According to Forrester research, three in four US online adults now use social tools to connect with each other compared with just 56% in 2007. According to a recent blog article by Buzzient, a vendor of social media monitoring and analytics, over 60% of retailers have implemented some sort of social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace). Per the blog, the real challenge is how to analyze the results and incorporate them in the online (or bricks and mortar) retail storefront.
I’ll throw out one more challenge – when and how should you respond, as opposed to just monitoring what’s going on? Especially since there are so many "sub-channels" within social networking?
A terrific book was recommended to me while I was researching social media and its effect on the travel industry. It’s Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. In the book, they cite a dialog Dell had with some customers who were upset over a problem with a notebook computer. The book quotes a comment to a blog posting by Dell about the incident. “We posted on this . . . a while back and wondered when you folks were going to join the conversation.”
It’s clear that in this and many other instances, customers do want firms to engage with them when they have both negative and positive experiences and comment on them on social networks. We’re seeing a distinct increase in that type of activity. But when is it “creepy” and Big-Brotherlike, as opposed to being a concerned organization motivated to dialogue with its customers?
I don’t pretend to have the answers to this. I suspect the answers are evolving as rapidly as the social networks themselves. I’ll pose this question to our own social community. In your opinion, what are the rules of engagement these days? And will you respond via a comment to this blog, a tweet, or some other means that I should be monitoring?
Thanks for your thoughts,