Treat Social Media Like Real Life: Don’t Ignore Your Customers

9 Aug

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates”

Mr Gates certainly had a point here and it’s something a lot of brands are still ignoring. Despite many brands embracing social media and having presences on everything from Facebook, to Twitter and more, some people still don’t know how to use it properly.

It has come to our attention that several brands are using Facebook and are engaging with their fans, but are doing something crucially wrong. What’s that you ask?

They’re deleting Facebook comments, or even worse – banning users from their Facebook pages.

Never before have brands had the opportunity to be so close to their customers, so the worst thing about this is that you might have deleted that user, but that person uses social media and chances are they’re on Twitter too. So everybody is going to know that you’ve deleted them, which isn’t going to give the best impression.

A Small World

People talk out there…and they will be talking about you, your brand and exactly what they think about it. Some of these people are bloggers, who are influential and someone who your customers trust more than brands. This is worth bearing in mind.

The best thing to do is to use these negative comments and learn from them. These comments are sometimes a lot more honest than you’ll receive in general, because these users are not afraid to speak their mind and that trust is worth its weight in gold. Talk to your customers – they want to be heard.

A two-way relationship

Only listening to and responding to positive comments won’t allow your brand to grow online – there’s no scope for that. So take those negative comments and really use them to turn unhappy customers into happy customers.

By engaging with users in a way that allows for them to feel listened to, you’re going to do better in sales, have more of a welcome on social media and more than anything – create a positive online brand awareness.

Happy tweeting

Some of Teacup’s friends also told us that they experience a lot of brands who also don’t know how to fully use Twitter. This is a shame, as this is a very powerful medium and brands have the world at their feet through this microblogging site.

Brand’s main sins were only retweeting content that was about themselves, or not engaging with users on Twitter. That’s the normal sin on Twitter – only talking about you. Who wants to be in a one-way conversation? You would hate it at a dinner party, so why do brands think this is okay on Twitter?

Take an interest in your followers, create conversation (but don’t interrupt user’s conversation – it’s not very respectful to just butt in!), and make sure you know who your brand’s influencers are and what they’re talking about. Don’t ignore them either, otherwise they will start shouting!

Make sure you talk about things that aren’t all business related – it’s all about humanising brands. People want to know you’re not a robot.

Basically, it’s simple. Brands should act like real people in real, everyday situations:

  • Don’t be rude
  • Don’t ignore people
  • Don’t just delete people
  • Do talk about more than just sales
  • Do engage with people
  • Do talk about more than yourself
  • Do ask questions

Do you think we’ve missed anything? Do let us know – we’d love to hear your views!

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One Response to “Treat Social Media Like Real Life: Don’t Ignore Your Customers”

  1. Stephanie G August 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    I think this is a good article summarizing the flaws in how companies use social media.

    “These comments are sometimes a lot more honest than you’ll receive in general, because these users are not afraid to speak their mind and that trust is worth its weight in gold. Talk to your customers – they want to be heard.”

    This paragraph makes me think of an episode of Lily Allen : from Riches to Rags:

    In the episode of the TV show, Mary Portas invited consumers to give opinions on the brand’s concept. Because the consumers were not saying what Lily wanted to hear, she just stormed out of the room, without listening to them. Mary is saying it perfectly: “It’s gold-dust information. Even if we don’t want to hear it, it’s the truth”.
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/lily-allen-from-riches-to-rags/4od#3200527

    I think those companies should take their customer’s opinions in consideration. Yes, some of them are going to criticised just to be mean, but some just really want to enhance the products.

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