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The 2 Ingredient Recipe for the Social Media Magic Middle

Authors: Jay Baer Jay Baer
Posted Under: Social Media
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Jay Baer Blog Post
Silos are for suckers.

Your customers do not care about your org chart. To them, it’s irrelevant how your organization is structured, and the internal power plays and land grabs that unfold across your company are immaterial.

Your customers, potential customers and fans only care about two things in social media:

They want to be heard.

They want to be loved.

Smart brands are adept at both socially enabled customer service and social media marketing, but few are equally good at both ingredients of the Magic Middle of social.

This is underscored in an interesting new social media benchmark study from JD Power and Associates. Jacqueline Anderson, the director of social media at JD Power summarizes the findings quite well:

“Companies that are focused only on promoting their brand and deals, or only servicing existing customers, are excluding major groups of their online community, negatively impacting their satisfaction and influencing their future purchasing decision. A one-pronged approach to social is no longer an option.”

In the study of more than 23,000 customers of 100+ brands, JD Power found that just seven companies were cited by consumers as being particularly adept at both social media marketing and social media customer service:

Very nice to see that Fifth Third Bank and US Cellular were named in the social media service category, as we’ve interviewed both companies’ social teams on Social Pros.

You Need Proactive and Reactive to Create the Magic Middle in Social Media

The social media magic middle of doing customer service and marketing equally well – of listening and loving – isn’t based on willingness, or technology, or even corporate culture. What I’ve found after 60 episodes of the Social Pros podcast, and many corporate social media consulting projects, is that companies are usually better at either service or marketing because that’s where social media is managed within the organization.

In companies where the executive sponsor for social is a marketer, SURPRISE! social marketing tends to be the area of emphasis. Conversely, in companies where the head honcho comes from a customer care background, the prime directive is usually reactive service using social platforms.

An axiomatic tenet of self-help books is that you should work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Corporate execs managing social would do well to heed this advice, striving to bring their social marketing up to par with their social customer service, or vice versa.

Because, as JD Power uncovered, both sides matter. Among highly satisfied consumers (love) they found that 87% indicated online interactions with the brand positively impacted their likelihood to purchase from the company. Conversely, among dissatisfied consumers (listen) they found that 10% indicated their online interactions had a negative impact on purchase likelihood.

On the surface, it may look like social media marketing has a much larger impact on customers than does social media customer service. This is a misapplication of data, in my estimation. People who are dissatisfied are already unlikely to purchase, thus an ignored tweet certainly won’t help win them back, but it’s also not going to make matters much worse. If you have a rotten apple, leaving it out on the counter for a few days has no material impact on its edibility, or its future.

Social media success – creating the magic middle – requires two programs working harmoniously. Are your proactive and reactive social elements in synch? Are you equally good at listening and love?

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