Following up on Brian B's post, "Why Customers Dump Brands," this post elaborates on what Brian shared, that brands and marketers need to keep communications relevant and actionable. Not every brand, company or entity should be using social media.Three questions should be considered before joining the rest of the crowd:1. Do you have a long-term customer engagement plan?I've seen (and been able to correct) many instances of marketers using social media as just another advertising channel. Social media is not an advertising channel, it's an engagement channel. In this interview with Dan Zarrella, author of "The Social Media Marketing Book," Guy Kawasaki asks Dan some basic questions about engaging customers through social media.
Marketers are given a great opportunity through social media to engage their customers in a unique way that creates lasting relationships between customers and a brand; this is something that advertising cannot do. While tweets and Facebook posts may seem tedious and time consuming for the poster, fans and followers look forward to learning more about a brand and, maybe, benefit from a special offer or Twitter-only coupon. Customers are savvy, and they expect more from marketers than to use them for a click-through.2. Are you ready to have an actual conversation with your customers, one that ADDs value to their daily online lives?When a customer decides to follow or "fan" you, it's not a decision that's made lightly--they are agreeing to give you a portion of their time online, space on their wall or feed, and adding to your follower count. What are you giving them in return? As I stated above, followers expect more than to be advertised to. Make sure your content is relevant and engaging, your number of posts aren't overwhelming, and you're there to listen if you're asked a question. Many brands have done a great job (Virgin America and Zappos are good examples) of providing customers with an unexpected bonus when that customer asks a question or voices a concern. Free credits, free shipping upgrades, and ensuring the customer leaves the conversation with a positive outcome are all unique opportunities for higher levels of customer engagment which foster long-term brand loyalty. 3. Are you ready for your brand to be publicly discussed every day in an open forum, where information travels at light speed?A Re-tweet on Twitter, or a "share" on Facebook both take about five seconds for a user to complete, and all of a sudden, your tweet or post has just been amplified to another 500 potential or current customers. If the content was positive, than congratulations. If it was negative...you've got some work to do. In the latest example of this, the Red Cross did a great job of damage control when one of their employees, responsible for posting content on their social media sites, accidentally posted a personal tweet, talking about getting drunk on Dogfish Head beer. How the Red Cross responded will be looked back on for years as the right way to react to a situation like that. Not to mention, DogFish Head helped them along with their recovery. How would you handle a similar, or worse, situation? Are you prepared? What if a customer posts something negative on your wall or tags you in a tweet sharing their disappointment with a recent purchase or experience with your product? Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are waiting to see how you will react.Answering "no" to any of the above may be ground to re-consider your involvement in social media. Remember--social media is a unique relationship with your current and potential customers--take it seriously.
Tags: marketing strategy, Marketing theory, social media
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