26 Feb 2011

Reputation Management

Many businesses are keen to use social media but hold back because of a fear of negative comments and how to manage their reputation on-line. The reality is that people will be talking about your business on social networks whether you have an official presence or not.

Customers have the right to complain and often take to Twitter as a sign of sheer frustration after their emails or phone calls have been ignored. Many large companies are improving their customer care reputation with customer service staff resolving issues in real time. Examples would be @BTCare and @Orangehelpers.

The key is to address the issue by acknowledging the complaint, apologising for the customer being unhappy and offering to investigate and find a solution. The initial contact can be made on the social network but I'd recommend taking the conversation off-line. Disgruntled customers want to explain what the issue is, they want you to listen and understand why they are unhappy, and most importantly they want a solution that they deem acceptable. If they have been frustrated with the service so far a phone call and a chat with a "real person" could turn the situation around. Meanwhile, those who have seen the exchanges on Twitter will have the impression that the business is trying it's best to offer good customer service, rather than ignoring the problem.

Social networks certainly turn up the volume on word of mouth but if you listen to your customers and approach problems in a professional manner the end result can have a positive effect on your reputation. On that note I'd like to thank Jon at @OrangeHelpers who took 5 minutes to rectify an issue I was having with broadband, fantastic customers service and very friendly too.

10 Feb 2011

Facebook: What's not to "Like"?

Every business using social media should be measuring and monitoring the activity to ensure ROI, spot trends and develop their strategy to meet the needs of the audience and reach the goals set.

There are many ways to do this but counting the number of "likes" or followers is a questionable form of measurement.

For example, I could set up a FB business page and ask 300 contacts to "like" it. If they are not the correct target market what value does this offer the business? If the FB page attracts only 50 fans, who love the product, buy from the business and recommend it to others surely that's a better reflection of success than counting "likes"?

A FB page could generate huge amounts of traffic for a company website and not receive one single "like". A teenager visiting a FB page about sexual health is unlikely to become a fan as that kind of status update may cause embarrassment amongst peers and relatives. Debt, bullying and infertility are other examples of pages which from the outside may not appear to be engaging many people but the traffic and enquiries could tell a very different story. It's the old adage about never judging books by their covers.

If I can help with your social media strategy please feel free to contact me.

7 Feb 2011

1994 - What is the internet?

Cast your mind back to 1994,the internet was a shiny new toy and email the latest accessory. Fast forward 17 years and Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn are todays equivalent.
If you are considering using social media to reach an audience of potential customers, clients, journalists and peers, don't make the same mistake as NBC's "The Today Show" presenters.
Do your homework, think about the message you want to deliver and understand how the tools work before you go live.
Need help? Get in touch.