Monday, July 26, 2010

(empo-tuulwey) My response to @davidrguzman on a corporate social media presence

This is a repost of a comment that I made on David Guzman's July 21 post on Apple's recent unpleasantness. But first let me share a bit of what Guzman wrote.

Guzman notes, correctly, that there is a new conversational landscape that is emerging, in which some companies are having conversations with customers.

For example, I was recently having issues with our family's Sony Dash machine, and made a couple of online comments about this. This resulted in two contacts from Sony representatives who wanted to make sure that my problem had been solved.

However, not all companies are this responsive, or even know that the conversations are taking place.

You may have noticed that there have been a lot of conversations about Apple lately. Guzman believes that Apple could manage its image better by responding to those conversations:

Now what would be the cost of hiring a 5-6 person team to manage online brand concerns against the 3.5 – 5 million mentions and references that are made to Apple or its products every year? I wouldn’t guess more than $400,000 dollars. I would be willing to bet my savings, car, and whatever else I could wager of value, that $400,000 of lost revenue would be more than re-cooped by merely interacting with half of the mentions or references of Apple. I mean really….when your profitability per product and brand name are as substantial, how can you afford not to keep it in check?

Guzman's a point. Here's part of the comment that I posted:

If a company wants to act on customer concerns, then it needs to have an overall strategy for how to deal with customer concerns once they are received. Once that is set, then the company can concentrate on specific tactics (Twitter account, Facebook page, 800 number, PO box, whatever).

I then noted that Apple has something even better than an army of "apple cares" tweeters - they have Steve Jobs himself, responding directly to customer concerns! I mean, if you have a question for Apple, would you rather hear from an entry level tweeter, or from the co-founder of the company?

Let me elaborate on something from my original comment. There's a problem with this - look at the messages that Steve is providing. Just avoid holding it that way. It's pretty much the same as the previous phone. Nokia phones have the same problem.

Now if this is the message that Steve Jobs is providing, then it stands to reason that a social media street team employed by Jobs would be tweeting the same message. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if Apple spent $400,000 to have people tweet message such as

Don't hold it like that.

It's just about as good as the iPhone 3.

If you use another smartphone, it will have the same problem.

This will NOT build up goodwill among Apple's potential customer base. Including the powerful. (H/T Jesse Stay.)

There's a second potential issue that I alluded to in my comment. What if you hire these social media people...and they are entirely powerless? Even if the person does tweet a warm fuzzy message, does it do any good if there are no results? This is why a company (Apple or whoever) needs the overall strategy that I mentioned in my comment to Guzman.

A "company cares" Twitter account doesn't have any positive effect if the company doesn't care.
blog comments powered by Disqus