Kaum ein anderer Begriff hat die Führungen von Unternehmen in den letzten Jahren so auf Trab gehalten wie dieser: „Soziale Netzwerke“. Die Meinungen gehen auseinander wie falsch zusammengeführte Magnete. Die einen versprechen sich völlig neue Möglichkeiten, die anderen halten alles für eine vorübergehende Hysterie.
Wir geben Ihnen Informationen zur Meinungsbildung an die Hand. Und damit Sie das Thema auch für Gespräche mit Geschäftspartnern aus dem englischsprachigen Ausland nutzen können, geschieht dies in Ihrer Fremdsprache Nr. 1.
So sehen es andere Unternehmen
In 2011 the German IT company Damovo interviewed representatives of 200 small and medium sized companies about their attitude to social networks. They found out that:
- 69 percent of the company leaders think that social networks are one of the most important trends at the moment, because smart phones and costs for data flatrates open up opportunities for a new kind of communication between company and customers.
- 47 percent believe that “crowdsourcing” – the collecting of knowledge of customers and employees – can help to improve the development of new products and customer service, and to solve technical problems.
These figures show how important the subject is and that small and medium sized companies will have to deal with it, even if they have not yet thought about it.
Neue Kommunikation mit dem Kunden
But what exactly does the term mean? Everybody, private people and companies, even books and parties can create a profile with pictures, information, products, hobbies, relationships etc.
And they can make friends with others who can then access all their information and friends, too. By doing so the group of “friends” or “followers” grows bigger and bigger, and everybody can “post” information, comments, and adverts, send invitations, make endorsements with the “like” button, and so on.
Social Media is not a cold. It will not disappear automatically. Customers will not want to turn down what they have gained and what gave them a new position of power.
Ossi Urchs, German internet pioneer
The most important thing about how these networks work is that you have to “twitter” like the little “bluebird of happiness” which represents the platform “Twitter”. You have to talk, or better write: tell the world what is special about you, your company and your products. And you have to make friends or find followers who are interested in what you have to say or offer.
If in doing so you succeed in making people comment on and recommend your products or services, you have gained an improved method of word-ofmouth recommendation.
Specialised (BE)/specialized (AE) agencies support companies in starting such campaigns. They select a large group (5.000 to 10.000) of candidates from your target group and send out test products. The candidates have to comment on their experience. Such campaigns can be used as basis for improvements. And they can take place publicly, on a social platform.
Erkennen Sie Gefahren
Sceptics will now argue that you cannot control public criticism. This is true. Moreover, a company has no control over whether the comments are positive or negative.
The supporters of social networks, however, argue that since we have an open market, communication should be open too. If there are features of a product or service customers complain about, it should be the company’s responsibility to change those features for the better – and to talk about it on twitter, facebook, google+ or other media.
Schöpfen Sie Vorteile aus
If companies utilise criticism as a way to improve their products, and social networks make these improvements known, they will improve their reputation and get a lot of “likes”.
Besides this kind of customer care, another way of working on the company image is the demonstration of employee-friendly management on social networks. This will motivate experts to consider the company as a future employer.
Soziale Netzwerke für Unternehmen
There are several social networks, and their number is still growing. Their members and reputation is changing too. Three of the most frequented are:
- Facebook: formerly known as a private platform, it is developing into a major public platform.
- google+: a new platform, considered by some to be the “grown-up version” of Facebook.
- Twitter: said to be the quickest as you can use it on your mobile for very short messages, but this is also possible with the other platforms.
Many other social platforms can be found, many of them specialised (BE)/specialized (AE) e.g. on business contacts like Xing.
The most important thing to find out first is: which platform represents your company’s clients best? If your target group does not use the internet at all you can save a lot of time and just drop the matter. If your target group is quite young, you should investigate.
Großer Aufwand, große Wirkung
If you work for a small or medium sized company with a target group on the internet it is worth thinking about getting active on a social network. As we have discussed, such a project can be quite time consuming. Feeding a social media platform with information and working on it regularly cannot be done on top of a full time job. You should keep that in mind when you talk with your boss about it.
|cultivation of o.’s image – Imagepflege
position of power – Machtposition
target group – Zielgruppe
turn down – verzichten
word-of-mouth recommendation – Mundpropaganda