Do You Influence After 5?

10 years ago a businesses ¬†direct influence on a customer lasted from 9 am-5 pm. Eight hours a day was all the time an organization had to create and strengthen relationships with both new and existing customers. How the game has changed. With the creation of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and Digg has come a literally unprecedented opportunity to connect 24 hours a day to other human beings. Applications such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow businesses as well as self employed persons to put their content out there for their customers to see long after the five o’clock bell has wrung. We’re beginning to see organizations hiring social media managers in different time zones allowing them to work remotely in order to maintain dialogue with their customers after hours. Your competitors influence after 5, do you?

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Why Not to Follow Target’s Social Media Example

Hopefully not many of you or best case scenario none of you still believe that social media is a one-way communication tool. If you are still using Facebook and Twitter to talk at your customers, then, you’re really missing the picture. The beauty of social media is that you can actually hear what your customers are saying about you… and then respond. It’s dialogue at its best. However retail giant Target seems to think otherwise according to Jill Pete, a member of Target’s national community relations team.

Said Pete, it is very hard to simply “step back, listen and not react to what is being said” on the company’s Facebook page. “If you’re strong, you listen — and you learn.”

It’s quite possible that Ms. Pete is taking her cues from my therapist. It hurts me to think that I’m working from my basement and this woman is leading the social media engagement of one of our nation’s leading retailers (Target must not have received my application; it’s the only explanation).

While yes it is very important to listen to what is being said, it’s only half of the equation. In fact it’s less than half. 75% of your social media energy should be spent on engagement. You need to be talking to your customers. Ask them what they think is great about your company and then ask them what stinks. Sure you’ll have to swallow your pride pill but just look at what you get. Feedback!! Your customers will actually tell you what you can do to keep their business. Too sum it up and for the mathematicians out there; ¬†Dialogue = customer respect = customer loyalty.

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