March 5, 2012
Not too long ago, I was a little miffed that Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) was closed on a Federal holiday. (I might have set my expectations too high.) So, in a passive-aggressive way that can only be handled online, I complained via Twitter. The next day, BCBS DMed me asking for my phone number and a couple hours later, they actually called me. Unheard of. They were actually paying attention!
The incident reminded me of an article written by Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company and a personal hero of mine in digital outreach. In the article, he discusses traveling and being social on the go, but one point stood out, one that is very relevant to our clients and to anyone who has a presence in social media:
"Overall, customers want interaction - they want to be heard, certainly, but they also want action - when they take to Twitter to voice a concern.”
According to an eMarketer.com article, the expectation that a company will respond after a complaint made on Twitter increases by age cohort from 38 percent of 18-24 year-olds all the way up to 65 percent of those in the 55+ age category.
So what does that mean for you? Being social isn’t about selling. It’s about interacting. The first step is to monitor social media channels, from the likes of Twitter all the way to setting up Google news alerts. It’s important to know what people are saying about your brand. This knowledge can help guide your overall social media strategy so when the time comes to take action, you have the proper channels in place to interact in the manner in which your customers expect.
Who you interact with is becoming just as important as how you interact with them as noted by the recently released Edelman Trust Barometer, which compares credibility among job functions. At the top of the list are academics, experts and technical experts, all very relevant in the B2B life science world, which has been using peer-to-peer testimonials for ages. However, last year saw a big leap in perceived trust and cred, 22% to 65%, for regular employees, proving that you don’t need to be a Nobel Laureate to influence perception.
This brings me back to my personal experience with Twitter. My perception of BCBS, which started out as, “How dare you take a Federal holiday off when I have questions!!!” rapidly shifted ever so slightly to, “Wow! They actually care more than I thought.” Twitter enabled an instant connection followed by successful action that moved the needle in my brain. For marketers, it could be the key to building stronger, deeper relationships with your clients.