As we implement inbound marketing strategies through social media, the number one rule is the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated - with RESPECT
But when I look at companies' practices, especially in the bigger companies, I see many failing at this simple rule.
Here is an example of two big brands and their response to my VERY GENUINE interaction with them. Each has a product that I adore, which is currently no longer available. In each example, I contacted them to let them know how much I love the product, and to encourage them to bring it back.
First doing it wrong: Campbell's Chunky Soup. They used to have a soup called Wicked Thai Chicken with Rice. It's essentially an Americanized Tom Yum. It's not as spicy as Tom Yum is, and I can't quite put my finger on why I say it's "Americanized," but it's just not straight-up Tom Yum. But MAN is it yummy!
My husband and I agree it's the best canned soup we've ever tried. We took to buying out all we could find, wherever we could find it - in the hopes it would let the grocery store know that it's popular and they need to restock.
Unfortunately, what happened was that all the stores ran out of it. No more. So I reached out to Campbell's to let them know I wanted more. Their response?
So, a customer tells you they love your product, tells you that they are willing to virally market your product, and your response is, essentially, we don't care that we've taken away this product - it's on YOU to try our other products and maybe find something else you like.
I truly feel like they don't give a crap about their customers at all.
If you're going to respond like this, it's better not to do social media at all.
Now, let's contrast this with Coke.
I absolutely adore their cinnamon Coke. And I get it - it's not a product for everyone, you really have to be a cinnamon lover to want it year round like me. But it is a perfect holiday drink, so I was hoping that they'd bring it back.
Here's the exchange:
Notice how the first thing they do is to essentially thank me for loving their product? And then they confirm that I will be able to get it again - AND give me a link to be able to find it?
Honestly, even if they didn't bring it back, I suspect they would have had a kind note telling me that they were sorry to disappoint me, and that they'd specifically call out what thing they were doing this year for the holidays that I might like because I liked their previous product. (Which is completely different than saying, sorry we stopped making what you like, why don't you try all our other products and figure it out if you like any of them.)
Coke is huge business. They didn't have to respond to a small, one-person feedback. But that's what social media is for - and they get it. They didn't respond immediately, but they did respond. And in a way that made me feel heard and valued.
That's really the takeaway: if you're going to be on social media, and someone bothers to try to interact with you, make them feel heard and valued. Put their feelings above your corporate-speak. Build relationships.
That's what wins loyalty and sales.