Friday Jan 18, 2013

5 Co$ts of Lousy Twitter Engagement

dead endTo be blunt (when am I not?), brands are blowing it when it comes to social engagement.  But right behind the bluntness, there’s good news. Technology tools are here to turn social engagement & monitoring into an asset instead of a liability.

An Acquity Group study reveals 45 out of 50 major retailers have active Twitter accounts. That’s good, right? Maybe not. Only 29% of them respond to customer questions and complaints. Let’s really soak that in. 71% are completely ignoring customers that liked the brand so much, they willingly clicked to connect with them. Which brings us to…

Co$t 1: Breaking your Customer’s Heart
In the hierarchy of human fears, only failure and death top the fear of rejection. Imagine expressing your affection for someone, and they ignore you. How warm and fuzzy do you think ignored followers feel toward a brand they expressed love for? In an era where customer service is the whole ball game, and with customers more empowered than ever, rejection is a very odd strategy to adopt.

Co$t 2: Helping your Competition Win
If you ignore your customers, make no mistake, a competing product will be ready to receive them with open arms. They’ll be going out of their way to prove they’re not like you, that they’ll treat the customer better. You’re giving your competition an engraved invitation to erase you.

Co$t 3: Being too Busy to Make Money
Brands not only have to sell, they have to sell again. Happy customers are the root of repeat buying. Repeat customers are very cost-efficient. All you have to do is reasonably service them. Ignoring a customer tweet is like coming right out and saying on your phone line, “Hold if you want to, your call really isn’t that important to us.” These people are trying to spend money with you, ignoring them on social costs leads and sales.

Co$t 4: Creating Anti-ambassadors
We know how powerful word of mouth marketing is. But word of mouth brand-bashing is even more powerful. Give someone a horrible experience on phone support, and that’s between the two of you (you hope). Give someone a horrible experience on social, and the world is watching how you treat customers. Social is where users go to advise each other. It’s a dangerous place to put your worst foot forward.

Co$t 5: Stopping Innovation
Your customers know your products intimately. They’re in the trenches with them every day. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They want to help you make your products, and your service, better. They want you to win. If you’re committed to not listening, or if you perceive suggestions as attacks, you’re passing on a raving fan base the likes of which you never thought possible.

None of the above costs are necessary. Social engagement & monitoring can give you listening, engagement and analysis capabilities across not just Twitter, but all social channels, so you can know what customers are saying, route issues to the right personnel, respond in real time, and not even give customers the chance to consider competitors. Armed with monitoring data, you can then measure overall sentiment, adjust strategy to changing customer conversations, and grow your brand advocacy.

The days of brands calling all the shots are over. The public has decided how they will use social where brands are concerned. If we aren’t there or don’t answer when they reach out, there is a price to be paid.

@mikestiles
Photo: istockphoto

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