I interact with a few of my very favorite brands and thinkers on various social media platforms. These are brands that share similar values and world view as myself. I enjoy receiving useful bits of information about various topics from them.
What distinguishes these brands is that I like to extend to them my support. I like things they post on social and I participate in conversations they initiate by posting comments, answering questions, retweeting, repinning.
But recently I’ve started to question this interaction. Because if I’ve taken the time to like and comment and engage with a brand then I believe the least the brand can do is recognise this relationship/support.
Brands as friends.
If we imagine that a brand was a person, would this be the way a person would treat their friends? By ignoring them? Until now social media has been used as an updated form of push marketing rather than a genuine attempt to connect with people (albeit brands push their messages out to people who have opted in to the messages).
Social media is such a great way to connect with people but when not used properly, it just highlights a brands opportunistic and selfish tendancies. Any brand employee can be given the tools to connect, but very few brand custodians or employees really understand how to talk and how to treat people.
Here are some points I’ve thought about:
Why don’t brands link their customers online and offline interactions?
Why don’t brands reward customers who support them online?
Why don’t brands use social media as a form of customer support and customer service?
If I was a brand owner / custodian I’d make sure that I connected the people who most commonly interact with me to some sort of loyalty or ‘appreciation’ program. I would send them a little note “Dear friend, next time you’re *at the cafe / at the mall / shopping for shoes* we’d like to shout you a coffee, because you’re special to us!”.
It’s time we built databases or eCRM programs that connect people’s social media activity to the real world. Databases that value people, not numbers and interactions not transactions.
That’s how I’d treat my friends and supporters.