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The Rise of The Social Customer and Their Impact on Business

22 May

Fifteen to twenty years ago, if you were dissatisfied with a company’s product or business practices, you’d probably stop buying from them. You might write an angry letter. You might even tell your friends and family (a whopping 25 people, at best) not to patronise that business. Five to ten years ago, you may have called the company’s callcentre, spoke to a customer service advisor and it’s likely that your complaint would have fallen on deaf ears.

But the game has changed thanks to social media. While it may feel like one angry tweet from you may not make much impact, the power of social media makes it possible for dissatisfied customers to change the course of business, even at giant companies. At best, companies are now striving to be more responsive to their customers to show that they care and at worst, companies are now living in fear of these pools of discontent.

There are some great examples of companies who are using social media as a customer care channel very well, including BT, First Direct, Dell, Virgin Media and Barclays, just to name a few. A recent article by BBC Journalist Alexis Akwagyiram highlighted this very issue, explaining how 65% of people surveyed actually thought social media was a better way to communicate with companies than call centres, as the success rate of ‘complaining’ on a social media platform (for everybody to see) was much more effective than talking to a callcentre representative who didn’t seem to have as much power to do anything (not to mention the expense of calling the company and having to wait in a queue whilst listening to awful hold music). With this in mind, could this be the biggest sign yet on how customer service will continue to evolve in the future?

As well as realising the benefits of being on social media to monitor the conversations their customers are having about them, a lot of companies have realised is the cost of not being on these platforms! With this in mind, I wanted to share this brilliant infographic from Frugal Dad, which shows some compelling examples that illustrate the rising power of the social media customer and the reasons why it is so important for companies to be ‘listening’ to what their customers are saying about their business/brand on social media platforms, regardless of the size of the company.

Do you have a favourite story about how an outcry on a social media platform changed the course of business? Or are you a business who is yet to start using social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


An Example of How NOT to Promote Your Social Media Presence!

14 Mar

I’m going to keep this one relatively short! I spotted this whilst having a meal at a restaurant (whose identity will remain anonymous, but there’s no prizes for guessing where it was), yesterday evening:

When I first saw this, the first thing that sprung to mind was:
What’s your Twitter and Facebook username? You’ve got plenty of space to include it on the board, so why haven’t you?!?’

How many customers will love this restaurant enough to Google them, and sift through all the searches to find them? Some may, but most won’t! And bearing in mind this is a restaurant which is part of a national chain, it may take a bit of time to sift through if each restaurant controls its’ own social media presence.

As a social media consultant, I was curious to see if their online presence was as lacklustre as their offline marketing, and to cut a long story short, yes it was!

The restaurants Facebook and Twitter accounts haven’t been updated since 6th January 2012 (which is over 3 months ago), prior to which they last sent messages in the middle of December 2011!

The use of social media by this particular restaurant is a fine example of how NOT to do it.

There could be a number of reasons for the poor marketing and upkeep of their social media profiles. It could be that they don’t have enough time to update it, or it could be that there’s been a change in management, and the new manager isn’t too bothered about social media!

Whatever the reason may be, the golden rule of having a social media presence is this: Update it regularly, especially if you are actively promoting people to follow you!

What is the point of asking people to follow you if you don’t ever update your statuses/messages?

Have you ever experienced any social media fails? If so, how bad were they?

KONY 2012: Could This Be The Most Inspiring Social Media Campaign Of Our Generation?

8 Mar

I’ve highlighted many social media campaigns in the past months, whether it be writing a blog post about them, or sharing them with friends through Facebook and Twitter, but very few campaigns will match the scale and vision that Invisible Children have shown with their campaign ‘Kony 2012’. There is probably no other campaign which will implore you to free up half an hour of your time to watch quite like ‘Kony 2012’.

The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony to a point where he is world famous. However, the reason for this isn’t to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Since the video was released on Monday, it has been since over 21,000,000 times, and that number continues to rise. The hashtag ‘#StopKony’ has been trending on Twitter continuously for the past 48 hours, and continues to do so at the time of writing this post.

Since the launch of this campaign, there have been some criticisms raised by groups which question the charity’s funding, its targeting of American leaders instead of African leaders to instigate change, and accusations that it is failing to criticise the Ugandan government, with its poor human rights record. Invisible Children have issued a detailed response to them here, and ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to support Invisible Children in this cause, but just remember that there are 2 very important facts surrounding this campaign cannot be questioned:

1. The campaign has raised great awareness of Joseph Kony, and the extreme atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army under his leadership, and we probably wouldn’t have had any idea how bad this situation was if it wasn’t for Invisible Children.

2. He must be stopped and something must be done!

The video is 30 minutes long but it’s definitely one that everyone should take the time to watch. If you want to support the cause, you can donate to Invisible Children here or sign the pledge here.

This is an example of what can be accomplished with the power of technology and social media when they are used in the right way!

Watch the video here: