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A couple months ago, I quit drinking coffee. I know, what was I thinking? Good question. I’m still not sure. Call it an experiment in being pissed off and constipated all the time. Just kidding (about the constipated part anyway).
Today, I fell off the wagon. In a caffeine deprived stupor, I ran over to Starbucks for a fix. On the way back to the office, half-caff in hand, I stumbled across something even dumber than my choice of beverage—a local truck graphics company with the Facebook and Twitter icons displayed prominently on the back.
Why is it dumb to display social media icons on your service vehicle?
I’ll tell you why: it’s because most of you reading this haven’t the faintest clue about how to market your businesses on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some of you even brag about it. So, why in hell would you encourage consumers to visit your profile on those sites??
From Facebook pages with a handful of likes and that haven’t been updated in months or years to links to personal Twitter pages complete with a couple lame tweets mostly unrelated to your business, I’ve seen it all.
If you currently promote your company’s social media sites to consumers, you’ve got to actually develop and execute a strategy for those sites. When you don’t, you look like an idiot and you lose business.
The Connected Consumer
Times have changed. I’m pushing 40, but I vaguely remember a middle school English project where we were told to write a letter to a company we admired and persuade them to give us something promotional.
I’m pretty sure I wrote a letter to Specialized (a bicycle company) telling them that although I loved their mountain bike tires, they wore out far too quickly. If memory serves me correctly, many months later, Specialized sent me a few free tires.
Can you imagine kids doing that today? No way! A kid today would visit Specialized’s website and either fill out a contact form or hunt the company down on social media and engage there.
You may not use Twitter, but I’m a digital native and like all those my age and younger, Twitter is one of the first places I go when I have a bad customer service experience. I love it because of the immediacy it offers (at least when you tweet at a brand that’s actually listening).
Take Chipotle for example. Every Friday, we do a Lunch & Learn at our office. Blue Corona buys lunch and someone from the team gives a presentation about some aspect of business or digital marketing. Chipotle is one of the more popular options.
Recently, I went to pick up our order only to find that they hadn’t received it. Now, over the past seven years, we’ve ordered so many burritos from Chipotle that I feel like they should put one in our building.
I knew the office was going to go nuts, so I expressed my frustration on Twitter.
Check this out:
Minutes after I’d tweeted, someone from Chipotle reached out. Although the office had pizza that day, Chipotle gave us a voucher for a few free lunches. Frustration subsides and is replaced with happiness. Someone was listening.
The point is today’s consumers are increasingly connected, and they choose how they will interact and engage with your company.
Some “old school” consumers continue to prefer picking up the phone, but there’s a growing population of digital savvy consumers that rarely pick up the phone. This group is much more likely to fill out a website form, email you, make a public post on your company’s Facebook page or tweet you.
When you display those social media icons on your truck, you’re telling the digital generation that you get it—that you’re listening and responsive; that you understand the choice consumers have, and you’ve made a conscious decision to be a part of the conversation.
But, when this new generation of digital natives see your truck—complete with Facebook and Twitter icons—visit your Twitter profile page, and see a handful of irrelevant tweets, they write you off as a phony.
You can get defensive and say that you don’t care about this subset of consumers, but you know what I’m going to say next… quickly, this segment is becoming everyone that’s not in an old folks home. Every day, more people fall into the category of being digitally savvy. If you don’t start caring, you’re going to end up working for a competitor that “gets it.”
What You Should Do Next
If you don’t get social media at this point, no amount of weekend reading is going to be enough to help you figure it out. Is that really the best use of your time? Trust me—it’s not.
What you need to do is give us a call.
Call the number above or below and ask for Ben or Betsy. No matter what type of business you have, we can help you craft a social media strategy that helps you grow your business and improve your customer service—guaranteed.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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