In the past, businesses have been used to being able to control their brands image through carefully managed marketing campaigns.
These naturally present the product in its best possible light. Nowadays this is no longer the case and if you want to have significant effect on your brands image you ignore sentiments posted by customers within Social Media at your peril. A good question to ask yourself while pondering how much you should invest in Social Media is what will be the cost to the business if you only pay lip service to managing social media comments and sentiment?
It is very easy to think that Social Media may not be relevant to your business. This in most cases is due to the confusion around the visibility of metrics. If you look hard enough the metrics are there and so unless you have actual real evidence that Social Media is not relevant then you may well be kidding yourself. Choosing to wait may actually be doing more harm than good.
Like most of us when I make a purchasing decision if I have a recommendation from a trusted friend i.e. someone in my own social network, it provides a great deal of weight in favour of the product or brand. Negative comments from trusted sources will be carefully considered in preference to positive comments from the owner of the brand. Would you pay your hard earned money for a product from a company if you knew that someone in your own social network has received less than satisfactory service from them?
If I was able to see a response to the interaction that proved that it was a misunderstanding and saw visible evidence of great customer service this would weigh very heavily on any buying decision.
If you reflect on where Social Media is today, you may also consider how the technology is likely to continue to grow over the coming years. The Internet as a communications framework is still evolving at a rapid rate. This means that the systems you put in place today to manage Social Media interactions will only be the first rung of the ladder rather than the last. I would be concerned if I had nothing in place today just in order to keep up with the march of technology.
If you don’t make a start sooner rather than later there is a very real likelihood that your competitors who have this area covered will gain a clear competitive edge.
Thinking to the future it’s not going to be too long before we start to interact much more with our environment using more sophisticated mobile consumer devices. Imagine a world where you can walk down the street with a pair of sunglasses that have screens on the inside of the lenses and a camera on the outside.
Check out the progress of projects such as Google’s Project Glass and Xbox Augmented Reality Glasses and you’ll start to get a flavour of what’s just around the corner.
By viewing a Quick Response barcode for a product on an advertisement you’ll automatically have your context along with relevant sentiments available via your Social Media network. If you doubt this then just look at the plethora of mobile applications freely available today. This will allow all of us to make better informed buying decisions about a product far more quickly than ever before. For the seller this will be a unique opportunity make the information relevant to the customer increasing the chance of a sale. And where will most of this information come from?
You’ve probably already realised by now that Social Media is here to stay.
And now for the cautionary tale, did you hear about the company that ignored Social Media and got left behind because they joined the party far too late? Check out Interactive Intelligence solutions by Amtel Communications Ltd when considering systems that can manage Social Media interactions within the Contact Centre.