W. Clement Stone was a businessperson, philanthropist and author who one said, “Your most precious, valued possessions and your greatest powers are invisible and intangible. No one can take them. You, and you alone, can give them. You will receive abundance for your giving.” VMC Engagement Manager Kris Honkola explains that in social communications in business, the intangible things are often the most meaningful.
In the current climate, technology companies spend a significant amount on advertising. In 2011, Google doubled its global advertising spending to $1.5 billion. Amazon spent $1.4 billion that year. Part of the reason why there is such a high spend is because these companies want to project a certain image and identity – create a brand – and the cost is worthwhile to them.
A solid social communications strategy works in tandem with and accentuates existing advertising efforts and provides immense benefits. For instance, brand loyalty can be reinforced through social channels. Compared to traditional methods of communication, social channels are very easy and convenient to use; people love to air grievances or to praise through social channels. If a customer has an issue with a company’s product, tweets about it, and the company responds efficiently and immediately, the negative image of the company flips and becomes positive in the customer’s mind. The customer will tell others about the good experience and become a brand ambassador for the company. A company spends relatively little resources doing so. As I’ve wrote about previously, it’s more about changing company culture than it is about tools.
One tremendous potential benefit that most companies are not utilizing very well is using their social channels for Research and Development (R&D). Consider the people who best know how to improve a product – these are people who already use the product and know it intimately, not necessary the R&D department. Consumers are an untapped resource that can help develop and improve ideas. The most natural channel for conversations surrounding product improvement and development are the social channels because consumers are more willing to share their honest thoughts in a social setting than in a professional setting, like on a panel. With a lot of companies, this kind of feedback goes into a black hole. They don’t utilize it correctly because companies are unfortunately not set up to be socially responsive.
Social responsiveness offers intangible benefits that can reverberate and amplify a company’s profit over the long haul. What steps have you taken to ensure that successful social communication efforts are within reach?