I traveled a lot this weekend, and after my nice little snafu with Frontier Airlines (more on that here --> If Your Brand Is A 24/7 Service, Then Your Social Media Needs To Be A 24/7 Service ), I had ZERO expectations of US Airways to acknowledge any of my Tweets. However, as a social media strategist, it's nearly impossible for me to not include the handles I know of brands. So, I kept US Airways' handle in my Tweet of an awesome sunset from my flight, and went on with my life.
Much to my surprise, LESS than an hour later, they responded:
Lesson learned? My low expectations worked to US Airways' benefit when they actually responded to my Tweet. There was a lot more value to it since I didn't necessarily expect it after expectations set for me by another airline.
Now, that's a perfect scenario, right?! Just have consumers with low expectations. However, Frontier Airlines didn't fair so nicely when I had high expectations set by their "Be A Social Animal" campaign advertised all over their terminal. Due to their extensive branding of their social networks, I was shocked when they DIDN'T respond to me until the next day, and even then, it was a catty response.
I naturally am a high-expectation person, and I am in the social media industry, so I took to Twitter to find out if other consumers have expectations just as high as I do, and I found out ---> they do.
Based on those convos, and my own opinion, here are my top five consumer expectations a brand should be aware of:
- Consistency: If you can't be online all of the time, that's fine, but STATE IT SOMEWHERE. Provide your hours on your social networks and ad messaging that clearly states when people can expect you to be online. You will avoid MANY headaches and complaints by setting the expectation that you are just simply not a 24/7 social community. Be careful here, though. If your service is 24/7, then your social should be too.
- Authenticity: Stick to your brand values, and be real with your consumers. At the end of the day, they know it's another human on the other end of that Twitter handle, so you better have some resemblance of humanity and transparency. Don't try to fit into every social trend, or copy every brand that is doing social well. Find your own voice, and stick to it. Who knows, maybe then you'll become one of those brands that people drool over on social.
- Responsiveness: Why should a consumer engage with on social media if you aren't even taking the time to engage with them? Consumers expect a response when they reach out to you on social media, so make it a mission to get every question out there answered by your team. Period.
- Value: As with any social relationship, it's give and take. If you are taking your consumers' time, then you need to give them something in return. Make sure your content resonates with what THEY want, not just want you think they want. (Learn more here --> How To Produce VALUABLE Content In Social Media )
- Empathy: This is the hardest, but one of the most important, expectations to meet. As a brand, you are not a human. However, as a social brand, you need to have human qualities. Consumers want to feel understood when they write in about issues they're having with your products, and when they share a story with you on social about your brand. Empathy also means understanding when you make a mistake as brand, and owning up to it by understanding what that mistake cost your consumers.
Most likely your consumers have some, if not all, of these expectations whether you set them or not. The word 'social' carries a lot of expectations with it, and it's critical that you meet them as a social brand. If you don't, you could end up with an angered consumer who writes a blog about it, or, even worse, end up with a consumer that decides your lack of social connection is enough for them to disconnect from your brand.
- Marji J. Sherman