On November 11th, Lithium is hosting the largest online conference for social media and CRM professionals at the Social CRM Virtual Summit. The change brought about by the social media revolution has impacted every area of industry, including how customers choose to interact with companies and each other online, particularly where they turn for trusted information.
This virtual summit comes at a time when companies are starting to see tangible financial results from deeper online engagement with customers, and will explore the current capabilities of and future for Social CRM.
With webcasts by Social CRM thought leaders and live chats with industry experts and practitioners, the Virtual Summit will be a ground breaking event. Remember you can sign up for this free event here, and jump into the conversation on Twitter using #vscrm.
To introduce you to the experts presenting at the event, we’ll be running a series of mini profiles here in the Lithosphere.
Expert: Mark Hopkins, Social Media Manager, Lenovo
Mark Hopkins is the Social Media Manager for Lenovo, one of the world’s largest makers of personal computers, including the renowned ThinkPad® notebook. He is responsible for running the LenovoForums, and is an active contributor, not only helping answer questions, but also giving insight to users with his very popular ‘Mark’s Advice on….’ posts.
He will be hosting an online chat session with other experts on how you can successfully nurture your most valued players, the Superusers.
Q: What got you involved in community to begin with?
My career has been focused on trying to improve the customer experience in one form or fashion. It’s certainly been varied - I've worked in technical support answering direct phone calls; leading, training and supporting teams, analyzing call center data and working with product development to improve quality, functionality, and ease of use. I spent a number of years working with various forms of solicited and unsolicited customer feedback, often in the forum of transactional and relationship surveys. Surveys are great, but they only capture information that you thought to ask and in the case of transactional surveys, they collect information triggered by a particular experience point. This kind of information is useful for measuring change in a repeatable manner, but lacks the broader context and interactive nature.
In 2005, I began monitoring discussions on the web and quickly realized the potential of social media to do what traditional market research and surveys did not. Almost immediately, communities distinguished themselves as being high value centers of influence - rich in content and user activity.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I'm working to build our community in two hemispheres - a customer side that we typically think about in terms of achieving critical user mass, activity, and value, and also the internal side that we don't always think about - the internal network within an enterprise. Long term, these two halves need to become wired together though a combination of facilitating technologies, and shared objectives. The wiring of the community can be complex and spans multiple social platforms with shared membership and content. Adding new features and content are the most visible aspects of these efforts.
Q: What is big community topic on your mind at the moment?
In a word, ‘analytics’. Traditional forums haven't changed that much in the last decade in terms of the analytical data available from them. Most of the platform-generated metrics are event-based; number of views, posts, threads, registered users, etc. I would say that most of the metrics of today are very ‘Web 1.0’. What are your customers talking about? Is the tone of the overall discussion more positive overall than last month? These are the metrics we are realizing we need.
Today, it really requires a lot of reading to understand what is being said - what the issues are, how many are concerned / involved, and what the temperature of the room is. Sure, there are a number of companies that offer a mix of human and technological capabilities to help answer these questions, but I think there is a huge opportunity in communities for the next generation ‘2.0’ measurements to be generated out of a community. I’m definitely interested in discussion topic discovery, sentiment analysis, and identification of top influencers.
If you’re in the LenovoForums, watch out for Mark, you’ll spot him as Mark_Lenovo
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