This article from Brian Solis in an extremely timely opinion, given how the economy has been heaving about like a drunken manatee the past few years.
Many brands once seen as untouchable are either gone from the landscape, or fading fast. Blockbuster, Borders, Sears, Circuit City. Companies that either not nimble enough to adapt to change, or come in to little, to late, are bound to fail.
With social media becoming so interwoven with our day-to-day existence, it’s not enough for a company to just have a Facebook presence, or a Twitter account. Social media must be utilized to the fullest potential. You’ve got to invite feedback, actually listen to that feedback, and take overt, measurable, action.
This paragraph, I love:
As we’re learning, it’s not enough to be present on social networks. It’s not enough to engage in customer conversations. Leadership organizations, not just marketing departments, must realize that social media are not a cure for the ills of common business malpractices. The rules of relationships still apply and in fact are only amplified. In social media and in the real world, the pillars of any great business must embody service, innovation, experiences, performance, value, and now co-creation. Remember, customers are not looking to build a community with your company simply because they can. Community rules require the cultivation of affinity and belonging through relevance, empathy and the consistent delivery of tangible and intangible benefits.
First point listed, the pillars of any great business must embody service. Service to the customer, the ones who spend the money. Service to their employees, to retain them, to keep them creative, productive, challenged. Service to itself, to remain innovative, forward-thinking, looking to bring in that new business as well as keep the repeat business.
Companies have to care, or at least project the image that they do. All too often, and you can find it on the interwebs, there are stories of horrid service. I’ve included that in my postings. The root of all that bad press is the impression the companies don’t care.
Some may argue that an organization is too big to care. That’s no longer an excuse, not with the proliferation of tools like Twitter, and Facebook, and now Google+, and etc. I didn’t catch news of what happened in Norway via the news sites, or news channels. It was a Google+ posting.
One complaint, by someone with enough followers, and shared, retweeted, forwarded, can span the globe in mere seconds. Seconds!
This isn’t like the ‘phone game’ played when I was a kid in grade school. For those who don’t know the name, here’s how we played:
Get two dozen (or so) children, sit them in a circle. Child 1 whispers a story to the person on his left. Next person whispers it to their left, and so on around the circle. The trick is to find out if what child 1 said is what child 24 heard.
That doesn’t happen anymore, not with being able to direct right back to the original post. One person has a bad experience with Company X, and they have a follower who also had a bad experience. The follower retweets, shares, and adds their own frustrations. That person has 5 followers who do the same. Now, Company X should have people watching the social media feeds to find these kind of issues, respond to those customers, and regain that trust in the company.
The ones that don’t, or don’t take social media seriously, will be shuttering their windows, instead of building a solid base of customers to grow their business.