We hear Social Media demands “personal” engagement. How can personal engagement scale? Isn’t that exactly why we moved to a statistical marketing model in the first place? How is Social Media going to help?
Let’s try to answer that question.
While the monthly e-mail newsletter may still be applicable in some cases, Social Media create new possibilities of soft engagement that can be less intrusive and more sensitive to customer interest.
Nurturing a social media community involves people having real and meaningful interactions. Other than the occasional company-sponsored golf outing, traditional marketing stay away from personal interactions and focus on automated statistical methods because engagement is difficult to scale in traditional media.
The promise of social media is to scale personal engagement.
Because social media is open, customer can initiate an interaction. They can follow the company Twitter channel, or comment in the company blog, or share a link to content in the website, or complain about a product in social media. Each of those actions create the opportunity for a personal interaction, a small dialog that happens over the action.
So, yes, the company needs to assign people and resources to monitor conversations in social media and react to it, be it by thanking for an action, fixing a problem, or participating in a discussion.
How does that scale?
- Interaction effects propagate through social connections. When someone interacts with your brand in social media, their social connections also perceive a personal interaction as well. “My friend was talking to this company and…”
- People identify with their peers. When you interact personally with someone in public, all other people who identify themselves with that person will also feel personal effects of that interaction. “I was waiting for boarding and saw the agent helping this other passenger…”
- Brand Advocates become influencers. As you build a community and develop a positive relationship with it, social media let your brand advocates do the work for you. Your advocates will defend your brand, help other customers with problems, forward your content with their implicit endorsement, recommend your products, etc.
After a first transaction, the work of traditional marketing was to pursue Customer Loyalty. In the Social Business era, companies need to strive to turn happy customers in Brand Advocates and cultivate the direct channels to let them influence others. Rather than publishing glossy Case Studies, you can directly connect your happy customers to your prospects in much more authentic and transparent interaction.