Brian Solis had an interesting post recently (OK, many of his posts are interesting), touching on a critical corporate turf issue in the use, or misuse, of social media: namely, who within an enterprise should be managing social engagement? He notes that the marketing department and/or its attendant agencies typically control social media… and in much the manner, it seems, that they’d handle any traditional media: send out the message as if not expecting a response, or not being accountable for responding to consumer input, good or bad.
SOCIAL MEDIA TURNS ANTI-SOCIAL WHEN THERE’S NO RESPONSE
This reveals itself as an even more significant issue than you might imagine when Solis goes on to cite an Altimeter Group study that shows, as above, the corporate departments most likely to be controlling social media are marketing or marketing communications, while the least likely is customer service. So much for customer-centricity as a brand-building orientation, especially when you consider other research, by Maritz and evolve24, which documents the fact that 64% of consumers tweeting to a company expect a their tweets to be read… but only 29% get a response.
THROW A PARTY AND THEN IGNORE THE GUESTS?
Social media is the big corporate marketing party these days, and it’s attracting a standing room only crowd. But building brand engagement, trust and loyalty through social media – or even preventing its destruction – requires being a good host. That means not only serving up the tweets, but replying in a meaningful way, too.
The rewards for doing so are significant. The Maritz/evolve24 study shows that while a paltry 29% receive a response when tweeting a beloved brand, such responses elicit what can only be assumed as a loyalty-inducing state: “32% and 51.5% said they either loved [the response] or liked it, respectively.”
IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SOCIAL ME-ME-MEDIA
Of course, it’s more than just a problem of organizational responsibility – it’s an issue of corporate mindset. An A.T. Kearney report from December 2011 illustrates how marketers too often still see social media as they do traditional media, simply another platform for one-way messaging rather than active dialogue. According to the study, related in a post by Melissa McNaughton, some 94% of brands on Facebook direct fans to pages that offer no opportunity to comment or initiate conversation. In short, they’ve turned an interactive medium into an inactive one, simply inviting consumers to “turn the page” as they would with a brochure.
IS YOUR BRAND TRULY SOCIAL?
What are your favorite examples of brands that are truly social – listening, posting, responding, and offering more than just promotional pap? How do they manage their process?