I have no doubt that you have already seen a dozen posts on the best Social Media tips and tricks for 2013, but before you start writing your must do list of Social Media I want to encourage you to spend money on three different things before you do.
Before I get into the three things you should spend on, I’m not saying that Social Media isn’t worth spending on, what I am saying is that it isn’t the priority that some Social Media “guru’s” would have you believe.
This should be a no-brainer and yet for some reason here we are in 2013 and still companies think that a great Facebook page or a fun Twitter competition will some how make up for bad Customer Service. I think we can all agree the point of Social Marketing is to tap into the “Word of Mouth” channel that already exists.
Businesses need to realize that the thing people talk about most is bad experiences and no where more than on Social channels. Investing in outstanding customer service will lead to happy and satisfied customers who are more than willing to recommend you. Zappo’s is often cited as a great example of a “Social Business”. I call BS on that, what they are is a superbly customer focused business. Investing in Customer Service is investing in your customers and they will show their appreciation with repeat business and repeat referrals.
How many times have you had a bad experience with a brand because of the point of human contact you had. Even the most patient of us (I should exclude myself from that statement because I have very little patience) who try to understand that the human being we are interacting with isn’t the company, they just work there and they are probably just following instructions.
The problem is that a lot of companies don’t see the connection between the point of contact and the point of sale. The person at the cash register isn’t just the operator and receiver of customer money. They are the face of your organization. Whether it is a can of beans or a sports car, people buy from people. Investing in employees makes great business sense, but it also makes for great customer experiences. As I pointed out above, providing great customer experiences leads to great customer commentary – the same thing you are trying to achieve with that Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram/Pinterest competition.
A few years ago I was listening to Peter Shankman deliver a great session, he made one particular statement that has stuck with me ever since. He said that he was more than willing to pay for anyone who worked for him to take a writing course because communication is at the core of what we do.
He couldn’t be more right, but I would take it further. Invest in education for yourself, for your employees. Teach them skills that your business needs, give them the ability to do more for your business and you will retain them longer. Sure they will leave eventually and you will have to start again, but you’ll have to do that anyway. Investing in them will make them more invested in you. Don’t leave yourself out of the equation either. Many small business owners I have met have never held management positions, suddenly they have employees and beyond telling them what to do they have little or no knowledge about how to get the best from them. Taking a few personnel management/human resources courses at a local college will be an investment you won’t regret.
Those are the three things I would suggest you invest in before Social, what would you add to the list?