I was watching the Quiet Man – if you are old enough you will remember this John Wayne classic. Its the story of a man who has to fight his brother-in-law Red Danaher. He’s a man who realises only just in time what he has to do to save his marriage – in this case fight Red.
Many businesses are choosing to ignore social media in the same way that John Wayne ignored Red. If you ignore it, it might go away – or it’s a battle for another day.
Many businesses just have not woken up to how social media can help them do the most difficult thing today, in a world where services and products are seen as mere commodities, engage with their customers.
It provides low cost and high impact ways of reaching them. There are four main ways, I believe:
- Product Research. Your customers are your best R&D tool. Collecting their feedback and engaging in a discussion with them can give you vital feedback on what’s good and bad about your offer. Simple searching on Twitter allows businesses to see what people are saying about them, and provides the potential for two way dialogue.
- Community Building. Who doesn’t want a loyal group of customers? Grouping them together can allow them to share their interests. Facebook has over 300m users, and many businesses now have Fan Pages.
- Customer Service. Without spending big bucks on marketing, businesses can engage with their customers on a new level, creating a contact channel for customers. Companies such as Zappos already have all of their employees using Twitter.
- Marketing and Promotion. There are new routes to find customers. Channels such as Facebook and Twitter as well as well written company blogs can attract new customers. Facebook is also a marketing channel – one that I have used – which enables you to target small customer group niches.
Historically businesses broadcast their messages – technology now allows two-way customer dialogue. It surprises me that most businesses ignore it.