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The Barrage Begins

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Category: Social Media Published on Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Consumers Get Their Voices

   Figure How May We Help – Every company, every manager will encounter his/her worst nightmare on the Web.  If they have a real problem/issue, recognize it, resolve it, thank them for their assistance.  If the consumer is unreasonable, take the discussion offline and try to turn them around or simply say thank you and let them leave.  

One of the biggest problems every executive has with social media marketing is when a consumer takes a potshot at the company/product online. 

The first thing you have to realize is that your company, your products, are being discussed on the Web – favorably or unfavorably.

And whether you like it or not…those discussions won’t disappear by ignoring them! The sheer volume of information available in the social media arena has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers.  

Because of the information overload, people become skeptical of company driven marketing messages/efforts.   

They make their buying decisions independently based on “others” and their own research.   People who buy something and have a good experience tell others.   Folks who don’t, tell a different story.  

Happy Customers

Instead of having an elaborate social media outreach effort, companies spend your time, money, effort ensuring that existing customers are satisfied – hopefully, insanely happy. 

Then, they’ll tell everyone else and the fever will grow. Loyal customers do the company’s marketing/sales pro bono. 

They defend the company/products online/off. These folks are the ones who keep firms from becoming commodity sellers. You drive customer loyalty with customer service. And according to Forrester’s Zach Hofer-Shall, customer service isn’t a department, a job function. 

It’s everyone. The first step is to listen.  

Monitor, analyze what is being said about you/your products online.   

Sometimes, you feel as though the only people using social media are the ones who hate your company, your products, you. But most of the online feedback, online reviews are positive.    

Not All Bad – While it feels as though all of the comments, reviews on the Web are running against you, the numbers prove otherwise.   You just have to pay more attention to, spend more time, turning negatives positive or at least neutral.  Source -- Bazaarvoice 

You know, the stuff you enjoy reading, passing around, showing the boss.   

If it’s a problem, an issue, resolve it in realtime.   

Remember, the customer invested the time, money, effort in your product/service; so within reason, focus on making him/her a fan. Usually, solving the problem/the issue is best done offline to determine and solve it 1:1.  

 Fan Clubs

Do it right and you’ve won another fan that will spread the word. When you receive good inputs, ideas from users, tell ‘em so.  

Recognize their contributions in their online community. Then “borrow” the idea, product inputs, recommendations. Sometimes they can give you an “ah ha” moment.  Other times, new market opportunities. 

Often, they give you insights into product enhancements or tomorrow’s hot, sexy big seller.

Along the way, you’ll get a few bumps, bruises but you also have a WW product/market research team, without all the overhead. The traditional business mindset that brands and brand values can be controlled through marketing strategies is no longer appropriate in the social media world.

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Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman's Jocgeek fan page at www.facebook.com/jocgeek, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek.  You can also contact him via email at jocgeek@earthlink.net.  Mike's blog can also be found on the Huffington Post website at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-l-berman/.