Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Short Case Study of Wasted Social Media Opportunity

When a company finally comes around to the decision that Social Media is worth the effort, there are many questions that have to be addressed in order to develop an *effective* strategy. However, instead of focusing on how to use Social Media, companies often run invest in over-complex, under-utilized systems, when all that's really needed is a simple, clear strategy. Today's post is a look at an example of a wasted Social Media opportunity.

I'm currently in Salem, MA, where I find I've run into a little problem - I can't get a decent cup of coffee. After trying coffee at a number of locations, I'm beginning to despair. I turned to Twitter, to reach out to locals that might be in my network. Within seconds I received a simple, direct answer from the Hawthorne Hotel. They said that they stand by their coffee. Cost to them? 30 seconds of time. We immediately decided to give them a try.

But, when we arrived to partake of this decent coffee, the maitre d' couldn't find us a seat in a half-empty dining room. We were told that they were booked, and if we waited more than an hour, they might be able to squeeze us in.

It was such a brilliant example of why Social Media Strategy needs to be planned. Did last night's message need to come with a warning to reserve a table? Did the Hotel tweeter need to check w/the restaurant first? Clearly there was a massive disconnect between the one and the other. And the loss was more than just two meals - if we had loved that coffee, we might have been back over and over. And I might have raved on all my Social Media spaces, driving more business to them.

I've seen this before - Social Media that offers with one hand, and reality that takes away with the other. Before you tell your viewers to "Fan us on our Facebook Page" think about what you will be offering them - what is their motivation to be your "Fan"? Will you offer enough to keep them there? And if you run a promotional campaign through that space, will they get what you're offering?

It may be true that "If you build it they will come," but on Social Media you're going to want to know what you are building and what your customers will see when they get there. Otherwise, it's a wasted opportunity.
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