Thanks to social media, we hear about businesses being awesome (or NOT awesome) every day. An example of awesomeness would be the Ritz-Carlton giving a left-behind stuffed giraffe an extended vacation. Unawesomeness is a customer tweeting a photo of receipt where the staff used a racial slur in on a customer’s receipt. Whether it’s awesome or unawesome, your customers are out there reacting to your brand. Scott Stratten, marketing strategist and author of Unmarketing and The Book of Business Awesome wants you to be awesome and offers a few tips.
1. Don’t define the brand
Stratten says “We don’t dictate our brand. We don’t define our brand. The perception of our audience does.” At the end of the day, your customer’s won’t remember your regal logo, clever commercials or glossy print ads. They will only remember how your brand made them feel. Remember that you don’t define the market, the market defines you.
2. Improve your front line
The cashier, receptionist or phone operator are the first and sometimes the only person your customer speaks to in your organization. Does your front-line staff reflect the quality and values of your brand? Unfortunately, these individuals are usually the least appreciated individuals and the lowest paid. Dissatisfied employees can reflect poorly on your company, so investment in these important individuals is paramount. Stratten advises that “marketing and human resources work together to ensure that the right people with the right temperament and the right skills are in those customer-facing roles that make or break the brand promise.”
3. Create enthusiasm
Stratten defines customers as either “static” or “ecstatic”. Static customers are price sensitive and will come and go as soon as your competitor’s next Groupon is available. Ecstatic customers are loyal and will like and share all of your posts on Facebook. To move customers from static to ecstatic, ask for their feedback. Statten suggests an anonymous online survey with the option of an email address so they can be contacted for a resolution. Incentives for completing the survey will also increase participation.
4. Use the right technology
Don’t sign up on every social media site and use every piece of technology simply because it is available. Where do your customers “hang out” online? Are they on Facebook? Pinterest? Do they prefer to be contacted by email? Stratten uses the example of the ubiquitous QR code, which appears everywhere, including phone books – anyone who is still actually using a phone book probably does not even know what a QR code is! Use technology that is appropriate for your audience and remember that you do not have to be everywhere.
5. The numbers don’t tell the whole story
Stratten points out that marketers love data, “especially if they can grab a quick sound bite of data that justifies what they’re doing or justifies changing what they’re doing.” He suggests using the 10-10-10 rule for Twitter. Assume that 10% of your followers are online at a given time. 10% of those followers will actually see the Tweet and 10% of them will act on it.
6. Be mindful of your social media voice
Have a plan and a consistent, friendly voice for your social media campaigns. Not everyone needs to participate. Stratten suggests, “instead of calling for mandatory engagement, even from your executives, choose social media ambassadors who are good with people.” Remember that social media is not a one-way street. It’s about engaging with your customer and not simply an advertising portal. Stratten says “Twitter is a conversation, not a dictation. Social media is social, not media. People are there to talk with people, not just listen to you or your dictation about your brand.”
7. Be there
Social media gives companies the opportunity to respond to customers in real-time, but you have to show up to the party! Years ago, when a customer had a problem, they’d write a letter or an email and the company could take their time with their response, but those days are long gone. Stratten gives an example of a tweet about his brother’s troubles with a mobile service. The company didn’t respond, but a rival company did, resulting in him switching to the more responsive service.
For more insights on being awesome and highlights from Stratten’s presentation download the white paper Business Awesome: Part Analytics, All Attitude.