Filed under: Corporate Social (Media) Responsibility | Tags: Asus EEE PC, dominos, Dunkin' Donuts, listening, new social media, OrCom, Organizational Communication, Southwest Airlines, UP Manila
The Web is useful, the web is cool, but like the smartest yet helpful person in your social sphere, the Web is intimidating. Even if you’ve Google regularly, or check your email daily, there’s still too much left to be explored in the Internet.
But since hopping aboard the new social media phenomenon is just a question of when, and not if, you’ll have to know how to make your first move. And for companies in the Republic of the Philippines, listening is the way to go.
Know what your consumers have to say about you, your competitors, and your industry for cheap
You may not advertise online, or even have a company website up, but people might still be talking about you. The Internet is mainly for talking, and virtually every topic is talked about online. Google your company and products, and constantly read through what consumers share about you online.
So when an upcoming product’s photos leaks online, check what the Netizens have to say about the design. When you cap your broadband service’s speed from 2Mbps to 650Kbps, perhaps you want to see if your consumers are happy about the unannounced move.
What people say about you matter–you may be losing customers yet you don’t even know it.
About your competitors
Unless you’ve successfully monopolized your industry, you have competition. If no one online is talking about you, they’re probably talking about your competitors. Listen to what your consumers are saying about them. Once you know what your consumers love and hate about your competitors’ products and/or services, you can gain knowledge on how to stick out in the competition.
However, don’t try to mess your competitors’ reputations online by throwing in nasty comments in online conversations. That’s just stupid. Focus on building your company’s good name instead.
About your industry
Beyond googling your brand name, check out keywords linked to your industry. Listening to conversations related to your industry can help improve business. Extend past the brand name “Asus,” and into the laptop industry itself. What is the future of netbooks? Should manufacturers work on smooth 1080p video playback on these tiny laptops? Are 11.6 inch netbooks too big a size to be considered a netbook? Is the netbook craze merely a fad, or should bigger laptops start presenting unique selling propositions to survive in the laptop industry?
The internet is a rich source of consumer insights, where you can discover how to grow your business, without having to ask consumers directly what they want.
Build business strategically in the future
What should you do, now that you listened to what your consumers are said? Build your business properly, of course! As an organization, you want to not only rake in more sales, but also gain better reputation. That can be accomplished by expanding your traditional media approaches to the new social media grounds.
Take part in the conversations online
Identify the new social media tools you’ll commit to–where are your consumers? Using Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, Orkut, Ning, and other social media sites all at once would be wasteful. What’s the use of having twenty accounts online when your consumers don’t even access those sites? New social media must be used as an answer to where you can create the best conversations with your market.
Play Santa, and grant consumer wishes
The internet is a repository for people’s wishlists–in form of complaints and what-ifs–for services and products. Since companies are loved for what they do correctly, and not for their imperfections, companies can earn more consumer love by playing Santa.
When consumers ranted about the incredibly tiny 7 inch screen on the 1st generation Asus EEE PC, Asus responded by releasing 8.9 inch netbooks. After a while, people demanded 6 cell batteries on their netbooks, as they wanted real mobility. So now, most Asus EEE PCs ship with 6 cell batteries as a standard. Currently, with a very close 2% margin to laptop giant Acer, Asus holds the second largest market share for netbooks–see the strong consumer love going on right there?
Adjust current PR plans, or create totally new responsive plans
Further, you can adjust current campaigns and programs targeted for consumers based from your listening or talking online. New public relations plans can be created as well. You can make strategies utilize both new social media and traditional media, or still rely mostly on traditional media. A plan with messages, strategies, and tactics that respond to what consumers actually want right now has a greater chance of success than a plan derived from what an organization merely think will sell.
Listen carefully, and you’ll be able to keep afloat on the constantly changing consumer expectations. Many companies have successful social media strategies, like Southwest Airlines (perky and informative Twitter account, cool blog), Dunkin’ Donuts (Dunkin’ Donut sweepstakes on Facebook, Dunkin’ Run iPhone app), and Domino’s (Pizza Tracker) to name a few. Various strategies are employed, but their common feature? All these companies first listened to their consumers well, and eventually responded brilliantly.
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