Before he started to dole out social-media advice for entrepreneurs like you at Inc.’s recent GrowCo conference in New Orleans, Dave Kerpen, chairman of Likeable Media and now founder of offshoot Likeable Local, had a few things he wanted to get out of the way.
First, he said, social media is not free. Second, it won’t bring you immediate results. And, third, it can’t make up for a bad product or service.
If you can cope with all that, you’re ready to learn how–and why–Kerpen still recommends you get involved:
1. Listen, Then Talk?
A couple of years ago, when Kerpen went to Vegas, the check-in line at the Aria hotel where he was staying “took forever,” he said.
So Kerpen did what he does best–took to Twitter, and quickly posted: Waiting on line for 45 minutes at the Aria. Not worth it. #fail
Did he hear anything from the Aria? No. But he did hear from the Rio, a hotel down the street. Within two minutes, the Rio Tweeted back to Kerpen: Sorry you’re having a bad experience, Dave. Hope the rest of your time in Vegas goes well.
Kerpen didn’t switch hotels on that trip, but where do you think he stayed the next time he went to Vegas? The Rio. And he “liked” the Rio on Facebook. And sometime later, a friend going to Vegas saw that Kerpen had “liked” the Rio, so asked if Kerpen would recommend the hotel. His response? “I don’t think it’s the fanciest, but I know that they listen,” Kerpen recalls telling that Facebook friend.
Kerpen pointed out that all the Rio did was pay attention to Twitter, and respond with empathy.
Kerpen recommends you do the same thing, regardless of the business you’re in. “If you’re an accountant, go to Twitter and search ‘need an accountant’,” he said. “Your customers are asking for you.”?
2. Respond (to Everyone!)
Kerpen said 60 percent of brands–mostly big ones–currently do not answer customers or prospects on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. As a result “you have a huge competitive advantage if you respond to your customers–and theirs,” he said. (Case in point: the Rio hotel in Vegas.)?
If a customer complains, don’t delete. Instead, you have an opportunity to respond publicly that you’re working to solve the problem, and will send a private message to the individual so it can be fixed.
“We all know that companies are going to make mistakes,” said Kerpen. “The problem isn’t when companies make mistakes, it’s when companies don’t say, ‘I’m sorry.'”
Instead, if you delete a complaint, you’re sending a message that the person who wrote it doesn’t matter, and you’re, in essence, “inviting him to go tell someone else, to start a petition,” warned Kerpen.
The only types of posts you should consider deleting? Those that are obscene, or bigoted.
When you respond, do it in your brand voice, whatever that is: serious, funny, full of puns, scientific, whatever. As long as it’s true to the brand.
Read more at?INC.