The Holy Grail:
Word-of-Mouth referrals and testimonies have long been considered the Holy Gail of advertising and marketing. It has been shown time and time again that although advertising can be effective, if a trusted user recommends a product or service, there is a higher probability that a non-user will try the product or service. Social Media offers published thoughts of the consumers to allow companies to see likes and dislikes of their products and services – A valuable asset to companies. However, the survey conducted by the CMO Council stated “Despite all the hype about social media, only 16% of respondents [of survey conducted by the CMO Council] said their companies have any routine system in place for monitoring what people are saying about them or their brands online.”
The article goes on to say, “The survey of 400 executives found that 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word-of-mouth; 59% don’t compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction; and only 30% rated their companies highly in their ability to handle or resolve customer complaints.”
Although some companies like P&G are starting to climb aboard, it seems strange to me that free media, which provides companies an opportunity to connect with consumers and tap into what they are thinking, is being neglected to be tracked and used to the advantage of leading companies.
Communication has Changed:
The way that people are communicating has changed. Communication used to be much more privatized, which made reaching consumers through Word-of-Mouth a much more difficult task. Now, the world is hyper-connected. Cell Phones, Im Platforms, Texting, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook has opened the doors to knowing what people are doing and thinking every moment they are doing it.
What used to be privatized is now being published and companies have the ability to and should capitalize on that simple fact.
Social Media is a perfect platform for building client relationships and brand loyalty. Why not use the testimonies to your advantage and take advantage of the strengths of your company already acknowledged by your consumers? Why not communicate with your unsatisfied or concerned consumers directly and let them know that you acknowledge their concerns and are working to resolve them? Social Media tracking and response offer this as an option. It also allows companies to build a Social Media Loyalty Program that will proactively build relationships with consumers.
The Next Step:
Hire an individual or a team of people whose full time job is to monitor, track and actively engage in and respond to social media. I know that the economy is tight right now and budgets are stretched, but in this case the benefits outweigh the consequences. By taking off the Social Media Blindfold, you’ll be more in-tune with your consumer and be able to provide a higher level of customer service that will inevitably boost your bottom line. If left on, it may only be a matter of time before you to trip and fall.