As things start to slow down I thought I would try to get one last post in before the new year to talk about what I have been up to the last few months since my last blog. Content World 2010 consumed much of my November and what a great event it was. I had the pleasure of speaking about getting back to business and applying social media to core business objectives. Before my talk I polled the audience to see how companies were applying social media to their business and I was not surprised to hear that much of the audience was still struggling with trying to better understand the why and the how. The common theme was that many understood the need to make us of these technologies to help build more engagement with their users and customers, but they still weren’t sure how the best way to do this was. My advice to help address these questions was; equip your business with the tools needed to be able to support three key initiatives; monitor, react and respond.
To monitor means to understand where the conversations are taking place, be it Facebook or Twitter; develop a presence there. To react means to be able to engage in conversations that are happening and create a two way channel of communication with your customers. Lastly to respond means to equip the business with the tools it requires to respond to customer’s complaints, concerns and even their praise. The key is to show you are listening!
I also spoke about how the web was quickly becoming the virtual complaint department. In fact, according to the Tealeaf Annual Survey of Online Customer Behavior, (conducted by Harris Interactive) when customers experience problems attempting to conduct an online transaction, 78% share their experience with others and another 74% said when they read a negative comment online, it influences their likelihood to do business with the company. This enforces the fact that businesses need to have the ability to monitor, react and respond when a customer or user speaks poorly about your brand online. Introducing online communities; enabling customers the ability to engage with your brand directly through forums and comments; contributing to conversations where they are happening in Facebook and Twitter and building stronger social networks with your customers can all help contribute to your ability to monitor, react and respond.
Don’t forget, the perception of your brand is in the hands of a crowd of strangers and you can use social media to get to know them. What are you waiting for?