“I didn’t know what to do, so I just Googled it.”
The lead corporate social strategist at one of the top hospitality brands in the world pulled us aside and in a hushed tone confided, “Honestly, I didn’t know what to do or how to write one, so I just Googled the term ‘enterprise social RFP.’ ”
It might be shocking, but it’s more common than you think.
Large brands are starting to think about doing social at scale — the way that large, global brands can have a personal relationship with hundreds of thousands or millions of customers.
“Playtime is over”
As Esteban Contreras, social media manager at Samsung USA, said, when it comes to social, “Playtime is over.”
He’s not the only one who has figured this out.
At Sprinklr, we conducted nearly 200 interviews — see them on SprinklrTV — with heads of social at companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories and General Motors, as well as industry thought leaders such as Joe Jaffe, David Armano and Matt Dickman.
Social practitioners need a common framework and terminology
The consensus is pretty strong around three key areas.
- It is time for enterprises to fully realize and embrace that social is much more than marketing alone.
- Failure to think about social across multiple divisions, functions and channels is an invitation to greater risk of a brand-damaging social media wildfire.
- There is a clear and present need to help practitioners develop a standard framework and terminology for implementing social at scale.
So, based on these interviews and our experience in working with the some of the world’s largest, most social brands, such as Dell, Cisco Systems, Virgin America, Microsoft, Newell Rubbermaid and Samsung, Sprinklr released “The 6 ‘Must Haves’ for Any Enterprise Social RFP.”
- Multichannel management: A platform that was built from the ground up to handle multiple channels is different from a Facebook tool that is adapted to help you manage Pinterest.
- Cross-functional capabilities: Mature organizations in terms of social know that social is more than marketing. Too many still manage cross-functional issues by e-mail and Microsoft Excel.
- Scalability: From two perspectives — the ability to scale out to many countries AND have an architecture than can handle, process, track and route tens or hundreds of thousands of messages in a day.
- Social governance: When you do a campaign rollout to 40 countries, for example, enterprises need to ensure that global strategy is respected but local teams are empowered.
- Customized reporting: With so many stakeholders, divisions, channels and functions, standard and pre-configured reports are not enough to get the job done.
- Rapid product enhancements: Not only do enterprises need a platform that adds features at a pace that keeps up with the pace of social, but they also require one that has a process and methodology for developing and implementing client-specific requests. Large brands are unique, and those needs need to be met.
In our research, we did find a few dissenters. One analyst said, “I like where you are going, but it’s too soon. Not every company is mature enough socially to implement what you are offering.”
It’s certainly possible that she is right, but as Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group pointed out in his report “The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist,” “only 23% of Social Strategists hav[e] a formalized program with long-term direction,” and the lack of one is going to be a huge problem for their companies and careers.
One of their biggest challenges?
“A looming increase in business demands,” which we see as another way of saying, “The enterprise is going to need to do social at scale.”
So, while the need might not be there for everyone today, it will be there for everyone soon.
Eventually, someone from the C-suite will come around asking such a question:
“Hey, do we have a unified customer profile that tracks behavior, sentiment and activity across any social channel and all of our business units? If not, why not?”
As Chris Baccus, executive director of digital and social media at AT&T said, it’s time to “get over the fear” and lay the foundation for enterprisewide social at scale.
Having these six components in your next enterprise social request for proposal will help you do that.
Read the full report titled “The 6 ‘Must Haves’ for Any Enterprise Social RFP.”
This post is by Jeremy Epstein, vice president of marketing at Sprinklr.