How Cisco Listens in Social

The world’s biggest marketers have bought into social. The challenge now is how to make it work across marketing organizations that span timezones and can involve hundreds, even thousands of people.

Take Cisco. The networking giant, which has 60,000 employees, set out two years ago to become more “customer-centric” by paying attention to what its customers are saying online and spreading social throughout the company. It set up three physical social media listening centers at its headquarters, powered by Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud. At one, the company identifies spikes in negative mentions that need to be investigated and influencers mentioning Cisco. The data is then sent to the appropriate business unit so that they can act on it. Another six-screen listening center allows Cisco sellers to show customers their social data in the hopes of winning new business. The last is a two-screen kiosk version of the listening center just outside the CEO and CMO’s office and displays social activity around topics such as earnings, acquisitions, launches or campaigns. This is a way of making sure social data reaches the very top of the organization.

Cisco's Social Listening Center

Only 3 percent of the 5,000-7,000 conversations a month relevant to Cisco require a response from the brand. That doesn’t make the other 97 percent worthless. The other 97 percent are conversations that don’t require action such as an article being shared.

Like most marketers, Cisco wants to move more quickly. Cisco determines which mentions need a response within 24-hours, 72-hours or just when the team can get to it. The conversations are then routed to the appropriate team to take action, based on the context. Cisco is measuring daily, monthly and quarterly mentions, tracking share of voice of top competitors, average daily sentiment and resolution rate.

When an executive recently tweeted about trouble using Cisco’s video-conferencing service, he was helped within an hour, thanks to the social-listening center acting quickly. The tweet was picked up by the social listening team, and sent to the support team working on Cisco’s video-conferencing technology. The support team helped the customer fix the problem.

In October, Cisco used the listening center to figure out who it’s biggest influencers were to gauge their reaction to a new ad campaign. These people’s reactions to it helped Cisco with the revamp of the video and other media used for the program. For sales, listening has been helpful for finding potential customers that are in research mode, so Cisco can convert them earlier in the process.

Cisco’s not alone in setting up centralized social command centers. Brands like Dell, Gatorade and Mastercard have also done so. The hope is these efforts can put in place the structure that’s needed so all that social data eventually gets turned into some kind of action.

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