When it comes to social media, do brands really understand what their customers want?


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When it comes to social media, do brands really understand what their customers want?

Earlier this year (Feb 2011) the IBM Institute for Business Value published a new piece of research: From social media to Social CRM: What customers want. The study aimed to investigation how companies were integrating social media into their marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) strategies and what was the effect on their efforts to build better relationships with their customers.

Some of the results were really interesting, although not surprising. The first chart shows that the majority of customers use social media….to be social and connect with their friends and family (70%). No surprises there.

But, it also shows that only 23% are using social media to interact with businesses or brands. Surprising?

However, drilling down into the reasons why customers do interact with companies via social media sites showed a discrepancy in thinking from marketers inside business versus what customers really want and why they want to interact. Check out the following chart:

Interesting? Are you in danger of spending money on initiatives that are failing or not getting the traction that you would like and are wondering why? Are you really listening to your customers and giving them what they want?

In this world where there is so much choice and where the customer is in control, the research shows that, increasingly, customers are more concerned with ‘what’s in it for me’ in terms of value rather than information or giving you feedback about what they think about your product or service.

It’s the same situation that seems to exist when it comes to customer satisfaction surveying (I wrote/ranted about this earlier in Do customer surveys do more harm than good? and Customer surveys, low response rates and staff targets) where many surveys are asked from the company’s perspective rather than the customers.

The danger seems to be that businesses and brands are in danger of making assumptions about the sort of relationships that they have with their customers and the sort of relationships they could have with their customers.

That’s not to say that customers won’t engage with you in the social sphere. Some may but most won’t. The ones that might need to feel passionate about you, your product or service before they will engage. The challenge is to find them and to start talking to them.

But, be realistic about the nature of the engagement that you can build with respect to your business.

Start small. Find those that are or could be passionate about your brand, understand (don’t guess) why they would want to engage with you on a social site, find out what they want, and start to build the relationship slowly. This is not a one-night stand this should be the start of a beautiful thing.

Do that and over time the insights and advocacy from your engaged customers will grow and your relationships will get better.

Thanks to sonson for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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