Have you ever found the need to offer up a tweet of desperation, or Facebook post of frustration when a company fails to deliver on its promise or has caused you a problem?
I know I have.
At the time of composing the message it can prove to be cathartic, setting out your ire and pointing it at the target you can get it off your chest, even in 140 characters.
But how does the company deal with your complaint? For me that is the true measure of a good organisation, its ability to respond. Did they get back to you swiftly, accurately noting your comments and responding appropriately? Or did they respond in their own sweet time and offer up an auto bot placation to hope you’ll go away? Worse still are those who just fail to respond leaving you to boil and find a way to escalate the issue with added justification.
If you’re running a business, any business, you must consider the way in which you can handle potential negative feedback. The rise in popularity of Tripadvisor has taught many restaurants and hotels that negative reviews can directly impact future business and positive feedback offer a reassurance and drive customers toward you.
With so many of us now connected on social networking platforms and becoming increasingly comfortable with the medium as a method of communication we cannot afford to overlook their impact.
These are the key tips for offering excellent customer service on social networking platforms;
• Make your company twitter and Facebook accounts clearly visible on your website
• Actively engage with those who “like” your Facebook page and “follow” you on twitter
• Monitor the social networks for references to your business and keywords associated with it;
o This can be done via Google alerts by setting up the keywords and having any reference e-mailed to you. Note: This can build in a time delay so should not be relied upon for real time responses.
o Use a social mention monitoring site to manage the references and keep up to date by having the alerts function activated.
o Sites worth considering; SocialMention.com, mention.net, social oomph, hootsuite, twilert.
o Take a look and see which suit your needs, twilert is good as it is simple and low cost and enables a free trial to assess the effectiveness for your business.
• When you receive a negative comment whatever you do don’t become defensive or aggressive
• Offer multiple channels for communication, tweet but take it private so DM (direct message), e-mail, phone or text.
• Respond quickly and consistently, if you don’t have an immediate answer let the customer know that you’re working on it.
• Don’t patronise or engage in chat that would be considered “too personal”
• Above all ensure those who are charged with handling frontline matters on social media understand the rules and are chosen for their interpersonal skills and client care focus.
• Don’t allow third parties to present themselves as “helpers” or “customer support”. Self-help through technical forums can be beneficial but taking that one step further exposes your business and brand to potential risk of damage through unauthorised comment and actions.
Its common sense, you may think, but just consider your own experience and how the big organisations often get it wrong. Mostly customers want to know they’re being listened to, offered a channel to communicate and be allowed to express a view. Of course not every complaint or query will be justified but by offering a sympathetic and proactive customer response via social media can significantly reduce the negativity and in many cases reverse the position entirely. If you’re not aware of the conversations on social media you run the risk of missing opportunity and being subject to unwarranted bad publicity.
If managing your customers via social media is something you want to explore in greater detail drop me a line.
David.firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @davidlaud
As Barack Obama appeared through the huge curtains at the Chicago Convention Centre his smile said it all, the crowd nevertheless said it for him, over and over again, a little like a re-tweet, “four more years, four more years….”.
With the economy far from recovery and very tough times forecast the US electorate have remained faithful to the Democratic Presidential incumbent.
Obama’s feisty Republican opponent, Mitt Romney had but one task, admit defeat gracefully and in a very public address he did just that.
No doubt the networks will be poring over the multitude of statistical data that such events spew out but for me there is one clear set of statistics that left me in no doubt of the outcome.
The evidence was part of our modern history.
In the Spring of 2011 a political wave started, initially overlooked by those in power. All too soon their underestimate of the strength of this wave became apparent due in no small part to the turbo charge push of social media platforms.
But four years before the Arab Spring, back in early 2007, a relatively unknown senator was running for president against Democratic nominee and household name, Hilary Clinton. But on November 4, 2008, Obama then 47 became the first African American President winning an election against Republican candidate, John McCain.
Mr Obama turned to social media platforms to gather support, raise funds and engage with volunteers the essential foot soldiers of any successful campaign.
Fast forward to the US election of 2012. Presidential wannabe Romney was trying hard to compete on twitter, facebook and Linkedin but unfortunately for the Republicans he was up against an opponent who is a natural social media communicator with a team of dedicated experts supporting his social media broadcasts.
Enough of this blogging rhetoric what about the facts?
On Twitter Mitt Romney has a respectable 1.7 million followers and has made 1,350 tweets. But just compare that to Barack Obama’s 22.7 million followers and 8,000 tweets.
As if those figures weren’t bad enough Michelle Obama has more followers than Mitt at a very healthy 2.2 million.
On Facebook Mitt has worked hard to match Barack but even his 12.1 million page likes pale compared to the re-elected presidents 32.8 million page likes with over 3.5 million actively talking about the content.
Google Plus – smaller numbers, but we’d guess at that. Obama 2.3 million +1’s with Romney less than half at 1 million +1’s.
Of course it’s not all about the numbers but if your message is being broadcast at those levels through these channels you have a major advantage, especially if your demographic fits the profile of the more active social media users.
As if to prove the point Obama’s victory tweet showing his embrace with wife Michelle and the quote “four more years” is now the most re-tweeted tweet of all time, so far RT’d over 650,000 times beating someone called Justin Bieber (you know who he is you just don’t want to admit it – ed) who’d held the record at 223,000.
Whether it proves to be the right decision for America only time will tell but one thing’s for sure, if a politician has any serious ambition they need to understand and harness the true strength of social media.
David Laud – Marketing Consultant
i2i Business Solutions LLP
e-mail me at email@example.com follow me on twitter @davidlaud
“like” our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/i2isolutions
We all know the old estate agent adage that demands we put location above all else to get best value for your bricks and mortar. That also holds true for some of the fastest growing trends in social media.
Our location is something of great interest and value to marketers who are looking to push geo based messages and offers to potential or existing customers. There are a number of apps and mechanisms for geo marketing communications from Bluetooth proximity messaging to Facebook and now to smartphone applications.
When I first looked at Foursquare, (iPhone App) I must admit I really wasn’t sure it was for me or my business but…..as with other new media you really do need to try before you leap to promote, criticise or deride these platforms.
Whilst “feeling my way” with the location based app I can see immediate opportunities for business and consumers. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a location based marketing project or two brewing in most of the UKs top consumer brand companies. But the U.S. has taken and run with the technology to enable mobile access to a wide array of products and offers whether the shopper is at home or at the local high street shopping centre or retail park.
If you haven’t done so already I’d recommend having a look at the Foursquare app, go beyond the fear of being tracked by “big brother” as you retain control of who sees where you are and you don’t always have to make check-ins public. If you run a business reliant upon customer footfall I’d suggest looking at the possibility of offering discounts or special promotions for users of apps such as FourSquare.
A couple of simple suggestions – coffee shop offering free cup of java if you spend £1 or more on any other item, restaurant offering 20% discount for regular visitors. With Foursquare the most regular visitor to a specific location can earn the title of Mayor, this can result in a little competition for the awarded role but in my experience and research this is somewhat limited. In fact I’m not entirely sure the “Mayor” tag works but that may just be me. It limits the possibility of reward to regular visitors to just one person and I’m not sure many of your visitors would really battle to take on the Mayoral title – far more likely to want the special offer their membership could deliver. My solution would be for the proprietor to become Mayor and through “tips” and “special offers” announce your offer. I’m keen to hear of examples that have made the Mayor award work for them. One example in the U.S. at the end of last year – fast food outlets “Silver Mine Subs” ran a competition on FourSquare offering the Mayor of their specific outlets a free medium sub every week for a year. The cost of this campaign – approx $300 but the publicity generated will certainly have counted for far more than this outlay. But I’m back to my Mayoral issue and the fact that only one person being Mayor can seriously limit the scope of an offer or campaign.
In any event Foursquare provide their registered businesses a range of promotional options and these include:
Despite flaws in some of these apps they are certainly capturing the imagination of consumers and marketers alike. This is no surprise as traditional forms of marketing are falling away with Directories, TV, Radio and Press advertising revenues all falling. The key is to connect with the consumer in way that makes them feel in control of the process, “special” and
deliver experiences and offers that they want to share.
Our physical and virtual location matters and has a value. For marketers it opens a whole new world of opportunity with a multitude of methods to interract with our target audience, get it right and rewards will be loyal and regular customers. The key for business owners will be to understand the trends, the opportunities such technology and apps provide and adapt business strategies to communicate effectively with their target audience.
Now, time to check in……
David Laud FCIM, Chartered Marketer firstname.lastname@example.org