We all understand that Social Media is another tool in your arsenal to improve your sales rep success, but it can be used for more than just delivering marketing messages and keeping customers engaged with sales. As a product manager, I started thinking about how Social Media could help me communicate with the customers more directly and build a better product. Traditionally, the role of a product manager is to collect customer feedback and enable engineering to update the solution based on customers’ needs.
Integrated in appropriate sources and communities, the requirements collection sample now becomes much larger than traditional sources. Social Media give product managers the ability to collect the requirements and customer/user feedback on much larger scale. This new communication channel is direct – with no middle man (sales, field engineers, executives and other good faith advisors), who think they know exactly how to re-phrase what customers want. In Social Media communities, all product-feedback-censorship is removed from the conversation, and the best part - it costs much less than traditional sources. Of course, it will take some time to become part of the communities as subscribing to RSS feeds will just not do it.
Social Media will not replace traditional sources of requirements any time soon, perhaps never. But with careful planning, avoiding typical traps and proper prioritization of information sources, it could help us build much better products at a reduced cost.