Xabier Ormazabal

Director, Product Marketing EMEA, Salesforce.com

Xabier is one of Salesforce’s most articulate evangelists. He helps customers and partners better understand the impact of social media and cloud computing solutions across a wide range of industries and disciplines.

What were the biggest changes for social-driven businesses in 2011?

   

I think once companies overcome their initial reluctance or hesitation to become active on social networks, they soon realize they need a coherent strategy and clear metrics to measure their engagement and outreach with customers.

Also, due to the explosion in the volume of social media traffic, businesses need social media monitoring solutions to help them stay on top of what’s most relevant to their organizations. So there is an ever-growing need not just to be social through a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or LinkedIn group, but also to be smarter and more targeted, by measuring and tracking share of voice and mentions throughout the more than 200 million sources of social media (blogs, file/video sharing sites, news websites, communities, etc.).

Additionally, social media is becoming more relevant for B2B companies, it’s not only for businesses that sell products to end consumers.

What social channels or platforms are growing and which do you think will decrease in importance?

   

It’s evident that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are continually growing, as well as other networks. But in addition to external social networks, internal solutions for better communication and collaboration in the enterprise space are emerging.

This shift is important for companies to grasp as part of the ongoing impact of the consumerisation of IT within the workplace. The usability and time-saving benefits that employee social networks bring are significant - such as driving down email volumes, faster project collaboration and reducing the number of internal meetings needed to get things done.

   

“The usability and time-saving benefits that employee social networks bring are significant.”

Xabier Ormazabal

What has been the big surprise in 2011 for social-powered business?

   

The growing number of enterprise applications that are increasingly social and mobile: from collaboration and document management; to customer service apps that pull in tweets and mentions directly into a central feed; to expense management with built-in approvals; and social HCM (human capital management) solutions to recognize, reward and incentivise employees.

The possibilities for adding a social and mobile layer to company processes in order to improve internal and external communication are limitless.

And the continued explosion in mobile devices and location awareness are continuing to make enterprise apps far more dynamic, interesting and relevant to more and more users.

   

“A growing number of enterprise applications that are increasingly social and mobile”

Xabier Ormazabal

What's the next big thing for social business – whether on the sales, marketing customer service of collaboration front -- or anything other area?

   

These major areas are the next big things:

  • Internal collaboration
  • Social Hubs – routing and assigning cases
  • Human Capital Management – and talent management
  • Gamification

What should a CEO or senior strategist be keeping an eye on in 2012?

   

Keep an eye on:

  • The explosion of video as a content delivery platform.
  • Inbound marketing as a new methodology for lead nurturing and demand creation.
  • Creating social objects that drive engagement and give something to talk about.
  • Social media etiquette and ramping up the workforce to make more employees social-ready, creating valid spokespeople on social networks.

What role do you think CRM will play in the social business of tomorrow?

   

CRM will continue to play a fundamental role in helping companies manage all customer-facing processes. Social media is fast becoming a very relevant channel for customer interaction, both in B2B and B2C.

At salesforce.com, we talk about the Social Enterprise as the journey companies are taking to make all of their internal and external processes inherently social. A key part of this is the concept of the Customer Social Profile, whereby information from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Klout and others can be baked right into your CRM system so that any publicly available information and feeds about a business contact, as well as profile information (if they are a friend / connection) is visible to a CRM user.

The benefits of this approach are huge – including better data quality and improved understanding of a contact’s latest thinking, activities and social influence.

Additionally, CRM provides the means with which engagement and conversations from social sites get routed to different functions and teams within companies (customer service, PR, marketing, sales, legal, product management, etc.). So as companies’ level of acceptance of social media increases, roles such as community managers and product evangelists will increasingly interplay with heads of customer service, sales managers, etc, as the impact and relevance of socially-sourced customers, prospects and leads continues to expand.

How can a company inject social media into its culture?

   

It’s important to be open to having many more spokespeople and listeners out on social channels. The traditional PR model is still valid within companies, but there is an increasing need for more employees to be empowered to be brand ambassadors – friendly corporate citizens on social networks – as well as blending their personal identity with their company role.

So organizations need to establish clear guidelines for social engagement related to discussing brands and services online – what can and cannot be said, what rules of etiquette the organization is going to live by in order to maintain an engaging, enriching, helpful and friendly presence on social channels.

Is there a downside to social media in business? What are the risks?

   

Underestimating it, not reacting swiftly or effectively or having a siloed community strategy.

Also not investing time and thought into developing social media guidelines for employees to be able to engage on social networks – the risk here is a huge missed opportunity for generating positive buzz, word of mouth and a reputation for being helpful and aware of customers needs.

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