Most aficianados of social media emphasize the customer-facing applications of these technologies. By now, we've all heard interesting stories about how Marketing used blogs to get the message out, Sales used forum postings to help qualify leads, and Support used Twitter to respond to users wrestling with technical problems.
Exciting, new-frontierish stuff, to be sure, but you hear far less about Development's social media strategy. What about the "inbound" applications of social media?
That question was my inspiration for what turned into a three-part series on "inbound social media." The first research document appeared today (Forrester subscription required to read the whole enchilada). The second and third parts are coming shortly.
A lot of development teams are skeptical about their company's investment in social media. Frankly, they don't see what's in it for them. Worse, it threatens to be a distraction from their mission to execute, execute, execute.
Forrester's Gen Y design research stems from The Gen Y Design Guide report published in December 2007. It describes how Gen Yers are different (and they are!) and identifies four design tactics for reaching them online. To delve deeper into each tactic, I've been scouring the Web and picking the brains of our design agency contacts to find good examples and spot missed opportunities. We already published findings related to the first Gen Y design tactic, immediacy, back in November of last year.
To find good social interactivity practices, we looked for sites (excluding social networks) that 1) provide the opportunity to communicate with others, and 2) offer tools for self-expression.
Here are some of our findings:
Zappos.com makes it easy to share product information.
Lands' End lets customers email personalized virtual models.
Sprint offers forums for device and service support.
Charlotte Russe helps friends shop together.
Wet Seal allows customers to design and vote on outfits.
Threadless.com rewards users for expressing themselves.