A few days ago I wrote about The Most Important Thing that Your Company can do on Social Media. It isn’t create a facebook page or twitter. It is far more simple.
Find people who are already talking about you (both good and bad) and engage them.
To do this all you need is the right attitude and an email account.
Scan social media for people who are already saying positive things about your brand.
- Talk back to them
- Thank them
- Send them something free
- Offer them exclusive access to something
- Show them you care
- Tell them they matter
Find the people who already like your brand and give them a reason to talk about you and like you more.
I was at the “It Won’t Stay in Vegas” bloggers party. Lovesac was a sponsor. I tried the lovesac and loved it (ha) and included a photo of me in the lovesac and said “I want one so bad” in a blog post.
- 3 people specifically asked me about the lovesac based on that post
- The ParnassusGroup (the agency that put on the party) contacted me and offered to send me a lovesac. They didn’t ask for anything.
- I twittered about it and posted on Facebook.
- I got more comments from people telling me that they too loved the lovesac and from people who wanted to check it out when it comes in.
- I told a number of people in person, who were also interested in the lovesac.
- Responses and comments came through Facebook, my blog and twitter.
- I’m going to host a tweet-up lovesac warming party since I had so many people ask about it.
- Other bloggers and influencers will try the lovesac and spread the word.
- More buzz/online discussion.
I’m not sure what the total # of media impressions will be but I do know that:
- They will be high quality because they are genuine.
- The reach includes my networks and the networks of those who also commented.
- The equity impact is highly positive and probably stronger and more lasting vs. traditional marketing.
Think of it this way; you can spend many thousands of dollars working on blogger outreach programs and social media programs, or you can ignite, inspire and participate in the conversations that people are already having about you. It also builds positive brand equity.
Social media works best when it is natural and authentic.
Companies are often concerned about people who say negative things about them. They should be. Especially if they don’t respond to them.
A few realities:
- People who are mad will rarely contact you.
- The Book Buzzmarketing says that for every 1 customer who complains, 26 don’t bother to complain and unhappy customers on average each tell 16 people. So for each complaint you get there are actually 27 unhappy customers * the 16 people they each tell which equals 432 people who have heard negative things about your brand.
As VP Marketing at Photrade I had a number of first hand opportunities to engage with people who had negative initial interactions with us.
- A blogger was upset because of something in our FAQ that was actually out of date. He left negative comments all over the internet. I emailed him directly, explained that the FAQ was out of date, thanked him for bringing it to our attention and left clarifying comments where he had commented. We began a dialogue. He became one of our biggest advocates and power users, and defended us in online forums.
- A photographer didn’t like our Terms of Service. He wrote a negative blog post about it (he didn’t contact us). We responded to the blog post immediately, validated his point and changed our TOS in four hours. He wrote a new post and twittered about it.
- A discussion board (on another website) was complaining about one of our site policies. It was something we had a lot of internal debate about. We joined the conversation, explained both sides of the issue and asked their opinion. They provided us with great feedback that helped shape future decisions.
My experience has been:
- People like to vent when something annoys them.
- They often won’t contact you and tell you they are mad.
- They want to be heard.
- After receiving a genuine and transparent response they often feel as though they may have over-reacted.
- They can become your biggest advocates if treated with respect.
- Sometimes they will still be mad. You can’t turn everything around.
Tips to Responding to Negative Comments
- Be courteous. Your blood may be boiling, but your response should never show that.
- Validate their point of view (you can do this without agreeing with them).
- Provide a reasonable and transparent explanation.
- Offer a solution.
- Be genuine and personal.
- Ask for their perspective/help. Start a dialogue.
- Remember, you won’t win them all.
Companies Who are Doing it Right
- JetBlue – @jetblue on twitter responds to all individuals who mention their brand. Look at this recent exchange:
- @jetblue this morning you charged me $245 to change a flight and now you’re telling me that flight is cancelled? nice
- @gregverdino When were your flights? – we are waiving change fees for customers traveling through NY Metro area tomorrow: http://is.gd/Pjg
- @JetBlue tonight. Changed it from tomorrow but still paid fees. Looks like the flight is back on for tonight at least. Can you confirm?
- @gregverdino can you follow us so I can DM? what flt number?
- Ford – @scottmonty does a great job of engaging with social media on behalf of ford. If you even think about Ford he responds.
- @ScottMonty: I’m about to start a social media session with Ford’s advertising & marketing agency. What should I tell them? Tag it #Ford
- Scott got 50 responses in about an hour – see them here.
- Now isn’t that cheaper and easier than intensive consumer research?
- Freshbooks – @freshbooks engages in two-way conversations on twitter. When a user says they are switching from Freshbooks they try to find out the problem and offer a solution.
- Zappos – @Zappos is probably one of the best examples of effective use of social media. See complete stories about them here, here, here and here.
What do you think? Any other examples of Companies getting it right?