Archive for July, 2009
I don’t ever post humor, and I delete humor videos when they’re sent to me by friends, but this Onion article about China recognizing the appearance of the 12th website cracked me up! Too many right-on-target references. Can you count how many references there are to recent (and legitimate) news stories about Internet censorship in China?
 OK, so I lied, this is a humor post. But it is my first!
Rather than blasting out advertising indiscriminately to everyone, firms are finding they can target individuals who like their brand and can influence others to see the brand more positively. There are more and more ways to find out who your brand’s advocates and influencers are. That’s because software is now tying the data together so we can actively decide how to reach and, more importantly interact with, our passionate customers. Social media allow us to openly and transparently interact with and have conversations with our customers.
Susan Bratton, JD Lasica, Renee Blodgett and Robert Scoble discuss these aspects of marketing and customer relations in this roundtable in Cambridge as a part of Traveling Geeks 2009.
Companies are using social media to “be where their customers are.” In this panel, sponsored by Omobono and East of England International, up in Cambridge on Friday, Susan Bratton talks about this important change of orientation which more and more companies are putting into practice.
Earlier, in London, some of us had similar conversations with companies who are implementing social media strategies to be in closer touch with their customers. One of the companies I spoke with, in a conversation held under Chatham House Rule (meaning “not for attribution” or “off the record” in US press terminology), the head of customer support told me he had opened a Twitter account, reviews around 500 tweets a day, and helps between 10 and 50 dissatisfied customers resolve problems they’d been having with his company. This apparently takes him only a small amount of time (an hour or two, from what he said) and generates a huge amount of goodwill at very low cost, for his company.
I’ve been advising my clients for at least the past year to not worry about “attracting eyeballs to their web site” but instead to focus on making there presence felt “wherever the customer lives online.” In the case of my customers this means setting up Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts, and then using those to engage in genuine conversations with customers – not one-way marketing-speak.
Oops, almost forgot – listen to what Susan has to say about all of this!
She calls it Social Influence Marketing and it has three core components: 1) Social Listening; 2) Participation; 3) “Appvertising” (Give-to-get).
A theme that came up again and again during our London/Cambridge Traveling Geeks tour was that social media, and especially those that provide “immediate” access to company representatives (such as Twitter), are really changing not only how fast a company can respond to customer questions and problems, but are relocating (dislocating?) where the control of the customer relationship resides within many companies. Twitter provides 24/7 access to company representatives (if they’re actually online), and it shifts the decision point or the point at which the company takes responsibility for a problem, outward from the PR department and “C-level” executives (CEO etc.) to the actual front lines where the company’s employees are talking with the customers! Here’s what Robert Scoble said about this in a roundtable held in Cambridge on Friday. The sponsor of this session, Omobono, also has put up a page about the Traveling Geeks visit.