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Social Media

Customers’ Online Feedback: What to look for

Over at Entrepreneur Online, social media consultant Mikal Belicove offers some reasons why businesses need to pay to attention to customer feedback. Belicove’s tips are based on research conducted by Bazaarvoice, a Texas-based company best known for its ratings and software reviews.

Nobody can deny the importance of monitoring customer feedback. It is absolutely critical. So what do you look for when you are reviewing online comments for your business? Here are few questions that you need to answer as you look at the feedback:

  • Where are you under-performing in the eyes of customers? 

  • What issues need to be addressed in your product, service or with your staff?

  • Do customers consistently mention a particular attribute of your business as very important?

Your goal should be to understand the aspects of your customers’ experience that drives satisfaction and ensure that you consistently deliver on those items. Take those aspects where you excel and include them in your communications with customers to reinforce your commitment to satisfying the items that they deem important. Together, these simple steps can help you build a loyal customer base.  

Social Media Is Social, Not Promotional

About a quarter of small businesses use some form of social media marketing, but many say their efforts haven't lived up to their expectations in terms of attracting new customers according to a poll from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. As detailed in this eMarketer story, 42% of those that use social media say they have received sales leads from Facebook. Twitter brings up the rear, with only 16% of small-business social-media users saying they've received sales leads through using it.

I’m not surprised that a lot of businesses are not seeing sales from their social media efforts. Social Media is 'social' media, not 'sales' media. Social media can be great for raising the profile of a company or service, it is not an advertising medium. It is a conversation. It is good for informing people about the personality of your company and interacting with your customers. You also need to be the type of business that people want to interact with on a regular basis. If you’re a clothes hound, you might want to follow and learn more about Bluefly. However, I’m not sure how many people really want to be friends or a fan of funeral home or crematorium

We Need A Social Strategy, Just Don’t Expect To Use It Here

A majority of U.S. workplaces block access to social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, new survey results commissioned by consulting firm Robert Half Technology indicate. Fifty-four percent block social networks "completely," while another 19 percent only permit it "for business purposes."

Only 10 percent of companies surveyed permit social-network use on the job for any kind of personal use; 16 percent allow "limited" personal use.

Back in the 90’s, employers similarly blocked employee access to the internet and to personal email. Many of them were caught behind the tech curve and had to play catch-up for a very long time.

Businesses, especially in tough times, can be incredibly shortsighted. Recessions only exacerbate the problem.

The best way to leverage technology to grow your business is to have employees who know how to use and exploit technology. If they can get their work done, who cares if they post something personal on Twitter. Their Twitter question today might also elicit the solution to that troublesome project that has plagued your department for weeks, the answer to why your website keeps crashing, or it might give you a lead on that sponsorship opportunity you’ve been looking for to help launch your new product line.

Recessions fade, but the memories of your employees will not. Trusting your employees and giving them the freedom to learn will pay off in the long run. Walling them off from the world will only wall off your business from the world.