One reason companies frequently give for not taking advantage of Social Media Marketing is that they fear people saying bad things about their company or brand.
Here’s the thing. People are already saying bad things about your brand and may have been doing so for quite some time. You just can’t hear them. Many of these people are your customers… and while they complain about you they are also telling your potential customers. Social Media simply makes those conversations visible – it doesn’t create them. This is a perfect reason for marketers to get involved.
While companies may be slow to use the power of Social Media, their customers are not. Customers have discovered the power of the Internet, Google, blogs, community forums – even online newspapers – and are using them to share their feelings about their experience with your brand. That should cause marketers least a few sleepless nights.
Here’s just one recent example. When a major Canadian telephone company recently announced a new branding and advertising campaign the online newspaper article in Canada’s Globe and Mail generated enormous interest – and over 200 reader comments in a just a few hours. Customers wanted to tell not just the company but other consumers about their negative experiences with the company. Others chimed in with similar stories about their experience with other companies. Their biggest issue?
Poor customer service. And here’s what else marketers should be worried about:
Many customers were very unhappy with their overall experience of several companies.
Most wanted improvements to customer service first – and were unimpressed with news of branding campaigns, marketing messages and PR (which, incidentally included references to great customer service)
Several former customers said they had already taken their business elsewhere. Others were planning to the first chance they got
All had realized the power of Social Media and the viral nature of the Internet as a powerful tool for making their voices heard
Most customers simply wanted someone at the company to listen and put right what they thought was wrong so they could have a better experience
It used to be that one unhappy customer would tell nine other customers. And that was bad news. With the Internet, Social Media, and viral user generated content one unhappy customer can tell several thousands, if not millions of people. They don’t even have to own a blog.
The 19 “New” Rules of social Media Copywriting builds on the fact that successful Social Media Marketing begins with:
engaging with your customers
putting them and their needs first
starting conversations with them and
developing genuine relationships and eventually brand advocates
However, this never takes place in isolation of your customers’ existing experience.
Providing excellent customer service can be the difference between having a long-term relationship with a customer and not having that customer at all. Building a relationship with a customer who has had a bad experience with your brand is difficult and the potential for creating a brand advocate becomes negligible.
So what do you do when people are saying “bad things” about your brand? Can Social Media help you turn the situation around? How do you get started?