Social marketing has a few very basic, hard and fast rules and since much of the field is basically evolving as a new social networking system the rules for using it in marketing have to be somewhat malleable too. But one of the most basic principles is that when customers talk about a business in social networking, that business is generally well-served by having a presence in that particular arena. Big brands, however, don't seem to be learning that lesson, as revealed by a recent study from digital marketing firm Acquity Group.
The study from Acquity Group found that, when it comes to the 50 best-known and largest brands in the United States (as measured by Interbrand's Best Retail Brands), fully 71 percent don't respond to customer tweets. This included names like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, most of which got failing grades when it came to multichannel customer service response. While almost paradoxically, 90 percent of the brands are involved on Twitter, only 29 percent respond to customer tweets that mention the customer's interaction with brands.
Several tools have even recently become available to help businesses keep better track of when their business is being mentioned, so that they can make responses accordingly. Twilert, for example, sends updates by e-mail when a brand is mentioned. Yet no matter what tools are used to monitor the feeds for brand mentions, the practice of actually doing so has plenty of potential benefits in its own right.
Social media is the place where customers are telling everyone they know exactly what they think of the services, products, and overall user experience at certain stores. If a Wal-Mart cashier was rude to someone, they commonly take to Facebook or Twitter and tell their friends. When those friends are out shopping, are they now more or less likely to take their business to Wal-Mart? Less likely is a safe bet. That's a loss of sales and attendant revenue for Wal-Mart. But being there to clear up a problem or concern, address an issue, or even just thank someone for saying something nice about the company has benefits beyond the immediate, and the cost of keeping an employee to operate the social media feeds is minimal when compared against the long-term benefits of preventing lost opportunity and encouraging repeat business.
Small business owners, meanwhile, can take similar advantage right away. While they're not likely to be mentioned near as often as big brands, they can still take advantage of mentions on social networks for good or ill. Responding to those mentions gives the added appearance of caring that can make all the difference when it comes to where to purchase goods and services, and in turn makes social networking the kind of thing to keep a close watch on.
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