I’m always being asked by product managers what the most important product management tools are when you are creating a product development definition. We all know the obvious ones: PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. However, things are changing. Social media and its related tools are talking on increasing importance and as product managers we need to get good at using these tools if we want to keep our jobs…
Why Social Media Is So Important
We are all living in a brave new world. The arrival of social media has the entire company working to find ways to make use of this new tool. The different departments at your company that may be vying to be “the” social media department include corporate communications, the public relations team, and even the marketing communications department.
No matter what the other departments do or say, social media is a tool that every product manager needs to be using. Let’s face it: this is something that you’re going to have to be able to add to your product manager resume. One of the reasons for this is because of the immediacy of social media – in almost real time you can have direct access to your customer. This is the one set of tools that will provide you with your best chance to have a one-to-one conversation with your potential customers.
What this all means is that product managers are going to have to do some homework in order to determine who in their company is involved in social media. Don’t try to take control of it, but rather look for ways that you can work with them. Creating a strong social media alliance of people who use these tools within your company will be your best way to build a bridge between your product and your potential customers.
4 Ways Product Managers Can Use Social Media
Knowing that you want to make use of social media tools is a great place to start. However, this leads to the next question: how can you get the most out of these tools? It turns out that there are four specific steps that you can take to make social media support your product:
- Listen To Your Customers: Anyone can dip their toe in the social media waters and listen to what their customers are saying for a day. What you need to do is to go all in – set up systems that will allow you to continuously listen to what your customers are saying about your product, your company, and your competition.
- Learn From Your Customers: Just listening to your potential customers is not enough. You need to understand what they are saying and why they are saying it. Who is talking? Is everyone in agreement or are there different groups of people who like or dislike the same thing? Does your product have supporters? Does it have detractors? Talk to your customers using social media and make sure that you understand what their true feelings are.
- Share Information With Your Customers: You know more about your product, what it can do, and what changes are coming up in the future than anyone else. Use social media to share this information with your customers and form a bond of two-way information sharing with them. They’ll tell you what they want if you’ll tell them what they’ll be getting.
- Cultivate Loyalty With Your Customers: Contact with customers can lead to loyalty between your company and them. Take the time to use the information that you are sharing to create an ecosystem where both of you are able to build a deeper relationship based on trust.
What All Of This Means For You
We are now officially living in the era of social media. This means that product managers need to adapt and become proficient at using the social media tools that are available to us because this has become a part of every product manager job description.
Social media is so very important to product managers because it provides us with a direct connection to our potential and existing customers. In order to make the most of this we need to find ways to listen to them, learn from them, share with them, and cultivate new customers.
The good news is that all of these things can be done. The bad news is that just like everything else that a product manager has to do it’s going to take some time. Now is the time for you to start getting better at social media so that you can keep your product manager job!
Question For You: Do you think using social media to listen is more important than using it to share?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Every product manager out there would like more people to buy their product. Hmm, now just exactly how to go about making that happen? Sure, we need to provide our potential customers with the products that they want, but once we’ve done that, what else can we do to convince them to buy? It turns out that we have a powerful weapon called discounting that can be made to be a part of every product development definition, but if we’re not careful it can easily cause things to get out of control…