There has been a lot of buzz among the greater customer reference community lately about ways to incorporate social media and customer reference programs in a meaningful way – and for good reason! Social media represents a big opportunity to leverage customer advocates in a fresh way, but it is also an area many fear could leave their customer reference programs in the dust if they don’t adapt.

At the recent 2012 Summit on Customer Engagement, there was a distinct energy around social media – people discussing it during presentations, companies sharing examples of how they incorporate it in their reference programs, speculation on the future of social media in customer reference programs…I mean, the buzzing was endless! Because of this topic’s popularity, and the recent dialogue among many of our customers and colleagues in the customer reference field in general, we thought we would share some of our thoughts on social media and how we anticipate it playing out in the customer reference arena.

Why is social media a good fit for customer reference programs?
Social media provides companies with an opportunity to connect with current and potential customers by sharing customer success stories and other collateral through channels they are familiar with and like to use. Social media also allows prospects to connect directly with current customer advocates in a more relaxed and candid atmosphere.

What are some of the benefits of integrating social media in customer reference strategies?

  • Increase brand awareness and generate qualified leads
  • Promote customer advocates and examples of customer success stories
  • Increase connection and interaction with customers and prospects alike
  • Increase usage of customer reference assets
  • Make your customer reference program known

What are some of the popular social media channels & tools for B2B customer reference programs?
When it comes to leveraging social media in the B2B customer reference space, we feel blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the best channels. Additionally, if your company has an online customer forum, this may be another place to leverage fresh customer reference content.
As far as tools and assets go, video testimonials and video references seem to be the most widely used – and most consumed – customer reference asset in the social media space. Although, we are starting to see direct messaging on social media platforms, tweets, discussion threads in online groups and forums, and blog posts featuring customer success stories increasing in usage.

Not sure where to start?
The customer reference experts at RO Innovation would be happy to discuss ways you can successfully incorporate social media strategies and tactics into your program. Contact us today via our website, LinkedIn, or Twitter to start a conversation.

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney is the Founder & CEO of RO Innovation. His passion for helping salespeople excel in all aspects of B2B selling, especially where customer references are involved, was the reason he started the company. His desire for helping others succeed flows through in the expert thought leadership he provides the industry, his customers and his employees.