Social Business, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Staffing and Operations

Why Social Success is No Accident

If you read Convince & Convert on even an occasional basis, you know that I’m firmly in the social integration camp. You need to focus on how to “be” social as a company, and worry less about how to “do” social. This is because social touches do not occur in isolation.

Bell 300x199 Why Social Success is No AccidentI’ve seen a LOT of teeth gnashing lately about online influence, and Klout, and the paucity of clicks that most social updates generate. But the reality is that your social success is inextricably tied to the totality of the experiences your customers have with your company. You know what would get people to click your crap more? Answering your phone. You know what would get more people to “like” your Facebook page? Having a front desk guy who’s not a total a-hole.

Never forget that in almost every case, people experience your company in the “real world” first, and then decide whether (or how much) to interact with you in the virtual world.

Social media success is a byproduct of being a good company.

Do you disagree? Leave a comment if you know of a company that’s very effective socially but isn’t really a good company on the operations or customer service side. Maybe I’m wrong?

 

 

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/blog/official-black-seo-guy/ Black Seo Guy

    There are many companies like this..even the ones i talk to on a daily basic. This is why i come in and lead them on a new path..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Joey Strawn

    I couldn’t agree more with this, Jay. It’s such an important reminder. This is basically the core idea behind that Digital Personality idea we were talking about last time you were in town.

    People judge companies and situations on so many factors outside of the glaring ones. Thanks for the great reminder!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      It’s easy to think of social in a vacuum, because that’s how many companies manage it. But it’s just one element of how your organization is perceived.

  • http://twitter.com/webby2001 Tom Webster

    Man, I need someone else to answer my phone. I think I might be an A-hole!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      LOL. Recognition is the first step toward recovery.

  • Ferg Devins

    you nailed it jay love your reference to not just “doing” social media…I am still a big proponent of the conversation and relationship between brand and drinker or company and influencer …it takes time and effort and genuine open conversation…messaging can’t withstand true dialogue…cheers @MolsonFerg

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks Ferg. I’m glad we’re on the same page.

  • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

    Crappy customer/user experience is going to have a negative effect on your bottom line no matter how savvy your social strategy is. You can only polish a turd so well. Southwest Air has a strong social presence in regards to other airlines but I would venture to guess that’s directly correlated to their customer experiences. Good food for thought here.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Exactly Drew. Social ensures that the rich get richer. Good companies get talked about, and bad companies get exposed.

  • Anonymous

    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a company that has poor customer service and dire business practices, yet is successful in social media. I don’t think being a good company alone necessarily guarantees social media success, but I think that it’s a huge part of the equation.

    If people love your business, what you offer and how you treat your customers, it will be hard to stop people from talking about you.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Exactly. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t necessarily square.

  • http://www.worob.com/ Worob

    You really said it all. Whether it’s on the phone, via e-mail, on a Facebook page, wherever.. It’s all about customer service.

    @Worob
    PR at Sunrise

  • Genevieve Jooste

    I hate to point fingers but I had an instance with a cable company in North Carolina recently that baffled me. This company is notorious for having less than stellar customer service. They get slammed routinely on Twitter and every time I have to call them I shudder (sorry Time Warner Cable) because I’m inevitably on the phone for hours and never get anything resolved. I voiced an annoyance on Twitter and not 1 minute later did I have a DM from that company trying to resolve the issue. While I appreciated the quick response, I’d also appreciate the company being that consistent across the board and not just on social media channels where they believe they *have* to be quick in order to quiet unhappy customers.

    Overall, I couldn’t agree with your post more Jay. If you’re gonna walk the walk, be sure you can talk the talk wherever it is you have a presence.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks the next issue social media active companies will face: when they routinely provide better service via social channels than through traditional channels. They are training customers to expect inequality. Is that a positive?

  • Genevieve Jooste

    I hate to point fingers but I had an instance with a cable company in North Carolina recently that baffled me. This company is notorious for having less than stellar customer service. They get slammed routinely on Twitter and every time I have to call them I shudder (sorry Time Warner Cable) because I’m inevitably on the phone for hours and never get anything resolved. I voiced an annoyance on Twitter and not 1 minute later did I have a DM from that company trying to resolve the issue. While I appreciated the quick response, I’d also appreciate the company being that consistent across the board and not just on social media channels where they believe they *have* to be quick in order to quiet unhappy customers.

    Overall, I couldn’t agree with your post more Jay. If you’re gonna walk the walk, be sure you can talk the talk wherever it is you have a presence.

  • http://twitter.com/susanborst susan borst

    Jay – I totally agree that the “real world” experience needs to compliment/reinforce a good social experience. Zappos is an excellent example. However, it seems that, via the internet, people are often learning about companies/brands that they never heard of before online (which is why, now, brands in one’s consideration set actually INCREASE as they get closer to making a purchase decision.) So you can have good “social media success” in gaining interest/considerers, but all that is for naught if your real world experience with the brand doesn’t jive with the social media experience/expectations.

  • http://twitter.com/susanborst susan borst

    Jay – I totally agree that the “real world” experience needs to compliment/reinforce a good social experience. Zappos is an excellent example. However, it seems that, via the internet, people are often learning about companies/brands that they never heard of before online (which is why, now, brands in one’s consideration set actually INCREASE as they get closer to making a purchase decision.) So you can have good “social media success” in gaining interest/considerers, but all that is for naught if your real world experience with the brand doesn’t jive with the social media experience/expectations.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Very interesting thought about the consideration set increasing Susan. Can you elaborate on that a bit?

  • http://twitter.com/cjtheisen Chris Theisen

    Ive got one; Comcast. Ive had numerous horribly noteworthy experiences with them on the phone. There field staff are really nice but never seem to totally fix the problems, they are always stabbing in the dark at the true issue. Their services are on the expensive side. BUT they do an amazing job on social media channels in regards to listening and actually taking action. Their biggest problem is the whole organization is segmented off. The social customer service and phone service dont seem to have the same training or access to things. When you have to create a Twitter customer service group to address all the bitching and moaning you should probably look at pointing those or more resources towards your product and other types of customer service first, BEFORE people start bitching online. They are effective socially in the sense they keep people from jumping off the cliff but not effective as a company for various reasons. Given a better choice of providers I would switch. I wrote two posts on this subject a while back http://bit.ly/hksZpe & the follow up http://bit.ly/hPJjpr

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Excellent example. Thanks for bringing that up.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Excellent example. Thanks for bringing that up.

  • http://twitter.com/pmswish Patty Swisher

    Just like good PR won’t make the food at a bad restaurant taste any better, nor will good advertising make a bad product perform.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Bingo!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Bingo!

  • http://www.briandshelton.com Brian D. Shelton

    Jay, when you say “social media success,” based on which metrics are you claiming “success?” ;-) Regardless, your point that any “success” in social media will be determined by whether or not you are a good company to begin with is spot on.

  • http://www.briandshelton.com Brian D. Shelton

    Jay, when you say “social media success,” based on which metrics are you claiming “success?” ;-) Regardless, your point that any “success” in social media will be determined by whether or not you are a good company to begin with is spot on.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      It’s a good point. And one that we answered 26 different ways in The Now Revolution. ;)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      It’s a good point. And one that we answered 26 different ways in The Now Revolution. ;)

      • http://www.briandshelton.com Brian D. Shelton

        :-) Exactly! (And, you can keep the $5 you owe me for that lob over the middle of the plate! Way to knock it out of the park.)

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

          You are the Steve Nash to my Amare Stoudemire (formerly)

  • http://www.onengagement.com/ dragosilinca

    I consider these two sides to go hand in hand. Your people may be great at being nice and social, but customers are lazy and they still need a call to action to engage with you socially. At least most of the time.

    So I think you’ll actually get way better results if, as you propose, are social rather than doing social, but that does not mean you should leave social take care of itself, as it won’t.

  • http://twitter.com/molliewrites Mollie Nothnagel

    I completely agree with your thoughts here. It’s a great reminder for companies that who they are and how they interact with customers sets the foundation for social success (or not.)

    For example, many companies fear negative feedback in social media. If the customer experience already leaves something to be desired, engaging in social media isn’t going to change that.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Yep. Social doesn’t create negativity, it puts a magnifying glass to it.

  • http://twitter.com/studiokae Kay Theriot-Eileraas

    Wow, is the golden rule really lost to people when it comes to business? It’s so basic and yet, we loose our heads when it comes to work situations…. RESPECT your clients, your customers and your co-workers and the tools you employ will benefit both of you…..

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Sadly, I think it is often lost. People and companies want short cuts, and to game the system.

      • http://www.youintegrate.com Kneale Mann

        Quick wins are the legend of fairy tales with leprechauns riding unicorns.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Completely agree. Well-managed companies usually do a lot of things great. If you focus on the fundamentals of your customer experience, the rest will take of itself. I really don’t think you can worry about ever-changing algorithms. Thanks, Jay.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Well said Mark.

  • http://www.youintegrate.com Kneale Mann

    We spend far too much time in conversations with prospects who want to be convinced “it will work” void of their participation. To some I’m a social media guy, I’m a help companies get better guy and if that is done with two cans and a string, let’s go!

    No amount of social web lipstick will cover the lips of said pig. If your internal and external customer service sucks, don’t be surprised if that is reflected in the revenue line. If your company has 3 or 300,000 employees, Jimmy in sales may be the only person that customer ever meets. If Jimmy is an idiot, your company fails.

    Everything you do is marketing and if a blog, a Facebook group, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel made bad companies good, then we would all just have to carry around our vile of magic dust and all would be good in happy land. There are no short cuts to giving great service to customers – no matter how they may find you.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I love your point about Jimmy. Every employee is in marketing now (and customer service) whether they want to be or not.

  • http://twitter.com/PublicityHound Joan Stewart

    I have argued, I don’t know how many times, with Internet marketers who claim that if you make yourself “too accessible” to your customers, they lose respect for you.

    Uh-huh. Like when they’re trying to buy something from you, their credit card is charged twice, and they have to fill out one of those annoying Help tickets at our website. And then they can’t figure out how to download the damn product.

    Clicks and Klout scores and all the other social media trappings can only be effective if companies have figured out how to do the basics. Answering the phone is one of them. So is putting your telephone number ***on your home page*** where people can find it.

    Bravo, Jay!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Great examples Joan. Circle of life!

  • Aprildunford

    I can’t imagine anyone who would disagree with you but I find posts like this really frustrating because they attempt to distill the essence of running a great business down to “Just be nice!”. Don’t get me wrong, I think customer service is critical to running a great business – it’s just not the ONLY thing. Just because you’re cheery when you answer your phone, doesn’t mean you can’t go out of business. Great customer service is one ingredient but if nobody wants what you are selling, all the niceness in the world isn’t going to make your business (or your social media campaigns) successful.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks for the comment April. Actually, I don’t believe “be nice” is the answer. The answer is in execution, not tonality. A company with their shit together that is only kinda nice will trump the disorganized company that is super nice.

  • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leon Widrich

    Jay, this is one of the greatest lines as regards Social Media that I have heard in a long time. “Social media success is a byproduct of being a good company.” I really couldn’t agree. It’s all about caring for your customers and giving them the best experience with your product. That’s all that matters. It will come naturally that they follow you if you answer requests quickly and make them happy.

    Thanks for reinforcing a key lesson in Social Media here. In the Buffer it goes – twice :).

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks Leon!

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    Strongly concur. Too many companies are worried more about getting found than getting good. If folks find you and you suck, it is worse than if they had never found you. If you impress the hell out of your employees and customers on a daily basis, you will get found and the word of mouth that will spread about you will be the kind you want.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I love that sentiment Bret. Nicely done!

  • http://martymcpadden.com martymcpadden

    Very well said and simply stated Jay. Companies can’t fake it anymore, especially when it comes to social media. A clever social media campaign can never take the place of providing a top notch experience for your customer. People see tight through that every time. It’s hard to believe some companies don’t get that yet. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Caring is vastly underrated.”

  • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

    Hey Jay – I think social media just amplifies what you do well, or what you do bad.

    If you customer service sucks, stay away from social media, it might buy you some more time.

    If you’re a company that focuses on all things quality, including the customer service/experience, social media can help you grow your business and position your business as a market leader in just about any market niche.

    Cheers Jay!

  • http://twitter.com/gruidl Brian Gruidl

    I’m not sure I can agree with social media being a byproduct for a company. Left to it’s own devices, yes, it could be a hazardous byproduct, as it’s typically the negative comments that take off. This, to me, is the lazy approach. Doesn’t it make more sense to grow and foster your customer relationships through these channels? I’ve had some great companies approach me on twitter, strike up a conversation about something they can see I’m interested in, only to not allow replies to their tweets. That tells me they still see the channel as push only.

    To get to the point, why can’t we, as marketers, create a great social experience that drives someone to want to interact with our brands, rather than let the brand drive our social channels? Business cards used to be exchanged after someone helped another person with a flat tire, and the person that helped you out became someone you wanted to do business with. That’s where we should be taking social.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      We absolutely can Brian. What I’m trying to convey is that social media won’t fix the fact that you’re not a good company. You have to get your operational house in order first, and then turn on the social.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      We absolutely can Brian. What I’m trying to convey is that social media won’t fix the fact that you’re not a good company. You have to get your operational house in order first, and then turn on the social.

  • Anonymous

    Jay,
    Hello, again. It’s been a long time but I couldn’t keep away from this one. My main issue here is how the heck do you define “Social Success”? By Facebook “likes”? Twitter followers? Engagement? You & I both know those metrics are pretty thin. I personally know people with 5,000 facebook fans who are dead broke. Social media success? Sure.

    Successful companies (I’ll just use the old-fashioned way of figuring that one out: they are profitable at the end of the year) focus more on people “liking” their product/service and could probably give a hoot about people clicking their crap more – they focus on people buying their crap more.

    If people like and buy your product/service in the “real world”, that’s really all that matters, yes? As for “Social Success”? Makes for great blog fodder…nuff said.

    Still love you.

    PS – where’s my book?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Those metrics are thin. But there’s lots of social metrics that aren’t thin, and contribute (or can contribute) mightily to overall business success.

      I’m not sure what happened on the book front. We had a couple come back undeliverable, apparently. Can you please DM or email me your addy again (sorry) and I’ll have Wiley ship it out again? thx.

    • http://www.russhenneberry.com/ Russ Henneberry

      @danperez — Fair point Dan (RE: successful companies focus on people buying their crap more) but…

      “We want people to buy our crap” is an internal business goal, not a customer facing marketing message. The companies that truly understand social realize that they must build strong and loyal communities around their brands, so those communities will buy the crap, interact with the crap and share their experience with the crap.

  • Chris Piekarz

    The few companies I’ve publically had problems with (i.e., I’ve complained about them using social media) attempted to publically resolve the problem via responding to tweets or comments rather than dealing with me as the customer. Ultimately, I think you’re points are spot on – social media is better at exposing a company’s weaknesses versus covering them up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Williamson/100001814961345 Ryan Williamson

    LOL well I know its a cheat but I know alot of social media companies that are very good socially and crap everywhere else :P

  • http://www.celticharpmusic.com Anne Roos

    Thank you for speaking about the relevance of offline customer service. As a musician, people too frequently simply send me an email and ask “How much?”. How can I offer a quote for my services without getting a lot more information (where, when, how long am I playing, loading situation, etc.) And how does my client get to know me? Certainly not by my online presence alone. I have always maintained that my online presence is simply a billboard, not the catch all end all be all. (But maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned–I prefer being offline and playing the harp, exercising, walking in nature, to typing away at the keyboard).

    I have a solid company, so I have a solid Internet presence, so I have a solid company. I think it is a “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” situation.

    Thank you for your post!

  • http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/ Meryl K Evans

    I’ve built a successful business without using the phone, at least not very often. While I’m grateful for relay services that help deaf folks like me make phone calls — the service takes away the personality in a business call. The service is great for personal calls, but between the pauses and the operator doing the talking for you — a lot gets lost. (Yes, I can use my voice — but find calls go faster and smoother when I don’t.)

    But I don’t ignore the phone completely. I let clients and prospects know upfront about the relay service, how it works and to expect pauses while the operator types. Some switch to chat or email and others go for the relay.

    I think it’s about being available to your clients and prospects in as many ways as possible. Believe me, I’d love to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation. Unfortunately, it’d be one-way and listening is more important.

  • http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/ Meryl K Evans

    I’ve built a successful business without using the phone, at least not very often. While I’m grateful for relay services that help deaf folks like me make phone calls — the service takes away the personality in a business call. The service is great for personal calls, but between the pauses and the operator doing the talking for you — a lot gets lost. (Yes, I can use my voice — but find calls go faster and smoother when I don’t.)

    But I don’t ignore the phone completely. I let clients and prospects know upfront about the relay service, how it works and to expect pauses while the operator types. Some switch to chat or email and others go for the relay.

    I think it’s about being available to your clients and prospects in as many ways as possible. Believe me, I’d love to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation. Unfortunately, it’d be one-way and listening is more important.

  • http://www.PRRightNow.com Gina Kazimir

    Oy. That you even felt the need to write this post is sad…and it’s also true. No amount of glittery social media interaction or fancy Facebook campaigns can make up for a lack of essential business integrity. Marketing – in new or old media – is not the branding equivalent of makeup for an ugly company, and it’s high time executives realized that. Define your core values, actually live them and then market. It works much better that way!

  • Stallar

    I find that these company’s like to hide behind the internet. But like you said above, really don’t have what it takes to deal with people in person. I’m the opposite with my company. I’m great in person and then have a hard time showing my excitement and fun and great products online. I’m slowly bridging that divide. Sadly, because the economy is so bad employers can take advantage of their employees and that creates a bad face for the company. When things pick up again we will know which companies valued hard work.
    http://www.stallarlufrano.com

  • http://www.NoMoreColdCalling.com Joanne Black

    Thanks, Jay for reminding us that in sales, there’s nothing that replaces a personal conversation or a face-to-face visit. It’s great to hear a social media guy recommend actually talking to people. What a concept. I write about social media and referrals “How to Attract Sales Prospects in a Tech-Focused World–It’s Not 140 Characters, It’s You. http://www.nomorecoldcalling.com/how-to-attract-sales-prospects-in-a-tech-focused-world/

  • Anonymous

    In many ways social is another data channel but without the context of other metrics, like web analytics, transactional, or customer service data it provides an incomplete picture of consumers. We are working to integrate social media analytics so that organizations can begin to correlate existing data to social profiles or optimize their business workflows to enable the right message to the right audience on the right platform.

    I think it’s hard for companies to be consistent with every customer interaction. So, for me, it’s hard to pinpoint a company that excels socially and then perhaps not from a customer service perspective. Maybe the bigger question is when a company does screw up in one of these channels how do they react and retain that customer?

    Thanks for the great post!

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  • marycbarkley

    I’ve always said, ” if you want to know what’s really happening with a company, just call customer service. ” Integration of marketing is like spinning fabric; it must be woven into the entire brand alignment strategy. However, at the end of the day, if customer service fails, it’s all for naught. As for social media scoring platforms, they are riddled with hype and imperfect algorithms that are NOT the standard of influence.