If I’m looking for a veterinary clinic in the Barrie area, where do you think I would look? In the newspaper, the phonebook, would I Google it? If you guessed any of those, you might be right. But it’s more likely that I either asked a friend, if they know of a place that they would recommend. More and morepeople are making buying decisions through the referral of a friend or someone within their network now that life is rapidly becoming digital. You’ve heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, It’s who you know” well, in the 21st Century you can apply that theory to how people find a vet, a restaurant or even a power tool. Simply by asking their friends on Facebook, Twitter or in person, if they know where they can get a product or service. And if they aren’t asking their friends, you can bet they are searching the internet for recommendations and reviews of service, quality and experience ratings. From car dealerships, hotels and restaurants to electronics and veterinary services there is an abundance of information about your product, service or your own business that you might not even know is there, but your customers have found it. The worst part is that you might be spending a huge amount of cash on marketing, and you’re not getting nearly as much business as you could be, just because you don’t have a website OR your website is on the 160th page of Google.
Now, before you launch into panic and call up the head of your marketing department – Let’s take a look at something you likely look at on a daily basis yourself. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook: The biggest player in the Social Media Space. Does your business have a brand page? If not you might want to stop right now and create one. If you have a brand page for your business already, take a look at who follows you on Facebook because they are your most supportive customers. YOU might think Facebook is just a big time waster, and you are absolutely right. It’s a huge time waster for ALL of your customers; Who are spending endless hours finding out what their friends are up to, sharing information about their likes, there dislikes. They’re talking about when they are happy or sad or when they just enjoy the most amazing cup of coffee ever! YOU might think “Who the heck cares AND why hasn’t Facebook created a “Nobody Cares Button”. The savvy business owner on the other hand… Thinks what an opportunity to do a little market research to find out exactly what my customers think of my industry, what kind of problems I can help them solve with my products or services, and when they might have received a good or bad experience at my store or my competitions. I urge you to take a closer look at who is following you. Are they mostly Males, Females? Are they younger or older? Do you have a large following or do you need to focus on getting more likes on your facebook page before you can really find out more about your customers?
Let’s face it, in a perfect world, everyone who walks into our business would receive exactly what they want, when they wanted it and pranced out skipping, bursting with excitement to tell all their friends that they just bought the most incredible pink toilet brush at their favorite store and they just can’t wait to rush home and scrub their toilet with it! However… Over here in reality, no one gets excited about buying toilet brushes that match their 1970’s pink porcelain toilet perfectly and has to post on Facebook about this great find. – And if you do, you must work on set for some retro tv show as a set designer. That aside, imagine if you had a customer who caught you on a bad day and saw you giving your cashier a hard time because she couldn’t get the register tape to fit onto the reel – Even though you’ve showed her how 15 times and she’s worked for you for 2 years now and should have this all figured out. How does that fit into marketing? Well what if, that customer was appalled at how your staff was treated, and then posted a status update on Facebook that said “Geez poor girl at ABC Shoes, just got reamed out from her manager for not knowing how to change the register tape#poormanagement #haveacupofcoffeeman” Believe it or not people have said worse on Facebook and other social media networks. The store they were talking about likely has no idea that 1,500 people were just told they have poor management either, because they don’t see a reason for their business to have a presence on Facebook.
I’ve actually been told by businesses before that “They aren’t on Facebook because they don’t want to give customers an opportunity to post negative comments”. However, just because your business doesn’t have a brand page on Facebook, does not mean I’m not going to talk to my friends about what I saw in your store. People love to talk especially when they have something juicy to talk about. Hopefully your customers are telling their friends about that amazing service you provide or how your server at that restaurant just made your 25th anniversary a very special night! But, the reality is eventually someone might have something negative to say. However, if you give your company a presence online; That complaint might be posted somewhere you can see it, giving you the opportunity to turn a bad experience into a public display of how you stand behind the quality of your products & services by offering to fix whatever problem that unhappy customer has had. The benefit, is possibly making 10 of their friends walk into your store to buy a product, because they know you actually mean what you say when you state “Satisfaction Guaranteed” because they have seen you proved it.
Posted on May 20, 2014 by kate Emms and filed under Social Media Marketing, Social Media In Business and tagged social media google networking word of mouth advertisingreferral business customer satisfaction twitter facebooksocial commentary business.