Ok, so I've harped on the bulleted to-do lists that all too often fill our blog channels and community platforms. But in this case, I couldn't help share this list of well-articulated commandments that were developed through brainstorms with a colleague of mine.
The following list, in our humble opinion, constitutes key elements that all companies should abide by in their online outreach efforts:
1. An understanding that being responsive to customers with service level agreements must entail knowing no boundaries, channel barriers or time constraints.
2. Recognition that the online experience you provide is your brand. Great first experiences, like the theoretical ripple effect of a butterfly’s wings, are the catalyst for something larger, positive, profound, and influential that associates a company with trust.
3. Admission that honesty and transparency trumps double-talk and corporate babble-speak. In fact, it’s this real discussion (warts and all) that constituents crave.
4. Have a network of smart employees, marketers, agencies, and customers who prompt consumers to interact because they know that will increase the likelihood that consumers will transact.
5. Have the foresight and knowledge that customer engagement means more than launching an online discussion board, it comes organically through enabling valuable and motivating experiences at every touch point.
6. Tend to have empathetic staff that question what they do for a living and then juxtapose this against what they know their constituents actually need from them—implementing beneficial solutions as a result.
7. An appreciation that new web analytics and measurement tools need to speak to where the visitor is going, and not merely to ‘where the puck is’. Conversely, measurement systems know where the visitor came from and why. Additionally, recognition that web analytics is not optimization.
8. Acknowledgement that although user-generated content diffuses or mitigates corporate governance and editorial authority, it can be leveraged to benefit a company if a UGC strategy is well thought through, implemented, and measured. It may be humbling to point out that 1 in 8 natural search engine results for a branded keyword are user generated content.
9. An innate ability to harness the talents of each individual employee to share their knowledge and leverage their personal connections.
10. Realizes that effective word of mouth campaigns cannot be manufactured. They tend to be spontaneous, honest and truly viral events that incorporate humor, oddities, insider news, the taboo or the just plain awe-inspiring.