Late in 2010, one of the world’s major computer makers flipped a switch on its new Social Media Listening Command Center. it is now how Dell Computer monitors thousands of conversations worldwide about its brand on various social media networks. Michelle Brigman, the center’s director, talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the inner workings of Dell’s social media strategy and how the Center has helped her company boost customer service.
In this ultra-competitive business environment, it’s easy to get caught up in the social media marketing race going on between companies. But the businesses having the most success are those that are getting to know their customers in very personal, unique ways. We’re not talking about those brands that are pretending to connect with customers; this is about those having actual one-on-one conversations.
Bringing Social Back: An Example
Recently we heard about a woman who purchased a can of soda. As soon as she had finished pouring the drink into a glass, she heard rattling inside of the can. When she tipped the can upside down, she was shocked to see a piece of rusted metal fall out. She immediately went on Facebook and Twitter with her complaints. Within seconds of her tweet going public, the soda company had issued a personal apology, made a phone call and responded to her email.
Obviously, one can argue that the soda company moved at lightspeed to deal with a negative issue. What about the positive ones? Many times we have heard of companies like Zappos replying to posted Facebook messages from customers, asking about their families or even their pets.
Yet personalization can go far beyond a Facebook wall.
How To Bring Social Back With Your Company
Here are a few things that your social media marketing campaign should be doing to ensure client success:
- Listen to your audience – Be open to your audience’s suggestions and comments on social networking, and listen as if they were right in front of you.
- Talk, but get your audience to talk back – When you reply, don’t make it all about the fact that you’ve replied; engage the customer in conversation. Mention specific details about what they wrote and call back some of their points into the mix so that they understand this is truly not a one-sided conversation. One way to put this into practice is with a Twitter Q-and-A session. You can set one up and announce it on your Facebook page.
- Recognize the audience for sharing – Tweet something nice about the person you’ve been talking to via social media. Acknowledge the fact that they shared something about the company, and thank them.
It’s the little things in your social media marketing campaign that can produce big results for your company. Personal conversations with your customers – putting the social back in social media – will ensure that your brand is well represented online, and that positive energy is sure to go viral.
(Photo courtesy of Brian Solis.)
Those businesses that still doubt social media’s impact on how we communicate should consider the following data points regarding Sunday’s big news about Osama bin Laden:
* He didn’t know it at the time, but an information technology professional who lived near bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, provided real-time coverage on Twitter of the Navy Seal raid that ended in the terrorist leader’s death.
* At 10:25 p.m. EST, a former staffer for Donald Rumsfeld breaks the news – on Twitter: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”
* During President Obama’s speech to the nation reporting the news, Twitter was experiencing more than 4,000 tweets per second.
* The first of several Facebook pages devoted to bin Laden’s death quickly racked up 145,000 “likes.”
* A quick poll conducted late Sunday night by Mashable found that 40 percent of those surveyed said they first learned of bin Laden’s death on Twitter – more than TV, phone calls or instant messaging.
Matt Rosoff, writing in Business Insider, said Twitter’s role in spreading the news was akin to CNN’s mainstream breakthrough following the first Gulf War in 1990.
But social media’s overall impact in this case isn’t limited to its role as a new conduit for information. Sure, Twitter and Facebook were used to pass along the latest updates as friends began curating information for other friends. Yet the two social media networks also instantly became raucous mashups of town hall meetings, corner bars and radio call-in shows. Americans who had waited nearly 10 years for this news unloaded a wide range of emotions in real-time tweets and status updates – renewed anger and sorrow from 9/11, thanks for armed forces and intelligence services, politically-themed debates, speculation over next steps/possible retaliation, and humor in the form of jokes, Photoshopped images and remixed YouTube videos.
Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, has an extraordinary account of how technology and Google have transformed the search for news since Sept. 11, 2001 – and how that thirst for news has changed them as well.
Social media may indeed morph into something else in the years to come, but right now it is democratizing our communications. Social media has enabled news-on-demand, whether that news is about a terrorist leader’s demise or about a new product or service from your company. There’s power in that online conversation – because that’s where the audience/customer now expects to be informed.
It wasn’t just the cheers and the Union Jacks that were flying at Friday’s royal wedding of the newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (also known as Prince William and Kate Middleton.) ABC News says during the height of the festivities, 6,369 tweets per minute were zooming around on Twitter. Indeed, nearly all of Twitter’s trending topics Friday morning were wedding-related.
And why not? As other major news events have shown us, Twitter is becoming the preferred breaking-news wire service for a lot of people – a two-way service that doesn’t just provide the latest information but also allows news consumers to react to events and curate the coverage.
Businesses can do the same thing with their Twitter feeds; they can alert customers and partners to the latest developments of products and services, and also provide real-time customer service on a very personal level. It serves as more proof that social media marketing and small/medium-sized businesses is a match made in heaven – if not Buckingham Palace.
Some other news from this week involving social media marketing news and best practices:
Cable Network Gives Mommy Bloggers Some TLC
Lest you think the mommy blogging phenomenon has lost any of its potential to influence major brands, David Kaplan at PaidContent.org tells us about Discovery Communications’ TLC cable network setting up Parentables, a blog destination with its own staff and programming.
Using Facebook To Seal The Deal With Customers
ShopVisible CEO Sean Cook shares with Mashable his five secrets for closing a sale on your company’s Facebook platform. To paraphase Cook, don’t just set up a shopping cart on the social network; instead, set up an exclusive, unique shopping experience for your digital audience.
Soda Pop Goes Social
You know it was only a matter of time before our machines and appliances started setting up their own social media networks. (Was it my imagination, or did my refigerator just “like” my Facebook page?) PepsiCo used an annual trade show to announce its Pepsi Social Vending Machine, which gives users the chance to send short videos and text messages with embedded coupon codes for free sodas to their friends.
Now it’s your turn: did you see any stories about social media marketing that caught your eye this week? Please share them in our Comments section. In the meantime, here’s best wishes for the royal newlyweds to live happily ever after. We wish the same for you, of course. But if that’s asking too much, at least have a great weekend!.
In one corner of the discount services matchup: Groupon, an online coupon site offering daily deals to consumers – mostly social media junkies and the email-obsessed. Armed with a computer/smartphone and a Groupon account, social networking buffs can find dirt-cheap deals at their favorite places with the click of a “share” link.
In the other corner: Facebook Deals, the newest player in this high-stakes game. The premise behind Facebook Deals is that it uses the company’s location-based “Places” check-in to help users find deals on local businesses – while sharing them with friends at the same time. Many deals will be offered for users and their Facebook friends for even more savings.
While these two companies joust for business, they offer a social media marketing dream for businesses. But with all of these features and benefits offered by each one, the big question now is: can Facebook Deals oust Groupon from its top spot in the discount deals segment?
Let’s take a look at each of the services.
Money-Saving Wars: Groupon
The concept behind Groupon came to fruition when its founder, out of frustration over his own experience with retail establishments, decided to test the theory that groups of people can drive change.
The model for Groupon is simple:
- Every day, for 24 hours, Groupon offers a deal, often a 50% or more discount on various products and services.
- The customer signs up to purchase the deal, generally with a limit of two per person and two additional as gifts.
- Here’s the catch: before you can cash in on the deal of the day, a minimum number of people must want to purchase it as well. If at the end of the 24 hours the quota has not been met, your credit card is not charged and you lose nothing.
Although Groupon’s concept has been copied and duplicated several times, Groupon has experienced unprecedented growth thanks to the right retail partnerships (including some large national chains), its early mover status and its conversational, witty content style. Now, with the introduction of Facebook Deals, Groupon may have finally met its match.
Money-Saving Wars: Facebook Deals
Facebook Deals is the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg, who is hoping to take down Groupon by heavily targeting both businesses and the 600 million-plus Facebook users in the world. Sound ambitious? Maybe so, but with the company’s resources, that goal may not be as difficult as you think.
Facebook Deals takes social media marketing to the extreme by emphasizing the social aspect of the transactions. A user signs up to receive Facebook Deals on their wall and invites their friends to sign up too. All of Facebook’s deals will focus on products, services or activities that friends can do together, further adding to the social web experiment.
The saving grace for Facebook is the sheer number of users already on its social network, making it easy for them to access a large group of people at once – thereby presenting a target-rich environment for retailers. Still, the tenacity of Groupon’s founders, their refusal to be intimidated, how the company markets itself vs. Facebook and its ongoing search for the right business partners may keep them on top of the money-saving wars – at least for now.