According to some recently published data from Insight Strategy Group, users have mixed feeling about brands using social media. It is a place where the majority of users prefer to give a brand feedback, but at the same time, find it intrusive is a brand reaches out to them.
There’s always an exception to the rule, and because numbers don’t always tell the whole story, I’m pairing up the study’s data with some real-life examples from yours truly:
Study Data - 64 percent said they “hate” when they are targeted via their social network profiles.
On Twitter, brands begin to follow me based on words I use when tweeting or the 140-character bio I have written for myself. Here are three examples of brands that have followed me in the past week on Twitter:
Do these brands have any relevancy to me, despite a trigger word I must have typed to prompt them to follow me? No. The “Home Business AAA” looks like a scam. I rent an apartment, and therefore have no need for Champion Windows. And if Domino Sugar knew anything about me, they’d know that I don’t cook (much) or bake (at all).
Do I “hate” that I’m targeted via my Twitter profile? No. Despite following me on Twitter, these brands have never perused any interaction with me.
Takeaway For Brands: Strategize who you communicate with instead of shooting in the dark, hoping to hit something.
Study Data - 60 percent find it annoying when brands communicate with them via Facebook or Twitter.
Had any of the above companies tried to communicate with me, despite any relevancy to my wants or needs, I would have been annoyed. But the good experiences far outweigh the bad.
Take the examples to the right:
In the first example, APMA (the American Podiatric Medical Association) was clearly monitoring Twitter for conversations surround Podiatry and appropriately responded to my tweet!
In the second example, I was so delighted with my first experience with StubHub, I wanted to give them a shout out. I was happy to see that StubHub response and will definitely use them again in the future.
Last example: I @ mentioned one of my favorite artists and she replied. Annoying? Quite the opposite! It’s great to know that the people behind the brand are attentive and responsive.
Takeaway For Brands: Reach out when appropriate and in the appropriate manner. Don’t know how to deal with an angry user? See this.
Study Data – 55 percent feel that they can have a strong impact on a company by writing about it on a social networking site
55 percent believe writing about a product, service, or show on a social networking site is the best way to give a company feedback
As you can already tell, I’m in the 55%. To me, social media is my preferred channel of feedback to a company.
To brands, they should harness the good from dealing with feedback in a public manner. Why? Here’s how Social Media Examiner explains it:
When a negative issue comes up, a common gut reaction is to ask to move the conversation offline. But when you do this, the world can’t see all the effort you put into fixing the problem.
Nobody sees the private email where you give that sincere apology. We can’t search for that phone conversation where you politely explain why the situation happened in the first place
Takeaway For Brands: Whether you want to use your social media channels as a way for customers to provide feedback or not, your customers do. Prepare for it. Make a plan.