Maximizing Social Media: Part 1 of 2

Phone PollWhen we were kids we use to construct a “phone line” using a long string with an empty bean can on either end. When you spoke right into the bean can, the sound carried over the string to be heard by the ear in the can on the other end. We could tell smutty jokes and trade secrets without parental eavesdropping. Now, we have Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, and Twitter between “trees.” And, all your friends can have a string connected to your “bean can.”

Organizations are trying to figure what to make of social media and how to capitalize on it. Since they can “listen in” on the “crowdalogue,” some treat it as tool to monitor “chatter” hopefully revealing customer issues and interests. Some are using it as an early warning device actually intervening to right a service wrong in the making. But, few are tapping into the real anthropology—the bean can side.

Customers want connections that are personalized and specific. They do not want to waste time with scattergun clutter from marketers. They want connections that are authentic and natural, not PR pap sanitized and hyped by some speechwriter. They want connections that engage their heart as much as their head—service creativity that creates a story to share. Remember, the goal of communication is not simply to listen. The goal is to turn understanding into meaningful action. Are you using social media to monitor or to make a difference?

Effective social media management helps customers create a network. Examine how cleverly lets you know that “People who bought this book also enjoyed the ones pictured below.” Look at the popularity of NetFlix Friends network which allows customers an online peek at movies their friends have rented and whether they’ve given them the thumbs up or down. Providing a network creates ways of socializing the service experience, thus ramping up affirmation that customers made a wise choice.

In part two, Bell and Patterson will describe how social media can lead to customers telling stories about your business.

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of the best-selling book Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers. They can be reached through

photo credit: SpecialKolin

2 Responses to “Maximizing Social Media: Part 1 of 2”

  1. Service Untitled» Blog Archive » Maximizing Social Media: Part 2 of 2 said:

    Nov 27, 09 at 4:53 pm

    […] To see part one of this series, click here. […]

  2. CustServ: Customer Relations: The New Competitive Edge said:

    Dec 14, 09 at 2:52 am

    […] personalized and specific. They do not want to waste time with scattergun clutter from marketers. Read on…  0 votes Posted by meikah | Filed under Customer Relations Management, Customer […]