If you think that social networking sites are just another platform for you to tote the benefits of your brand/products/services, it’s time to reevaluate your social media marketing strategy. Social media is a two way street; don’t forget that! Your social network is expecting you to listen to them, just as you hope they are listening to you. But are you really paying attention?
A recent study by MarketTools found that nearly half of the companies they surveyed think their customers don’t comment or complain about their products and services online, and 22% did not know whether their customers did so or not. To that I have one thing to say: really guys?
I take pride in my company’s A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but I don’t think that means that every single person I have ever interacted with doesn’t have one single negative comment about my business or me. I don’t take it personally, I understand that I can’t make everyone 100% happy 100% of the time. But I try my best to address negative comments or feedback that I come across on social networks, to avoid it snowballing out of control.
For instance, for a while I was promoting some of my partners’ content through my social networks. I had one of my LinkedIn connections reach out to me and say they thought I was overdoing it. He didn’t say it in the most polite way, but I got the message regardless. There is a fine line between content promotion and content spamming and I was getting a little too close to the spamming end of the spectrum. I realized that I was annoying this particular connection with the amount of content I was promoting and thought he might not be the only one feeling the same way. I didn’t ignore his message, even though I didn’t agree with the tone.
Social networks were created to let the users express their opinions about any and everything. They could complain about their class schedule, brag about their new car; talk about a favorite band and so forth. Brands are actually late comers to the social networking scene, and some still aren’t willing to play by the rules. You cannot try to dominate the conversation with your social network! It’s a give and take. Most brands are good at the “give” part and share great content, but not as many are as good at the “take.”
If you want your social media marketing to succeed, you have to be willing to engage with your network, even when they are upset. Brands no long have the luxury of waiting until the fire burns out before they address a situation. You have to be willing to listen, to hear and to engage with your network head on.