To these people and to everyone who may be feeling the same frustration as I am I have a few things to say.
1. Social Media has given power back to the Small Business owners and customers. If you know how to run a social media campaign as the owner all this costs you is your time. If you hire someone to do it for you the cost is their salary. This is no small amount – but when you add up the visibility for the cost it is significantly smaller than a marketing campaign in radio, television, and print. Customers have an immediate and uncensored avenue to communicate their brand loyalty or frustrations. If this isn’t monitored and responded to the negativity can quickly spread and effect sales. Here are a couple of personal examples:
The co-worker who told me that what I do doesn’t have any value is part of a start up that I have worked with. Everything we did was for the first time. There was no history to go off of or brand presence to work with. We were creating it as we went along. I started with the two most popular sites: Facebook and Twitter. Using the name of the company for one presence and the name of the product for the other I started to build a voice for our brand. In very short time that co-worker came back to me with the information that due to my work we had copyright rights among other things. This simple, practical, and very helpful result of my work changed my co-worker’s mind.
I had purchased a refurbished computer from Overstock.com including the warranty. One morning I turned my laptop on and it crashed. It was dead and was never coming back. I was thankful that the warranty was still in effect. I called in and this began a marathon of run around and misinformation. After 4 hours of frustration – of two people on the phone trying to sort things out – I finally tweeted my frustration and hash tagged #Overstock in the tweet. Within 10 minutes I had a response asking for my order number and a synopsis of the situation. Unfortunately this was Friday afternoon and I had to wait for channels to speak to one another. On Monday afternoon I sent another tweet stating that I had not heard from anyone. I promptly got a response and 10 minutes later a phone call from an executive with a positive resolution. Where emails and phone calls got no response a quick shout out on Twitter got things moving and resolved in extremely quick fashion. As the customer I had power.
2. Interaction via Social Media increases brand loyalty! Hearing back from a company you have said something about allows the customer to feel heard and important. It also allows for greater trust to build between the customer and company. When the customer knows that their thoughts, opinions, reviews, and most importantly issues will be responded to they are more comfortable using that product. Information put out on Social Media can receive immediate feedback as customers share and respond to content. For this reason 93% of consumers use, trust and listen to social media whereas only 14% trust traditional advertising such as print, radio, and television.
A friend of mine is one of those die hard Whole Foods people. She stops by nearly every day to “grab” something. You’ll never catch her at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. Needless to say she is an avid follower on both Facebook and Twitter. She eagerly checks their feeds looking for specials and ideas. Using these communication avenues her experience at her favorite store is more dynamic. She can and will tell all her friends about the latest greatest discovery which means her 500+ friends have heard a first hand experience from someone they trust. They know she isn’t lying to them just to sell a product – she is sharing something that she wants others to know about too.
Social media is a recent development in the technology age we are in. The ability to share and get feedback instantly has changed the marketing game. It levels the playing field because access to it is free. The more creative a team gets in the content they put out is what effects your return on investment (ROI). A well designed multi-channel social media campaign can result in a higher ROI than expensive traditional marketing. When you take the time to develop a different voice and put out different content on each channel you’ll appeal to the different communities and receive the best response from your target market. Don’t listen to those few people out there who are going to look down on you for your work. You are an innovator and are changing the way things work. This will always upset a few people but in the long run you’ll be the expert they’ll eventually ask for advice from.