Sometimes people just miss the point, right? I mean, you’re going along having a conversation that you feel the other person is understanding, and then they say something that just completely blows your mind. You suddenly realize they do not get the point AT ALL of what you’re saying. I feel like that’s happening more and more in the social media space where brands are out there listening and talking, but they are missing the real point of having meaningful and engaging social media interactions. They are missing the point of social media. I was having major issues with a local restaurant chain a couple of months ago. Every time I went in after a stressful, long day at work they got my order completely wrong. Of course, busy little me forgot to check the order before I left the store, so it wasn’t until I was at home and starving that I realized they forgot the bread bowl or put the wrong soup that I’m allergic to in the bag. When I reached out on social, I received a cookie cutter response and a five dollar gift card. First off, why the hell would I go back to a restaurant that consistently gets my order wrong and is incredibly rude when I confront them about it? Second off, my goal tweeting about it was to have the corporate office directly contact the local restaurant because something is obviously wrong for them to consistently give out the wrong orders and create a miserable customer service order. This is an example of a company that is just completely missing the point of having an authentic social media relationship with a consumer.
I was having a separate issue with ZocDoc, a company I absolutely love, around the same time. I was filling out all of the forms online for the doctors, yet all of the doctors I went to were still requiring me to fill out the stack of forms when I arrived. This meant I had to fill out at least ten medical forms TWICE each time I went to the doctor. I also had another doctor overcharging me and then trying to keep the money. I sent a quick tweet to ZocDoc about the annoying nature of having to fill out forms twice, and I immediately had a response on Twitter. That was followed by a direct message AND a personalized voicemail from their corporate office in NYC. It was about 9:30pm by the time I could call them back that day, and they answered and had me to talk to the same guy who left a message for me. He spent a half hour listening to my story, assuring me they would contact each doctor’s office I had to fill duplicate forms out at. He said that there is no way I should be filling out forms at the doctor’s office after I’ve filled them out online. He also told me he would leave a note in the record of the doctor who was overcharging me, and encouraged me to leave my own review explaining the situation. Then, ZocDoc also sent me a gift card. This company gets social.
Here are five ways brands (and perhaps you) are missing the point of social media:
You’re Only Engaging With Influencers
Yes, influencers can be an incredibly powerful tool for your brand when you need to amplify your message. However, if you are only focusing on the followers with big numbers, you are completely missing the point of social media AND missing out on powerful, loyal customers. When I worked for a large corporation I was told to ignore anything from anyone with under 1500 followers on Twitter. I refused, and it worked to my advantage. When I responded to a guy with less than 100 followers, a popular artist saw the response and immediately engaged with our brand. Suddenly, we had an entire campaign was started with this artist just because he saw a tweet sent to a non-influencer that he thought was cool.
While numbers are great, they are not everything. Often times the most influential advocates for your brand will be the ones with minimal followers on social media but strong connections in the real world that can move mountains for your brand awareness and loyalty. For more on how to choose influencers for your brand, because it is still something you should consider at the end of the day, check out this post → Choosing Influencers For Your Brand Isn't About The Numbers.
You’re Ignoring Negative Comments
This is a HUGE mistake tons of brands are making and have been making since the beginning of branded social media. They believe they will draw more attention to the negative aspects of the brand if they respond, or they don’t feel like getting in the middle of something. There are only ONE time you should not respond to negative comments → when someone is trolling your page. Do you need help figuring out just how to respond to the haters of your brand? Check out some tips here → How To Deal With Your Haters Via #SocialMedia.
You’re Not Joining Third-Party Conversations
One of the most overlooked powerful tools of social media is joining third-party conversations about your industry. This not only increases your brand awareness and visibility, but it also builds you as a thought leader within your industry. Every brand can use some more credibility.
If this isn’t something you naturally think about, carve a specific time out each day to natively search for conversations that you could join as a brand and then send out a meaningful message to join the conversation. The key here is meaningful. If you have nothing of value to add to the conversation, don’t join it. This could backfire and make you look like a trolling brand that has no business being in that conversation. Carefully craft a message that is impactful.
You’re Not Investing Real $$
Unfortunately, social media is now a pay-to-play world and if you’re not paying, you’re not playing. This does not mean you need to drop a grand on a post a week. Posts that are boosted for as little as ten dollars can bring in some big results if you target them correctly. The key is making sure that you are targeting a specific audience to your brand so you are joining the right conversations. Make sure the content you're providing would look natural in someone’s news feed and not be a red flag that makes them feel that they are strongly being advertised to. The more it feels like it’s a natural part of their feed through correct content and targeting, the more positive reactions you will get.
You’re Tying A Monetary ROI To EVERYTHING
I get that ROI is important, but I also have been in social media long enough to understand that there is a much greater ROI to social than conversions and money. While those are incredibly important and possible through social media, when you focus JUST on those, you are completely missing the point of being on social media. Social media is about having authentic conversations, building trust and providing value to current and prospective customers. If you are doing all of these things correctly, the money and conversions will come. However, if you’re focusing on none of these things and only thinking money and conversions, you will be less likely to see the money come in because people will feel the authenticity of your messaging.
Taking the extra time to do social media right is ALWAYS worth it. You will be amazed at how authentic relationships forged on social media between brands and their consumers can completely transform the entire selling experience for both parties.
Take some time this week and try to implement some of these tactics. Let me know in the comments if they work for you.
- Marji J. Sherman