When Using Social Media For Business, Don’t Be A Broadcaster

My ultimate pet peeve is when a brand doesn’t utilize social media the “right” way.  Many companies use social media primarily to sell their products or services by posting coupons, promotions and discounts.  Ew.  These brands are usually categorized as “Broadcasters” or “Salesmen.”  In my opinion, that’s the last thing they should be using it for.  Social media shouldn’t be an extension of sales.  If should be an extension of brand awareness and customer service.  It’s a unique chance to engage with consumers on a personal level.  Get this right and trust me, the sales will surely follow, and better than that: LOYALTY and RESPECT.

I love when brands “get it” by utilizing social media to post “remarkable” content to their consumers and immediately reaching out to customer service inquiries.  Knowing what their followers like and using it to catch attention is the best service a brand can do to better its image.  These brands are usually called “Conversationalists.”

An example of a brand that busts out remarkable content to their followers without giving the dreaded “pitch” is Whole Foods.  They have an amazing blog and branded social media presence that captures the interests of their consumers without trying to sell them a free frozen turkey with every one hundred dollar purchase.  They make frequent posts across all channels that relate to their brands genre without hassling immediate in-store presence.  This is successful Inbound Marketing.

This seems like a good time to post about my positive social media/customer service experience with a brand:

I had a surprisingly positive experience with Optimum.  It was 10 pm on a Sunday, and I had DVRed The Walking Dead.  When I pressed “play” on my DVR, an error message appeared telling me to try again later. …Wait, Whaaa. Later? That can’t happen.  Not with The Walking Dead.  Not when there’s Twitter spoilers.  Not when my friends are texting “OMG OMG ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?!”  Not when Rick and Michonne and Glenn are in danger!  I restarted the box, tried several times to fix the issue with the common troubleshoot solutions, but nothing was working.  This incident had conveniently been happening to me every Sunday for the past few weeks, so naturally, I was frustrated.  It was late, and the last thing I wanted to do was get on the phone and talk to a recording for 15 minutes before I reached a human, only to have him tell me the same things I had already tried.  Instead, irritated and laying in bed unable to find out what drama was happening with The Governor that week, I took to twitter to share my frustration:tweet

Within minutes, to my surprise, Optimum tweeted me back:

tweet 2We communicated via Direct Messaging on Twitter.  I gave them my name and account information and they looked into the problem right then and there.  The problem was fixed within minutes!  I was astounded.  Never did I think my temper tantrum about my trivial cable problem would get noticed and fixed over Twitter.  I was impressed and now, I am a loyal, happy Optimum user.  If they keep it up, they have my business for life.  Oh, and of course, I gave them some much deserved recognition as well:

tweet 3

If a company isn’t monitoring social media on a full-time basis to see what people are saying, what are they waiting for?!  In my opinion, it’s one of the MOST important areas to spend money on.  One way or another, someone is going to mention something and you want to be there, immediately, when they do.  Unlike a phone call or email, this is publicized.  If the right person gets the wrong experience, your company could have a lot of explaining to do.  Better to act quickly than ignore the issue.  Trust me, it’s not going away.

I will, no doubt, be posting a lot more about social media utilization by brands in the near future because it is fascinating to see how they interact with their followers.  Things to always remember when using social media for business are to: stay positive, stay active, stay engaging.  Do these things and you can’t lose!