Examples of social applications that drive higher levels of engagement include Social Vibe’s charitable giving application (mentioned in the opening of the chapter), Starbucks’ use of Foursquare (a location-based social application), the Foursquare “mayors” program that rewards frequent visitors, and Dell’s use of Twitter as one of its many brand outposts. In Europe, Opel| Vauxhall have created a customer service built on Twitter using its basic accounts, @Opel blog and @Vauxhall along with the hashtags #Opel Service and #Vauxhall Service, allowing customers to easily connect, ask questions, and make other inquiries relating to these automobiles.
Twitter is a social application with obvious business development and customer care applications: Twitter enables two-way interaction between a business and its customers (and between customer themselves). Dell’s Small Business group, Comcast’s customer service team, and Australian telecom firm Telstra all use Twitter as a conduit for information that 321 SOCIAL APPLICATIONS DRIVE ENGAGEMENT connects their respective business programs with their customers.
The majority of the cases and examples presented in this book have been, in some form or another, a type or instance of a social application. Given the encompassing nature of social applications, how then does one segregate the various functions and uses of these tools for planning and design purposes? Clearly, lumping together Dell’s “Idea Storm,” Social Vibe’s charitable giving application, and four squares
“Mayor’s” designations as used by Starbucks and saying “I want one of those” isn’t likely to produce a successful outcome. What’s needed is a way to categorize the various types of social applications so that they can be connected with business objectives. Business objectives, after all, drive the specific action and development of social applications