Giving up control.
This week’s social media blog posts:
Monday: The two kinds of online consumers.
Tuesday: Creating a Community, Part 1.
Wednesday: Creating a Community, Part 2.
Thursday: Social Media you can own.
Friday: Giving up control.
(This is the twelfth in our series of Social Media posts for the month of October. We look forward to your feedback on this series.)
Where many organizations struggle with the realities and potential of Social Media is in accepting the fact that they aren’t in control of the agenda. Companies cannot force goals on people, can’t control what they say about the brand, can’t spin the facts.
Truth is, the power of Social Media is the ability to hear what customers are REALLY SAYING. There is tremendous opportunity in searching out negative comments and addressing them directly. Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to be responsive. Ignoring the true conversation coming from customers does no one any good. If someone has a bad story to tell about you, you need to accept it is being told somewhere. (See our post on “United’s Sour Note”) Social Media gives you the opportunity to get out in front of such stories and contribute to a solution.
You can’t control what people are saying about you. What you can do is organize that speech. You can organize it by highlighting the good stuff and rationally responding to the not-so-good stuff. You can organize it by embracing the people who love your brand and challenging them to speak up and share the good word.
Here is an example of how Southwest Airlines uses Social Media to approach this:
You’ll note that “Sean” left a post complaining of a specific customer service concern. A few hours later, “Christi” from Southwest Airlines answered Sean directly, and tries to use this complaint as an opportunity for further conversation. Interestingly enough, “Phil” intervened before Christi had a chance to respond, and “stood up” for the airline, essentially evangelizing on its behalf.
This is typical of how social media works. For Sean, it is an easy outlet to contact the company, and list a specific complaint. The company then had the opportunity to address it, or at least acknowledge its intent to make things right. If nothing else, it had to make Sean feel better about the company being that he knows they “heard” him. His post also opened to the door for Phil, a loyal member of the SWA community, to weigh in.
Having loyal customers jump in and “run interference” for you isn’t that unusual, once you demonstrate to visitors that you are willing to hear what they really have to say, and demonstrate that you are trying to facilitate solutions.
Have a great weekend, and we’ll check in with you next week!
Posted by Mickey
- And now a word from your customers…
- Five Steps to Reputation Management.
- Social Media and Reputation Management.
- Social Media you can own.
- A video demonstration of the principles of Social Media.