Sunday, July 18, 2010

Create an Exceptional Social Media Reputation in 3 Easy Steps (And Ruin it in 1)

Social Media is Mainstream. Moms and Dads follow their kids on Facebook. Businesses communicate with customers on Twitter, customers check in on Foursquare to get discounts, people use LinkedIn to look for jobs. There's no need for explanations any more so your friends or peers "get" Social Media.

So, what's left to be said? Well...a lot , really.

I still see businesses using Social Media without paying attention to the positive AND negative effects of their use. It's not just about being professional (although that goes a long, long way to establishing a good reputation.) It's about building something based on high standards and polished execution. 

Here are 3 Easy Steps to Building an Exceptional Social Media Reputation

Speed

People want what they want, when they want it, how they want it. They don't want to be shuffled around from site to site. They want a response on whatever system they are on. That means that it's up to you to keep your eyes on any mention of your company - wherever it's being mentioned. Have a PR person? Make sure they are on top of all the major networks, related forums and blogs, not just the ones your company is on.

Being right there to respond to people will provide you and your business with a strong base on which to build your reputation.


Accuracy

I cannot begin to tell you how many companies respond to a Twitter post about bad service with "DM me with details and we'll do our best to help."

Read that line carefully - it proclaims "customer service failure" from beginning to end.

People very, very rarely post out of context. Anywhere. Humans are weird that way - we like people to know what we're talking about. So, if your Twitter search pops up a "crappy service from XYZ co," you can probably bet that there's more to it than just that single post. Do yourself a favor - read the the last few posts - track the conversation back to the very beginning and gather as much information as you can *before* you respond

"DM me with details" has very little value to a customer. In contrast,  "I see you're having trouble with delivery. Can you DM me or can I call you about resolving it?" has very high value to a frustrated consumer and will gain you a reputation for exceptional customer service. Face it - of these two, which one would you prefer to get as a response?


Honesty

I just read yet another article about yet another company offering a promotion and then coming up with a bunch of hidden small print designed to make sure they weren't actually going to have to honor the promotion. Seriously, who thinks that's a good idea? In this day and age of instant communications, where one click of the button can reach tens of thousands of people, it behooves you to be what you say you are, give what you say you'll give and do what you say you'll do. Strive for clarity, honesty and transparency as a way to forge a strong reputation.


Bonus - 1 Easy Step to Ruin Your Reputation

You can spend years building a flawless reputation for outstanding customer service, excellent value and stellar quality. And it only takes one really bad experience to ruin it. What's the one thing that can ruin you?

Forget to Listen

Whether the customer is right is never the issue. Who is wrong is never the issue. 

The issue is, the customer feels that s/he has been served poorly. Why that is, is a matter for internal reflection - it is not the customer's place to have to investigate or be investigated.

There are many components of Social Media - the first and foremost is not to communicate out, but to take in. Do your best to connect to the customer - listen to them. Show that you understand and are engaged with their problem.  And above all, let them know that your priority is to resolve the matter in a way that satisfies them


Your reputation is a precarious thing. Remember to listen to your customer, respond to them quickly, be as informed as you can be and honor your promises and you'll have a Social Media reputation that can withstand any storm.
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