If the last few years have taught us anything about business in the 21st century, it’s that companies need to embrace the social media world if they want to survive and thrive. Many companies think simply being present in social is enough to bring them the great results and recognition that we keep hearing about, and while simply being there might be enough to keep you hanging on by the skin of your teeth (a phrase I find both completely odd and oddly applicable), it is not enough to help your company thrive in this brave new business world.

To thrive, we need to utilize social media (and all of our marketing efforts) to refocus on the customer and their experience with us and become a truly “social” business. While this may seem like an insurmountable task, by focusing our efforts on three main areas, we can make dramatic shifts in a very short amount of time.

Create Real Stuff:

When is the last time you really evaluated the content you were creating, sharing and talking about on social? Chances are, it has been a while, and that could be holding you back. Stop just creating and sharing content that you are interested in, or that reports tell you will get shared on social and might be able to create some links back to your website, even though it has little to nothing to do with what your company does, or customers care about. Instead of marketing for the sake of marketing, focus on creating content and engaging in activities that matter to your customer and add value to the world around you, a concept Wil Reynolds from SEER Interactive calls “Real Company Stuff.”

Truly Engage:

Too many of us in the social media space view “engagement” on the microscale, thinking that simply fielding questions on Twitter or responding to comments on our latest Facebook posts is enough to prove that we are “engaged.” This view is far too narrow if you hope to make a real impact in the social space and become a social company. We should redirect and focus on a more broad view of engagement. When is the last time you went out of your way (I mean really out of your way) to help someone with a question that they posed on Twitter, or did something to show you really cared about a customer, regardless of whether or not you get anything in return?

True engagement helps you to create an amazing customer experience, which in turn creates amazingly loyal customers. So the next time you see a customer post on Twitter that they are stuck at the airport in Chicago, instead of ignoring him or expressing your condolences, look at your previous interactions with them (heck, even stalk them a little by looking at their profile and interactions outside of those directly with you), find out what they like (let’s say pretzels), send them a gift card to Auntie Anne’s (which just so happens to have a location in O’Hare) and create an amazing customer experience. You don’t have to spend money to create amazing customer experiences, simply doing something genuine, like answering a question that doesn’t directly benefit you, can go a long way to helping create true engagement.

Leverage Your Employees:

Even with all of the fancy tools available out there, there is only so much an individual can do in the social world (unless, of course, that individual is Chuck Norris). What better way to create a new customer experience and better customer service than by empowering your closest group of raving fans – your existing employees. Empowering your employees to interact with your various social media accounts across the web, as well as on your behalf from their personal accounts, allows you to be much more prolific than any individual or two could ever hope to be. Your content will spread further, your message will be amplified and you will be able to reach a much wider audience than you ever thought possible.


With the end of the year approaching, now is the time to begin the shift from being “in” social media to being a truly social company. Take a look at the things you were doing this year and use the tips above to refocus those efforts towards customer experience and service. 2013 will show you just how powerful social media can be.