Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

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How can Social Media Help my Company?

February 17, 2011

When looking at how social media is going to help a company the first thing most would ask is how much money will it make my company? Social Media is not going to directly show you huge increases in sales, but its effects are shown much more indirectly.

Back to Basic Business

Social Media is going to help large companies connect and get to know their customers. This ability to connect has been something only small local businesses have been able to achieve in the past, but social media has changed this dramatically. Social media gets back to the core goals of what businesses want to do, connect to customers and gain their brand loyalty so they will continue to buy your product.

Connections

All social media comes down to is connections. It gives people a chance to connect that would never have been able to. Businesses have been trying to connect to prospective customers for years by doing things like trade shows and sponsoring community events. Social Media offers this same connection accept it is 24 hours a day 7 days a week. What business leaders need to realize is what an amazing opportunity social media is for them. People that engage with corporations through social media aren’t always current customers, but usually potential ones.

Example

In 2006 CareOne Debt Relief opened a community based site in which people could write in questions they had about things like debt and budgeting and get a response. Today there are more than 1.4 million people signed up to interact with CareOne’s debt experts due to the ease and trust in this credible company. It was not CareOne’s goal at first to gain revenue from this site, but they quickly realized the people writing in to the site were not already customers these were all prospective customers that were seeking help. The company opened themselves up to a huge population of people they never would have reached before and showed them the services they can provide.

This brings us back to my original answer to how companies benefit from social media. They are not going to see direct revenue increases from social media, but are going to see it pay off in connecting to customers they never would have.

Do you think companies benefit from the use of social media? Are there any companies you know of that are connecting effectively to prospective customers through social media?

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The Virtual Customer Service Department

February 17, 2011

We as consumers have always had some sort of brand loyalty based on how a company treats us as customers, but as our country faces a recession it has become more of a focus for corporations to hold on to customer loyalty.

While doing my second post I explored how companies are using twitter. In researching different companies I found that Southwest Airlines was using its twitter as a customer service tool. I thought this was a very interesting approach and its creative use of social media to increase its brand image intrigued me. This inspired me to see how else we could use social media in relation to customer service, and while doing that I found Groubal. Where Southwest was using twitter to show its customer service, Groubal does kind of the opposite and gives the customer a platform to voice it complaints.

Groubal

Basically how Groubal works is customers can go on the site and file a complaint which they call a petition and that petition is shared via social media. Other Groubal users can then go on and do an electronic signature supporting or verifying that complaint. Company representatives are then informed of the complaint against their corporation and they can then respond to the customers. For more details on how Groubal works check out this article by Heather Rast.

 

What Groubal Means for the Future

If Groubal continues to grow it could become the meeting ground between large corporations and customers, a virtual customer service department. Customers would come to the site to let their voice be heard when they have been mistreated by companies as well as use the site to compare corporations and make more educated consumer decisions with tools like the customer satisfaction index. Corporations will come to the site to see what the consumer opinions of them are and try to reply to customer’s complaints. These responses could become a key to companies maintaining a brand image as well as retaining customers because customer service would be in such a public forum. Everyone can read and see how companies handle a bad customer relation.

Do you as consumers think something like Groubal will catch on and grow in popularity? As future social media professionals how do you think public forums like this will affect us working for these companies being complained about?

Check out this interview with the founders of Groubal about what Groubal is and what they think it could become!

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Twitter as a Corporate Tool

February 10, 2011

Twitter page for Southwest Airline

As future social media professionals our goal is to find ways to improve our companies via the various social media platforms. Southwest Airlines, who is known by its consumers for its excellent customer service is using twitter to continue to expand and improve this service.  Jennifer Laycock describes in her article entitled, “Great Examples of Corporate Twitter Use”, the different ways this company is using twitter and social media in general to improve and maintain customer relations.

In our capitalist society where companies try to make as much profit as they can, I think most of us would expect when interacting with a corporation via social media, to be bombarded by endless advertisements. Southwest on the other hand chooses to use social media to build its relations with consumers instead of trying to merely build consumers.  On Southwest’s twitter page every post is either a mention of some sort of community event they are sponsoring, or a direct response to anyone who mentions Southwest in their tweet, good or bad. I think it is very refreshing to see a company, especially one that prides itself on service, take this route to using twitter.

Another very cool and innovative way Southwest connects with their customers is by their corporate blog. Southwest is known as having one of the most engaging blogs of any corporation and uses it to directly have conversations with their core customers. They are in fact so dedicated to this that they will at times take their new business ideas to the blog and let customers comment on them before implementing them. I think this is social media at its finest. Businesses have always wanted feedback from customers, but where social media comes in is finding new and creative ways to get this information from customers. Businesses in today’s world need to find these ways to interact with customers to remain successful.

We as future social media professionals need to remember social media, in a corporate sense, is not always about increasing profits but a lot of the time is about improving the brand’s image. Are there any companies you see using this tactic or ones you think could benefit from this tactic?

Check out this video for more do’s and don’ts for corporate twitter!