Helping Customers Understand Social Media

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 in Social Media by Ruthann Swain

I often find myself in the situation of explaining social media and setting expectations, usually in a small to medium business to business situation. Social media, as we all know, is still changing and growing. But there are some basics and these basics can apply to not only social media but marketing in general. 

  1. Set expectations with the business client

This will often mean you need to explain certain terminology, for example what a fan is, and what a good fan is. Yes you can build a fan base with Facebook ads, but that doesn't mean they are all good fans. Set this expectation, make sure the client knows that you could attract 100 fans with an ad, but maybe only 5 of them will actually interact or care about your product.

This can sometimes mean letting your client know that their participation is necessary. If your client wants more sales or traffic, they need to be willing to interact with their end customers. If your client is not willing to do this, then this social media strategy will fail. There is no other good way to know WHY a customer is buying your product or coming into your store but to ask. If your client is not willing to take a personal interest in their social media investment, then an open honest conversation needs to be had. It is called "social" media for a reason. You need to care.

2. Know thy end customer:

This is where I think the Customer Scenario Mapping tool would be very useful. Have your clients walk through how they think their end-customers would use their social media outlets. What would they like the customer experience to be? How do they expect the customer to take that action we are asking them to take? I truly believe this would be an eye opening experience to many a business. I also believe it would greatly influence the strategy and allow you to set better expectations. Creating the scenarios alone would be interesting: where in the purchasing cycle does the customer need to be before they will reach out to use your tools? Are there gaps that you could fill with other social methods? (e.g. customers supporting customers?) Are you asking them to take the right action at the right time?

Once you have gotten their viewpoint about how they THINK their end-customers will use social media, then do the scenario mapping with their end customers. I wonder how different the results would be....

Has anyone done this?

 

1 comment


  • Patty_author
    Patricia Seybold on January 9, 2013 at 10:49 p.m.

    Hi Ruth Ann--

    I agree with your assertions--I think one benefit that smaller and mid-size companies have over really big companies (many of which tend to use specialist agencies to manage their social media strategies), is that one person or a couple of people can establish a really personal connection with end-customers via social media. Take a look for example at Alaska Airlines' use of Twitter to turn customer complaints and confusion into real proactive customer service. There seem to be only 1 or 2 Alaska Airlines' people handling a LOT of Twitter activity. By and large, they hand these folks off to their customer service team, but they do it in a seamless way.

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