Thursday, 26 August 2010

Manners matter

I'm increasingly puzzled by the behaviour of some businesses that use social media. Why is it that when they enter the online world they leave their manners and customer care on the virtual doorstep?

To get the most out of any form of social media you need to interact. A string of announcements on a Twitter feed may tick a box that says "we do social media" but it's a missed opportunity of gigantic proportions.

I've had a number of businesses come to me lately because they want a Facebook page. When I start to ask questions about how often they want to update it, what their brand guidelines are, what level of access they want to give their "likers", and so on, they are horrified.

"We just want a Facebook page" they say "we don't want to have to do anything to it!"

That's like having a dedicated customer care telephone number and then not bothering to answer it. (Well, ok, some companies seem to do that too!)

Most businesses will plough resources into answering the telephone, emails, letters and web site requests. Why then are they so averse to talking to their customers using social media?

It's all fine and dandy to have customer care slogans slapped all over your marketing literature and on your website, but if you don't have the good manners to take that ethos seriously and carry it across into the virtual world then you'll lose customers.

The clue is in the title - Social Media