Mike Levitz on the opportunity for big brands to embrace social media
One of the biggest benefits of my chat with Mike was the reassurance that my experience with regards to how I see the social presence of big brands in not unique. Many of you who read a few of my rumblings about a big brand know that I differentiate between a heavy user and a professional one. A heavy user on Twitter, for example, is one who posts several times a day. A professional one is one who can and does reach out to large audiences and can generate activity and discussion.
What I see as a failure among big brands to adequately use social media, is what Mike sees as an incredible opportunity for people like ourselves to act as facilitators of change, mediators of the conversation, social media evangelists to give credibility and exposure to the voice of brands online, affecting the bottom-line sales. This is the basis upon which we agreed on two things.
Reinvent your brand in social media
Many large companies have got their feet wet in social media. They may even have monitoring all set up. They just have no idea what to do with it. The biggest problem is they don’t know what they don’t know, according to Mike, and I am inclined to agree. If the industry leader in market research can only hire a “pro” who’s done it for a single company, then even the best advice is gonna be lacking. Social media is such a new phenomenon that there can’t be gurus around just yet. So even if the water is cold, you have to do more than just wet your feet. You need disruptive approach to tackling social media so you can engage with the community that is already out there, you can get the right message across, and you can stand your ground on such a changing landscape.
The voice of the customer will get loud and clear, sooner than you expect it
Mike’s example is the dramatic improvement in the customer services banks are now offering. Because there was such a loud public outcry, banks could do nothing other than get their act together and provide a better service. I am also living testimony that if you are good at social media you can give whole marketing departments a really hard time. I am the customer, and I’d appreciate if you could help me when I have a problem. If you don’t, I now have the means, the ability and the motivation to make everyone know that you do not pay attention to your customers.
And this is going to be even more so when the generations who now spend countless hours socialising with complete strangers in nonexitent places, will earn their own incomes, and will spend big-time. And those days are only a few years down the road. Thus, as Mike points out, companies need to be able to monitor, quantify, tap into the conversation and get their message across to the community. I’d add that they actually need to feel at home and learn how to properly mingle in the community. Without these, companies will be completely out of their depth in the new market place, and will soon be out of business as a result.
Follow Mike on Twitter (@mikelevitz) where he focuses on social media, customer experience and other related topics.