In today's fast moving digital environments, it seems that the management in many companies still do not believe in the power of the Internet and in particular the changes in marketing and customer relations that have happened as a result of web 2.0 and the advent of Social Media Marketing.
"Social Media Marketing is emerging as one of the most important, if not the most important source of information for the consumer."
With over 120,000 blogs written daily and thousands of online forums where customers are openly discussing their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with products and services, we still see company management hiding their heads in the sand and not engaging in conversations with their customers. For many companies this is simply an area that they are not comfortable with as it sits outside their own "zones of expertise." Management need to realise very quickly that once a story is on the web, it stays on the web for many years and potential customers doing a very simple search can find out a lot about your company.
Technology is now available to trawl the Internet for any mentions of your company or brand and monitor the conversations going on. We can even categorise these conversations by "Sentiment" as to whether they are positive, negative or neutral mentions. In fact, a simple search on Google for your company/brand name and obvious keywords on the main search and blogs search, will give you some idea on the volume of information people can find out. But then what? Well in today's world, if you know people are talking about your brand, then it follows that it's imperative that you must enter a dialogue with them.
"Social Media Marketing is highly persuasive because the writer apparently has nothing to gain from the reader's subsequent actions."
Lets look a scenario that could and does happen to companies regularly.
An unhappy customer sent an email to your Managing Director last week, asking for a refund on the basis that your company had not performed against their promise. The MD did not reply personally, he simply forwarded it to customer services, which had many other things to do as well that day. With email being an instant communication tool, the customer at least expected something from the MD, they got no reply ... nothing....nada!
As a result, they believed that they had been treated shabbily. In the good old days, they may have thought about the small claims court, watchdog or some such redress. But in today's computer savvy world, the first thing they want to do is express their anger quickly and in particular, let every other potential customer know how badly they have been treated and that they didn't think that they got value for money from your company. So they write the whole story in their blog, comment on other peoples blogs, start a forum thread on a consumer watchdog website, take a video of the problem and post it on YouTube ..... in effect they create what's known as a "Blog Attack" on your brand!
"Building a traditional communication strategy and internal process to ensure a positive customer experience is hard work for any company. It's always been easier to run another good advert, issue a 'testimonial success' press release, or hold a press conference to tell people how good you are. It's always been a lot easier for a company to talk, than to listen to its clients. However your customers simple "Word of Mouth" communication habits have become more sophisticated, they are now blogging and twittering about you, so the burning question today in many boardrooms is "what's that?" The answer is... It's Social Media Marketing!.... How are you going to react?"
Every company now needs to contemplate how they should manage user feedback on their products and services in this very public arena. The power has since the creation of the "blog" shifted to the consumer and there needs to be high recognition that to protect your brand you need to do something......and quickly?
It is now very important for companies to be transparent and have open conversations with their customers. Other customers will then not only see the negative comments, but the fact that you are doing something about the complaints, this is majorly important for your corporate image as you are being seem as a very responsive and responsible company to do business with now and in the future.
This is hugely attractive behaviour for the consumer and your brand will gain respect. Through Social Media Marketing, we can assist you to engage your customers in a blog or a forum (
or both) and even where necessary reach out to the complainants with an old fashioned face to face meeting, if that is what's required.
Customers need to feel appreciated, and when they do they write about the great experiences as well.