Sometimes you do NOT want to be on the front page of Mashable—for the wrong reasons anyway.
That’s the mantra of Anne McGraw‘s team at Nissan. Anne is the senior manager of customer experience at Nissan, and part of her job is leading the team that interacts with Nissan customers on social media.
Anne was half joking when she explained her team’s mantra to a group of Nashville marketers recently, but she was dead serious when she said there is a cost to not engaging with your customers online.
Nissan’s story of reaching out to customers on social media began when Anne had to convince leadership why it was important. She did this by showing the cost of NOT acting.
Anne recounted this turning point in a YouTube interview with Mark Schaefer, where she shared why someone walked away from buying a car after checking Twitter.
Until you make a commitment to social media marketing, you won’t know what opportunities you’re missing out on.
Your company may not be as big as Nissan, which employs 160,000 people across the world. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how Nissan got to a place where they now meet customers where they are.
If you’re not sure of the value of caring for customers using social media, the numbers are telling a story, and they are becoming increasingly loud.
- 73% of online adults use social networking sites as of September 2013.
- 50% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow.
- 33% of Millennial consumers are more likely to buy a brand if it has a Facebook page.
According to Anne, it took Nissan more than six months to take the leap and start using @NissanSupport after some early listening and testing.
— Nissan Support (@NissanSupport) October 10, 2012
That was in 2012. According to the numbers above (and Anne), you no longer have that kind of time to get started if you’re still on the fence.
I had the pleasure of hearing Anne speak to the Nashville American Marketing Association last week. Four things she discussed stuck with me. These are long-term strategies that will help you or your clients start meeting customers where they are already talking about you.
1. Know Why You’re on Social Media
I jotted down some notes—ok actually 12 pages of notes. Let me show you how Anne describes social media (zoom).
Notice there is a theme. It starts with understanding why you’re on social media in the first place.
You’re on social media to listen to your customers. Sure you’re representing a brand, but you’re also representing someone else equally as important: your customer. Neglect your customer, and you’ll eventually be out of business.
To really pick up on the insights people are sharing, you’ll want to listen not only to people that talk to you, but also people that talk about you. That’s the difference between reacting and monitoring on social media.
2. Use Social Media to Solve Issues Early
If you’re on social media to care for your customers, then you need to start thinking about how you can continue to do so as your company gets bigger.
This will save you a huge headache later. Anne puts it this way:
Social care isn’t scalable unless you use it to fix issues.
In other words, if you’re solving the same issue over and over with a Band-Aid as a small company, once you get bigger, your workflow is going to break.
The best long-term strategy is to solve systematic issues as soon as you can. That way, as your customer base grows, your team can stay small and agile.
3. Hire Great Writers
Know how it’s easier to talk face-to-face rather than by email or text? Know how something you put online is often there forever? For these two reasons alone, writing is an extremely important skill for anyone representing your company.
Anne offered a brilliant tip for helping you find a strong writer. Have an instant message conversation with your job applications and drill them with questions to see how they write on the fly.
If you need someone full-time, Anne recommends hiring a social care person with the following characteristics:
- Social Savvy
- Flexible / Adaptive
- No Drama
- Customer First Focus
- Writing Skills
So if you’re applying for a job at Raven, just remember… Your mom can edit your cover letter, but she can’t edit your instant messages.
4. Find Someone Better Than You and Learn
You can see how you’re doing by comparing your engagement against competitors.
How many of your customers are engaged in discussions with you? Your competitors? Start measuring.
If you’re the best, that’s great. But you’ll gain more insight if you can find someone who is doing better than you. Here’s how Anne explains it:
I don’t need to be the best, but if someone does better, I need to know why so I can do better.
Don’t just find who’s really good at serving folks on Twitter or Facebook. Find someone who does it better than you and learn why they’re better. That’s how you can up your game.