Thursday, March 22, 2018

An Excerpt from “What is Social Media?”

red game tiles spell out "Paradigm Shift" against white tiles

Social Media is a game changer.

Social media has taken off because it fits more with how we interact with the world around us, our friends, and it dovetails with how we make decisions.

We know that ads don’t always tell us the truth, that we can’t believe everything we read in the paper or see on tv. But we are interested in the experiences of our friends, what they recommend and why. And we want immediate access to information without interpreters, intermediaries and marketing hype. We care about some of the things our friends care about and we want them to care about what we care about.

Social media lets us change the world one friend at a time. And sometimes many, many more. It is word of mouth in action.

David Meerman Scott, one of the thought leaders in the space of Social Media, suggests thinking of social media like a cocktail party. Many of the same social niceties apply:

  • Manners are important
  • Don’t be too self promotional
  • Be interested in others
  • Be interesting
  • Be helpful to others if you can be
  • Show up, engage and be engaging.

Don’t think social media is important?

Think again. Your customers, clients and donors have already joined the conversation. What are they saying about you? Don’t know? That’s a problem. And it could be a big one.  Take a look at Dominoes Pizza. They’re a firm that had to get their social media act together in a big hurry after workers posted video of themselves on YouTube doing disgusting things to food in a Dominoes Kitchen.

Past that hurdle, Dominoes realized they had an even bigger  problem. Their pizza sucked and everyone was talking about how bad it was through social media.

In the past, poor customer service and bad products were in the realm of “buyer beware.” But in a world where everyone is talking, a lot of with a shared bad experience or shared dislike of a product or service is a very dangerous thing for a brand.

The old adage used to be that a happy customer told only a few people but an unhappy customer shared his or her negative experience with at least 10 people. Social media means your reach can extend exponentially, and often with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Faced with just such a scenario, Dominoes did something radical. They changed their recipe. They came out and essentially said, “we know our pizza isn’t good. And we’re changing it.” It had been the same recipe for almost fifty years. Why did they do something so radical? Watching the comments from bloggers and those on sites like Twitter, they knew they couldn’t pretend that nothing was wrong. And their very survival depended on changing the core of their business. The end result?   Dominoes doubled its profits.

Dell is another company that uses Social Media to help with customer service. And they directly attribute $3 million dollars in sales to one Twitter account. They firmly recognize that social media is NOT the place to push messages out but to solve problems before they escalate. And they jumped into the space, specifically to address the deteriorating customer service their clients had identified. Now they have 40 bloggers and are leaders in the social media space.

But there is more to social media than customer service. It is one of the best places for market research possible. It provides an immediate source for information, news, opinion – and even feedback on products, services, trends, both current and emerging. It is a place to see if and where the world is shifting, moving, and headed.  Those new to the space are anxious to talk. Those who have been there for a while are just as interested, if not more, in listening.

Various social media channels provide fertile research ground to get an advance look at upcoming trends and emerging conversations amongst key social and economic demographics. In short, you’d pay a lot of money for this research from a marketing firm – but it’s something you can do yourself and be better informed about your clients, customers and donors, and the people that matter to them.

This article is an excerpt from the White Paper called “What is Social Media, ” available for free download by signup on any Babble On webpage half way down on the right side of the site.

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