Community Management, Content Marketing, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Monitoring

The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays

social media x ray 225x300 The Wisdom of Social Media X RaysAre you actually helping your company via social media?

Much of contemporary social media effort and brand reputation management is focused on uncovering the positive. Number of friends. Number of followers. Blog posts. Blog comments. Share of voice. Net promoter score. Brands (and their agencies) are creating reports and smiling when those reports show how well the brand fares in social media.

It’s the “People Love Me” syndrome, and it entails listening for good news.

But in this economy, it’s often entirely the wrong approach.

Making Bad News Good

I submit that even your best customers are looking for a reason to drop you like a high school boyfriend with a cold sore. If you’re not the least expensive, customers will bail to save money. If you are the low price leader, they’ll seek better customer service. Whatever the circumstances, these are the days when loyalty is trumped by our more animalistic instincts.

I don’t have any data on this, but I’ll bet GEICO does great in the next couple years. Save a few dollars on my car insurance, but have to switch providers? Sign me up.

My recommendation is to use social media to find the BAD news about your company, and use that information to fix as many problems with your product or operations as you possibly can. Giving your customers fewer reasons to leave is the key to survival, and social media is your canary in the coal mine.

Now more than ever you should be engaging with the negative commenters. Have an email or telephone conversation with them. Learn as much as you can about their complaints and how your company can improve.

Don’t discourage negativity by marginalizing and ignoring it. Take it to heart and use it to make your company better.

Social media is the world’s biggest focus group. Are you paying attention?

(photo self-portrait by nomoretrouble)

Related
  • http://itsdigitalmarketing.wordpress.com/ Gary Robinson

    Great post and very true. One company that would benefit from looking at social media to improve their service would be Ryanair.

    They made their own news by calling bloggers ‘lunatics’ and ‘idiots’. The backlash on Twitter was scathing. If anyone there has any sense, they’d be trawling through all the blogs and tweets to see how they could improve their service before they risk losing more customers.

  • http://itsdigitalmarketing.wordpress.com Gary Robinson

    Great post and very true. One company that would benefit from looking at social media to improve their service would be Ryanair.

    They made their own news by calling bloggers ‘lunatics’ and ‘idiots’. The backlash on Twitter was scathing. If anyone there has any sense, they’d be trawling through all the blogs and tweets to see how they could improve their service before they risk losing more customers.

  • http://blog.ecairn.com/ laurent

    I’ve worked in product dev quite a bit in my career and the best source of product improvements came from negative comments from real people. Not the aggregated kind found in surveys of x1000s which always led to a argument on how to interpret them , but specific, real life issues people were having with our service/product.
    When you go beyond the ‘emotional’ pain, negative comments transform in good specific input.

    laurent’s last blog post..Social Media’s Side Effect

  • http://blog.ecairn.com laurent

    I’ve worked in product dev quite a bit in my career and the best source of product improvements came from negative comments from real people. Not the aggregated kind found in surveys of x1000s which always led to a argument on how to interpret them , but specific, real life issues people were having with our service/product.
    When you go beyond the ‘emotional’ pain, negative comments transform in good specific input.

    laurent’s last blog post..Social Media’s Side Effect

  • http://www.radian6.com/ David Alston

    Bang on Jason. Yes, there may be the occasional person ranting just to get attention but most people are legitimately trying to share a concern or frustration and most are very happy when someone reaches out to listen, understand and to do their best to make it right. It’s definitely a differentiator.

    In fact I would be say companies should be listening for a lot of things – compliments, complaints, a crisis, potential customers (listening for the point of need), conversations to be part of, new product and feature ideas, competitors, new potential employees (if you are lucky enough to still be hiring there are some great folks out there displaced by the economy) etc… Indeed social media is the canary in the coalmine – conversations generally representative of what’s being said offline. The wonderful opportunity is, unlike offline, you have a chance to hear them and the opportunity to make a connection, help and perhaps build a solid relationship over time. Who wouldn’t want that in today’s economy, or in any economy for that matter :)

    Cheers. David

    David Alston’s last blog post..@DavidAlston – Get Your (Johnny) Cache On!

  • http://www.radian6.com David Alston

    Bang on Jason. Yes, there may be the occasional person ranting just to get attention but most people are legitimately trying to share a concern or frustration and most are very happy when someone reaches out to listen, understand and to do their best to make it right. It’s definitely a differentiator.

    In fact I would be say companies should be listening for a lot of things – compliments, complaints, a crisis, potential customers (listening for the point of need), conversations to be part of, new product and feature ideas, competitors, new potential employees (if you are lucky enough to still be hiring there are some great folks out there displaced by the economy) etc… Indeed social media is the canary in the coalmine – conversations generally representative of what’s being said offline. The wonderful opportunity is, unlike offline, you have a chance to hear them and the opportunity to make a connection, help and perhaps build a solid relationship over time. Who wouldn’t want that in today’s economy, or in any economy for that matter :)

    Cheers. David

    David Alston’s last blog post..@DavidAlston – Get Your (Johnny) Cache On!

  • http://altitudebranding.com/ Amber Naslund

    Far too often, companies want to bury the negative and accentuate the positive in hopes that it will help their customers see their brand through rose-colored glasses. The truth is, however, that customers don’t *want* brands to be perfect. It makes them smack of hiding something, or of glazing over half truths.

    Instead, criticism is often a powerful catalyst not only for change, but for building trust. There’s some statistic out there, but the gist is that a happy customer will tell one person, an angry one five, and a disappointed-turned-heard-and-responded-to one ten.

    We don’t need companies to avoid mistakes. We need them to address them, correct them, and evolve themselves to be more helpful to their customers. It’s not the negativity that’s ever been the issue, it’s the unwillingness to realize when criticism is providing amazing opportunity for evolution.

    Great post as always, Jay. Your pragmatism and perspective are always refreshing.

  • http://altitudebranding.com Amber Naslund

    Far too often, companies want to bury the negative and accentuate the positive in hopes that it will help their customers see their brand through rose-colored glasses. The truth is, however, that customers don’t *want* brands to be perfect. It makes them smack of hiding something, or of glazing over half truths.

    Instead, criticism is often a powerful catalyst not only for change, but for building trust. There’s some statistic out there, but the gist is that a happy customer will tell one person, an angry one five, and a disappointed-turned-heard-and-responded-to one ten.

    We don’t need companies to avoid mistakes. We need them to address them, correct them, and evolve themselves to be more helpful to their customers. It’s not the negativity that’s ever been the issue, it’s the unwillingness to realize when criticism is providing amazing opportunity for evolution.

    Great post as always, Jay. Your pragmatism and perspective are always refreshing.

  • http://twitter.com/elenakostovska/status/1249178313 Elena Kostovska

    The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays | Convince&Convert: http://bit.ly/18QdH5

  • http://twitter.com/bduverneuil/status/1249269554 Benoit Duverneuil

    Reading: The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays http://ow.ly/te3

  • http://twitter.com/andismit/status/1249927649 Andrew Smith

    “Social media is the world’s biggest focus group” Excellent post from @jaybaer http://bit.ly/18QdH5

  • Andrew Bruce Smith

    “Social media is the world’s biggest focus group” Excellent post from @jaybaer http://bit.ly/18QdH5

  • http://twitter.com/andismit/status/1250190507 Andrew Smith

    Google Shared: The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays: Are you actually helping your company via social.. http://bit.ly/xolV0

  • http://twitter.com/socialmedia411/status/1250504026 Social Media Nuggets

    The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/B5Yj7 Making Bad News Good In Challenging Times

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethsosnow/status/1251221531 Elizabeth Sosnow

    RT @jaybaer “your best customers are looking for a reason to drop you like a high school boyfriend with a cold sore.” http://bit.ly/18QdH5

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jason Baer

    @Laurent – Indeed, you have to remove the emotions from the equation to be able to listen to negativity effectively. Thanks for the comment.

    @David – Great points about the number of things that you can listen and hear. I’d say the other huge benefit of listening online is the rapid response cabilities – aided of course by @radian6 and similar services.

    @Amber – Thanks for the great comment. I find that brands (and agencies) are overplaying the positive to try to prove that social media generates ROI. It’s misplaced – and dangerous because it sets false expectations in the C Suite.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jason Baer

    @Laurent – Indeed, you have to remove the emotions from the equation to be able to listen to negativity effectively. Thanks for the comment.

    @David – Great points about the number of things that you can listen and hear. I’d say the other huge benefit of listening online is the rapid response cabilities – aided of course by @radian6 and similar services.

    @Amber – Thanks for the great comment. I find that brands (and agencies) are overplaying the positive to try to prove that social media generates ROI. It’s misplaced – and dangerous because it sets false expectations in the C Suite.

  • http://blog.ecairn.com/ dominic

    Jason,

    Looks like your blog is becoming THE forum for the best startups in social media marketing. :-)

    So, I’m kind of forced to comment ( two comments from Radian6 people on one post), I need to bring the score to 2-2.

    At least, this shows that we both are doing a very good job at using our respective solution to monitor and engage with people like you at the speed of light or close to.

    @ Amber and David: nice to see you here and thanks for the great comments.

    dominic’s last blog post..Social Media’s Side Effect

  • http://blog.ecairn.com dominic

    Jason,

    Looks like your blog is becoming THE forum for the best startups in social media marketing. :-)

    So, I’m kind of forced to comment ( two comments from Radian6 people on one post), I need to bring the score to 2-2.

    At least, this shows that we both are doing a very good job at using our respective solution to monitor and engage with people like you at the speed of light or close to.

    @ Amber and David: nice to see you here and thanks for the great comments.

    dominic’s last blog post..Social Media’s Side Effect

  • http://twitter.com/jesshatchigan/status/ Jessica Hatchigan

    How to tap the “canary in a coal mine” power of social media – http://tinyurl.com/bnk76p

  • http://twitter.com/dariasteigman/status/1255060469 Daria Steigman

    Are you ignoring the negative? Food for thought from @jaybaer on monitoring your brand: http://tinyurl.com/bnk76p

  • http://twitter.com/julieburgess/status/1311512000 JulieBurgess

    Jason is right in this post, it’s all about the consumer “The Wisdom of Social Media X-Rays http://tinyurl.com/c9gvwe #feedly

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/