social media tool for salespeople.
My take on this-
Social media is a good tool to track prospects through social networking sites and highlight product benefits. The negative implication obviously lies in this being a short term solution.To work on that, salespeople can team up and form online communities which can also help reduce post purchase dissonance or doubts and at the same time help the organisational customer centric strategies by allowing a peep into the consumer mind through analysis of the member conversations.
My view on the right social media tool for the job is an organisational blog.There are too many shiny new web 2.0 objects,and social networking sites can help form groups faster(so a good short term approach) but i still think that a blog may make more sense.
1.The blog can serve as a virtual brand communication tool and selected salespeople can join hands and benefit from each other's posts and consumer comments.It is easier to update than the organisational website.
2.By posting content relevant to the consumer organisations can give them a reason to revisit the site.
3.A blog post will optimise better on search engines.
4.It will equally serve the purpose of a community.
5.Ownership of an employee contribution on the organisational blog lies with the organisation.
6.Blog audiences appear to be more focussed- so discussions will be more meaningful.
7.The organisation can link back to all consumer evangelists blogging about the organisational products and hence try to reign in the consumer generated media to some degree.
8.The organisation can participate in the online dialogue that consumers or the relevant industry as a whole is involved in.
9.Tracking and monitoring consumer sentiment becomes easier.
As I researched varied types of content on organisational blog posts, I was able to identify at least 25 different types of the same. A factor analysis should help categorise the same into relevant content categories.
Somewhere this appears a more subtle, more relationship marketing way of getting a customer...doesn't it?