Why Should A Business Care About Social Media?

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They talk about your company here

Earlier today I read a blog post on Radian6‘s website which really got me thinking about how businesses understand their consumer environment. I started writing and ended up writing pages on lead user innovation, the consumer decision-making process, and experiential sales and marketing. So, here is a comment/reply to the post Getting to Know Your Social Customers and the beginning of my thoughts…

Consumers choose products that provide the greatest value – not necessarily in terms of cost savings, but in terms of overall benefits, which might include the approval of peers.” 1

So, why waste time on sites like Twitter and Facebook? Well, that is where your social customer lives (at least part of the time). That is where the customer meets with his peers and discusses recent experiences.  It is certainly a forum where they converse and discuss their good and bad experiences with your company. And, a lot of it is not just seen by the individual or individuals they are speaking directly to, they share it with the world, [Internet] search-able and tied to your company’s name. Imagine a disgruntled customer posts a brand damaging comment on a blog noting that they called your customer service and the customer service representative blew them off. The next time a customer types your company’s name into Google and presses search – that post becomes one of the results. That post or “customer evaluation of your company” might even be typed and posted before your customer service representative hangs up the phone.

Like it or not social media is part of your company’s consumer environment. An upside to this is that it allows easy access for you to gain consumer insight. You can interact with your customers by harnessing lead user innovation from your product’s early adopters, engaging your loyal consumers with tips, coupons, gifts, and promotions, and allows you to interact with disgruntled customers and work on methods to make them champions of your product or company. Customers share all of these actions on social media sites. We all know that in the days of “only brick and mortar” storefronts the average customer told ~5 people about their good experience with your company and ~20 people of bad experience with your company. Well, now with social media they share these experiences with the world and unlike a verbal conversation these comments are available forever.

1 – Blackwell, Roger D., Paul W. Miniard, and James F. Engel. Consumer Behavior. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western, 2006. Print.

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