A recent article was brought to our attention by our friend Eric Qualman over at Socialnomics. The social media industry experts at Hubspot revealed some thought-provoking stats with the roll out of their new Social Inbox product. The data is insightful, and brands should take note as this may be a strong reflection of our evolving online attitudes and behaviors toward them.
- 81% of consumers have either “un-liked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feed
- 71% of consumers report being more selective about liking a company on Facebook than they were last year
- 41% of consumers have “un-followed” a company on Twitter
So what does this mean for your company’s social media channels? What can you do to keep people interested?
It means now more than ever, it is critical to create a strong voice for your brand.Take Taco Bell for example. Screenshots of their unconventional tweets seem to consistently grace the pages of Reddit, eventually making their way onto Buzzfeed, and eventually ending up plastered onto my Facebook news feed. People re-tweet Taco Bell’s 140 character updates to share the laughs with their own followers. Taco Bell’s tone is sassy, fun, and sometimes scandalous; the perfect recipe for thousands of RTs. And Taco Bell responds to almost everything; even tweets regarding unsettling post-taco stomach affairs. Taco Bell has given itself a unique identity in the cluttered world of Twitter, and always makes sure to give Twitter users more than enough reason to follow.
It means that it’s time to get real. The internet has given us unparalleled transparency in the world of brand reputation, and we no longer have the ability to micro-manage public criticism. If people have an issue, they now have the tools to tell your team, their peers, and the world about it. In response, we have to use social media properly now more than ever; we can no longer simply talk at people, and instead must listen and talk with them.
It means having an active social media presence that does not ignore bad feedback is essential. There’s no way everybody will be happy with everything; having a Facebook or Twitter page means you need to anticipate complaints. How you deal with these complaints can make or break your brand.
Take WestJet for example. No matter what the tweet, they will always respond in a timely and polite manner. The most impressive part of WestJet’s social media is their team’s ability to take criticism and respond accordingly. They do not turn a blind eye to negative feedback; they tackle it head on and show a genuine interest in resolving the issue.
For every WestJet example there is at least one Amy’s Baking Company, a Scottsdale-area restaurant that was recently featured on the show Kitchen Nightmares. The owner and Head Chef, Amy, claimed that the abundance of negative Yelp reviews were ruining her business. Amy then took to Yelp to respond to the negative reviews publicly. Needless to say, Amy unintentionally illustrates how improperly responding to negative social media feedback can cause permanent brand damage.
The main takeaway here is that social media is a user-driven experience. How you handle this experience can impact your brand positively or negatively.
Speak to your audience and provide content that is interesting and relevant to them, and your company social channels will be able to handle changing user behaviors.