In our last get together I talked about Firehosing - taking your message and spraying it out with the hopes of getting positive results. This week we’re going to go over another point of social media - interacting with your audience.
Remember my vision of social media that it’s the modern version of the water cooler. People go to relax and catch up on what the people they care about are doing. It also lets us keep in touch with people who we do care about but don’t see very often which is a huge appeal for some people.
If social media were a food it would probably be dessert. You go to get the fun gossip and highlights of people’s days but there’s not much nourishment. It could also be The National Enquirer but for normal people like you and I.
But more and more people are looking to social media in general, and Facebook and Twitter more specifically, to actually get information and results. Many larger companies now have whole teams of people whose job it is to monitor these channels and respond to customer inquiries and complaints.
In the olden days if you wanted to get a response you’d write a letter. Today companies are concerned because your social media post can reach a huge audience and that’s far more concerning than reaching a few board members who don’t know who you are anyway. You have been empowered!
So recently I was having a discussion with some people about my mention of In & Out Burgers and, as they often do, the discussion strayed to where someone talked about the fact that they claim they have no freezers in their restaurants. But they serve shakes, so I was curious how they can serve a drink based on a frozen product - ice cream - with no freezers. So I wrote to them via their Facebook page.
I happened to have written on December 26, which is a day I would expect they would be spending with their families. But, instead, I got a response very shortly after I wrote with a very friendly answer to my question along with an invitation to contact them further should I have any additional questions.
In today’s world it’s relatively easy to set-up your social media pages and then monitor them from wherever you are with a smart phone. In my world I manage almost three dozen Facebook pages alone using my smart phone so when someone asks a question of the business page I manage I can get back to them within a very, very short time.
This kind of responsiveness truly marks the difference between a company people want to do business with and one that just seems like a cold presence that doesn’t care about its customers. While I had no expectation of getting an answer to my shake question on the Saturday after Christmas the fact that I did shows that In & Out not only truly does an outstanding job with their social media, but also has moved up yet another notch in my emotional record book.
I’ve talked to plenty of people who say they simply don’t have ‘the time’ to monitor these channels but if you do so from your mobile phone, it’s a really easy and fast process. The phone will notify you if there’s a question or request and you can zip back an answer in no time. Unlike email, which tends to pile up like the dog’s work in the back yard, this is a quick, easy and efficient process and will really give your customers and prospects something to feel good about.
Even with the dozens of organizations for whom I manage their Facebook page, some of them larger organizations, it still really takes almost no time to keep up with these communiques. The phone alerts me, I respond, customer is thrilled. Best of all the tools to manage all this are completely free for both Facebook and Twitter so there is absolutely no reason not to keep an eye on your business’ social media pages.
For any man who is happily married you know that a big factor in a happy marriage is “happy wife, happy life.” In the original discussion that brought about the shake question my wife actually proffered the answer to my question about the shakes and the freezers. But I wouldn’t listen, so there’s lesson number one.
The answer to the question about the shakes is that the shake machines themselves freeze a cream-based mixture into the shakes eliminating the need for a separate freezer in the restaurants. They simply pour the shake mix into the shake machine and it works its magic, much like an ice cream maker, producing the shakes that In & Out sells. Oh, and there is a shake on their secret menu as well!