It’s All About Attitude
Posted by lanaksolberg
Chapters two and three of Eric Qualman’s Socialnomics do a great job of explaining how companies can leverage social media to build and enhance their image and reputation. The key, it seems, is to focus on the positive. Some companies take a very reactive approach, viewing critical feedback on various social media outlets as something to be controlled or contained. Responding in this way (essentially by stifling the opinions of consumers) really doesn’t do much for the company or the consumer. Companies that are truly successful use criticism in a more productive way, as Qualman explains,
“Effective companies and people relish online feedback. They use the information to make themselves more competitive by improving their products and services in the eyes of the consumer . . . Good companies view it as an opportunity to prove to the customer that they are willing to go the extra mile for them” (p. 40).
Personally, I hadn’t thought about it this way before. It’s really in a business’s best interest to respond to online criticism proactively. Then, they can not only acknowledge the consumer’s complaint, but also create an opportunity for themselves. If they are able to rectify the situation, they demonstrate—in a very public way—their willingness to help and that they care about their customers’ satisfaction.
Today, the companies that embrace the social capabilities of an online environment are in the best position to thrive. While doing this week’s readings, I found a good example. Zappos, the online shoe retailer, uses Twitter to as a way for employees to communicate directly with customers about their products. This is exactly the type of positive, proactive interaction Qualman is talking about. Not only can employees assist customers, if needed, but they can also interact with them on a personal level—in front of a presumably large audience in the public sphere.
Companies who are struggling to develop a social media strategy would do well to examine their approach. Using lemons (criticism and complaints) to make lemonade (a lasting, positive impression to customers and their social networks) is an invaluable tool. The company doesn’t necessarily control what the online community is saying, rather it uses it to positively influence the way consumers feel.
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