Social Media for Product Management

The folks at Brainmates gave a presentation recently about social media – Social media: Challenges & opportunities for product managers and marketers. I recommend you take a gander if you are interested in social media, or product management. I’ve got skin in the game for both of those, so I thought I would pen some thoughts, find them below. 

First off, who are Brainmates, and what is social media? Brainmates is a consulting outfit in Sydney which provides guidance for developing great products through customer interactions, they also organised ProductCamp in Sydney (PCampSydney) this past March, in addition to a whole swag of local training and content for product managers. Paul Gray, of brainmates, explains social media thus: sharing of ideas and opinions, instantly accessible and spread virally, permanent, owned by the audience and facilitated through technology.

The “functional applications for social media” that Gray lists caught my attention. brainmates has conducted research which suggests product managers use social media in four ways:
  • Promoting and sharing
  • Monitoring
  • Gathering feedback
  • Collaborating
I believe these functional applications of social media are spot on. Regarding the priority of the functional applications I believe more weighting and emphasis should be placed on gathering feedback and collaborating. That has certainly been my experience with GreenHopper. How so?
  • GreenHopper has a public backlog. Feature requests, bugs and improvements can come from a variety of social media:
    • Twitter – relatively new in the scheme of things.
    • Forums – have been around longer and foster a great customer community.
    • Directly on JAC, our public backlog – I believe this is also social media as it fits Gray’s definition above.
  • Customers influence the backlog, it changes as a direct result of our social media interactions. Often, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
  • Social media is an excellent tool for fast feedback. This enables us to respond quickly and deliver value.
We certainly utilise automated monitoring of social media (using CoTweet for instance) but this is just the beginning. The monitoring leads to a discussion, which quite often takes place via an email or phone conversation – certainly not social media. 

Furthermore, when a launch is taking place the buzz that can be generated via Twitter is significant. Indeed, this is a faster mechanism for spreading the word, virally, than our own blog posts, forum announcements, or email newsletters. Bringing the social aspect to bear on a product launch provides much appreciated emphasis. 

Potential customers are likely to use social media to explore and evaluate a product of interest. As such, having customers provide their thoughts and insight is extremely valuable. Potential customers will prefer, and be more responsive to, the input from an existing customer.

I like the presentation Gray put together. 

One final note, Brainmates is running a course in Sydney in July for PMs, continuing their content for local product managers. If you are interested you can find our more here.

Comment (1)

  1. Denise Tung

    Great post, Mr Nick. Let’s not forget that by collaborating, we also gain customer’s support early and potentially generate key advocates for your product (since they’ve had a say in the product!). I do think though there is a limit the amount of collaboration – the Product Manager should ultimately be responsible for deciding what to include and what to include in a product development piece. thx for sharing and agree, Paul’s presso rocks 🙂

Leave a Reply