Social is changing the face of [fill in business noun here]

A few days ago, I blogged about my attendee experience at Dreamforce. Here, I focus on a few things I picked up in sessions.

At some level, I shrug my mental shoulders and produce an internal “ho-hum” whenever a session starts with claims about how the Internet and social media are changing the way we do business. I feel like we started covering that so long ago it should never be spoken about again with any level of enthusiasm, sort of like saying “electricity is really shaking things up these days…” However, I know it’s just a means to set the stage and perhaps inform the folks in the room that the speaker is not a social media naysayer. Fine. However, I am always surprised when a speaker’s examples of how social media is changing the way we do business are based on small, personal examples or lack any data. I was glad to see that wasn’t the case in this session. The speakers had data from studies that backed up the following points I found to be interesting enough to jot down:

  • 95% of Facebook brand posts are not answered
  • 71% of Twitter complaints go unanswered
  • 88% of buyers said that they are unlikely to buy from a brand that ignores them

I was glad to see the data, but I would have believed the numbers even without cited sources, based on my own personal observations.

Let’s make the minor mental leap from 88% of buyers are unlikely to buy from a brand that ignores them to 88% of buyers have a tarnished image of a brand that ignores them. That’s a lot of folks trying to engage with brands via social media; why lose them due to a lack of responsiveness? What if those same users were calling your organization’s 800-number with a question? What percentage of the time are you willing to let that call go unanswered?

One of the speakers in this session was from a major Japanese auto manufacturer and he said that their stated goal is “to be the best listening company out there.” So, focused on just the simple concept that ignoring folks on social media who are talking to you or about you can cost you their loyalty, what would hold an organization back from ensuring they don’t fall victim to being unresponsive?

  • Is it your technology? Does your technology not allow you to effectively monitor the social conversations and respond in real time?
  • Governance? Is it unclear whose responsibility it is to monitor and respond in the social space?
  • Culture? Is staff hamstrung because they aren’t entrusted with responding to social mentions?
  • Resources? Are you unable to realign resources or acquire new resources to handle social media responsibilities adequately?

There are plenty of excuses that get in the way of an organization executing a sound listen-and-respond strategy. But it’s critical, absolutely critical, you find those roadblocks and eliminate them. If your organization isn’t monitoring and responding, you’re restricting your own progress.