It’s all about engagement
I have already written at length about the importance of engagement on social media for B2B operations, just like a host of other consultants, but I am still surprised by the lack of overall standards and not just on B2B but B2C too! These days experiences still range from the sublime to the ridiculous, regardless of market segment or company size.
A couple of years ago I installed on my phone a nifty little app called WeatherBomb. It’s a meteo app that combines reports from various sources displaying the overall situation in graphic format in a specific locality over a 7 day period. I won’t elaborate as you can easily download it yourself, for free, from your Google Play site if, like me, you use Android. When a little while ago the developers issued a new release and the app crashed I reached them on social media – in a matter of hours I had a nice reply shortly followed by a fix. In fact it was such a nice answer that we continued to engage in conversation and are still in touch to these days. I have since become one of this app’s most stalwart supporters – a brand ambassador, you may say.
At the opposite end of the spectrum a few months ago I took the ill-fated decision of becoming a beta tester for Facebook own Android app. Their developers kept spewing out new versions almost every other day (proportionally bigger and slower than the previous one) and when things went awry, which was often, there was absolutely no way of getting a response, even using their own dedicated beta testers Facebook page. Now I know that in the grand scheme of things I was only an infinitesimal annoyance for Facebook, more like a microbe or a gnat than a human being, but you would have expected more from one of the pillars of social media, especially when their audience was a bunch of people who like me had (stupidly obviously) agreed to help them develop a better product. Needless to say after much frustration I simply deleted the app and woved never to install anything from Facebook again. By the way, you can just use your smartphone browser to log into your Facebook page, it’s normally faster than using their app, especially if you just want to check the updates. In this instance I have therefore become a brand detractor, and all on the back of my social media experience.
…and bad cooking!
And don’t think this experience is limited to apps. My wife was up until recently an avid follower of the famous chef Gino D’Acampo. Whether this was because of his recipes, or the dashing looks is something I don’t particularly wish to dwell on. Anyway, she recently purchased one of his books and had a series of disasters with one of the recipes. I tried making it too, with the same dismal results. As we both love cooking and have a few decades under our belts in that department I looked in detail at the list of ingredients and realised there was something unusual. I commented this to my wife and as she followed him on social media (no, don’t say anything…) she attempted to communicate with his team (you don’t really think that personalities write themselves?) but she gave up as nothing made them engage – not even an acknowledgement, nada. I prevented her from throwing all his books away, or deep frying every page, but she now detests the man. Another social media experience gone awry just for lack of engagement.
So, here we have some radically different social media engagement experiences, yet I am sure reflecting everyday’s reality for most people. Quite why many commercial ventures continue to mistake social media for push advertising is a mystery to me. While it’s almost inevitable for behemoths like Facebook to raise two fingers at their audience, particularly when they enjoy a de facto monopoly, for smaller brands ignoring social media good practices is a risky tactic. When it comes to social with the right processes in place it is perfectly possible to drive sales upwards at a fraction of what would be required by using more conventional channels.
I know that calculating the real value of engagement isn’t easy and it often needs the support of well established customer relationship management tools in the background, together with sound commercial practices, but it is possible with proper support from social media consultants. For now though, if you ever thought of becoming a Facebook beta tester take the ice bucket challenge first – you may feel refreshed and therefore more open to consider investing your time in more rewarding ways. And don’t bother contacting Mr D’Acampo either.