Is Plugging the Leak Before the Mess Possible?
By Guest Blogger Karen Mitchell
Is Plugging the Leak Before the Mess Possible?
There is not a more critical area of your business in this ever evolving world of social media than knowing just enough to be dangerous in implementing and measuring an effective social strategy to communicate with your clients and prospects.
In today’s world, it’s like knowing how to drill for oil in the ocean, but having no idea if there are 10 barrels a day of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico or 40,000 barrels gushing out. You know how to acquire your customers, but do you know if there are 10 people tweeting about your product/service or thousands? In either scenario, it’s important that there is urgency and immediacy in the response – plugging the leak and cleaning up the mess.
So, how do you know if you have 10 clients chatting online about your service versus 40,000? You may think you have this covered by varying people on your staff that, in addition to their titled job, are assigned to monitor Google Alerts and Twitter, and you may have even created a Facebook page for your company. So, you’ve seen the tip of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic and you’re maneuvering away from that immediate disaster, but what about the 200 feet of the iceberg below the water that you can’t see, and what about the other icebergs up ahead in the dark? Don’t those new dangers pose a threat to the ever moving ship (or in this case your ever evolving company)? And what happens if the employees doing the watching leave your company? Do you have a current plan for process and knowledge transfer?
Analogies aside, in tough financial times the old, pre-social media saying still applies: It is much more cost effective to keep a current customer than find a new one. The problem with a current customer today, however, is that they have many more outlets to convey their thoughts to potential prospects about your company than before. Let’s face it; most of the calls coming into your customer service center aren’t about how much a customer loves your product/service. They are calling with a question or concern and want their issue resolved. They are also likely sitting in front of a computer and concurrently can be posting their thoughts about the hold time or rep they spoke with on Facebook, Twitter, Rip-Off Reports.com, Consumer Affairs.com. and any other site they want to vent on.
Last week’s post about angry customers addressed the notion that satisfied customers tell 3 friends while angry customers tell 3,000. While venting negative seems to be a common occurrence, consumers have also been known to post positive comments regarding products and services they like, or positive responses to how an issue or concern was handled. These are priceless cases of social media at its finest – helping you craft a marketing message based on a positive consumer experience and a key strategy in making an effort to listen to and engage with your customers. Does your monitoring staff respond to these situations online in appreciation of the comment in a manner that is aligned with your marketing message? Do they send the users a coupon or do they even respond at all?
Are all of these analogies and questions are just points to ponder? No. I think that in today’s environment of tough economic times, the risk of pondering is too great of a risk to take. To be successful, it’s imperative that you know if you have 10 barrels leaking or 40,000 gushing, so you can align your social media strategy with your overall marketing strategy to mitigate the risk of cleaning up a disaster of titanic proportions.
Listening to your customers and engaging them online in a consistent, strategic manner is what Social Strategy1 is all about. The SS1 Engage platform also provides you with consistent reporting in an online web portal for monitoring the who’s and what’s about your company. Real time social engagement in today’s world is key to unifying your marketing strategy, listening to your clients and controlling the response for a positive online image. So yes, you can plug the leak before the mess with real time knowledge via a social media plan that is properly implemented and monitored.
Both positive and negative sentiment travel at the speed of a mouse click, like we talked about in “The 4 C’s of Social Media Listening”. So, if there’s a problem you can fix it near-real time. But the days of taking your sweet time formulating a response are long gone, as Johnson & Johnson discovered in 2008. An online Motrin ad that appeared on a Saturday angered the ultimate in online influencers, moms, who flooded Twitter with thousands of complaints. By Monday, the company was compelled to issue an apology. What’s your plan?