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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Karate Mom Scorned

July 22, 2011 | By | No Comments

Putting the ear to the virtual door is becoming a must-have part of any social media strategy. What are customers saying? How are they saying it? Where are they saying it? But companies can’t just collect data; they need to analyze it so they can make informed decisions.

In a recent blog, Forrester analyst Nate Elliott shared 5 ways to use social data. One of his tips is to use social data to identify key influencers. With U.S. consumers making more than 500 billion peer-to-peer brand/product impressions, brands can harness social metrics to pinpoint the most influential customers, Nate writes. Once you know who these vocal users are, you can reach out to them.

And reaching out is critical. Consider this pre-social media lesson: my husband and I owned a martial arts school. In the early years, we had a young student whose mom was the BIGGEST school advocate. She passionately recommended us to friends, leading at least a half-dozen additional students to sign up.

During the few months before her child was scheduled to test for Black belt, the student lost motivation. Despite significant effort from our teachers, the student was simply not prepared to take the test. So we explained to the mother that the child’s test would be delayed until specific things were improved.

Mom was not pleased. She argued we were responsible because we weren’t “training properly.” She walked out and never brought the student back.

But it didn’t end there. Within a week I had fielded calls from several of her friends who had signed up their kids to take classes because of her recommendation. They were, all of a sudden, expressing concern over our training methods. And while we were ultimately able to retain those students, it took a number of parent conferences and many reassurances. Who knows what the result would have been if Vocal Mom had access to social media?!

The moral of the story is that influencers are just that: influencers. And while we like to think they will always love our brand, the fact is that a wrong (either actual or perceived) can change their attitude in a heartbeat. Social media monitoring and influencer relations give companies the opportunity to create open communication, so when a problem happens it can be handled before it shows up on the first page of search results.


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