I recently had a short Twitter exchange with Ted Rubin because he wrote a blogpost called Want to Scale Social Messaging get your customers to help.
The thesis is great. But reality is your customers don't care enough to help you. We all know the current platforms suck for scale. You can't reach most of your customers via social only a small percent. Partially because people on average only like to engage with 2-5 brands regularly so good luck being in that group, and everyone has such busy feeds if we see 3% of the posts and tweets we are lucky. So good luck having your message seen. On top of that so few people retweet and share stuff and with each person averaging only 13 mins of Social Media use a day most of our time is spent elsewhere.
But it sure would be great if I could get my customers to share more for me. We are big fans of Chobani. I LIKE and RETWEET anything I see of theirs on Facebook or Twitter. Yet rarely see anything. They post and tweet a lot though. I just don't see their stuff.
So what do you do? I was at a dinner Tuesday night. about 20+ people. All owned smart phones. None were using them. I was talking marketing with the owner of American Flatbread a very popular casual but upscale restaurant in Waitsfield, VT near the Sugarbush and Mad River Glenn Ski Resorts. They don't do that much on social but have nice followings in spite of that. They do some paid advertising. They are always packed. George said when he goes to tables asking where they heard about them this is what they always say: 'I was on the Ski Lift and I asked the person on the lift with me where to eat that is good'. That is the number one response by far. They make a great flatbread pizza with local ingredients and their staff is very good.
Yes when people are pissed they will come to social to complain. And some will come to praise when they are happy. But Social lacks scale. It should be part of every marketing effort. And definitely take what it gives which is one on one engagement, customer service and brand building. But for scale? It would take an army of employees to talk with all your fans and followers every day.
I have said on this blog many many times. The biggest marketing impact will be focusing on a great product or service, great customer service, and the right price point. The rest will take care of itself. Offline. Via Word of Mouth.