Okay, this is anecdotal but borne of years of active ‘in the trenches’ Twitter service plus keen observation of other people’s activities on the social platform.
Here’s the thing. I quite regularly hat-tip businesses on Twitter. That means that out of the blue, I tell the world (well, my meagre sliver of the Twitterverse) that I like/love/am rapt in a specific product, or I’m highlighting that a particular brand’s service is exceptional. Let’s file it under ‘credit where credit’s due’.
I’m not the only one who does this of course, I see this type of hat-tipping activity often. Which is why it can get quite frustrating when we hear ad nauseum the negative stuff that takes place on Twitter, but what’s not often reported are the positive responses brands receive from the public. But that’s another story …
And herein lies the missed opportunity … AND IT’S A BIG ‘UN!
I reckon for every 10 positive ‘out of the blue’ comments I make about a brand or product or service that I like, one – maybe two max – will tweet back to me. You know, acknowledge the comment, thank me (if that is their wont), or more importantly (but something that’s less prevalent), engage me in further conversation around the comment.
But you know what these brands do do?
They will, more often that not, retweet and/or favourite my tweet.
You see, they’re monitoring the Twitterverse (kudos for that guys!) but they are straight-out ignoring the opportunity to create a connection with someone who may well be not only an advocate but also potential long-standing customer.
Why are businesses so reluctant to engage with someone who has publicly expressed positivity about their brand?
To be honest, I don’t know the real answer but I can hazard a guess: It’s because in business, it’s always about us and our brand. Building relationships with people – one at a time – is hard work and not considered worthy of the effort. Best to keep pushing promotional stuff out and see what sticks; if someone along the way happens to say something nice about us, record it for prosperity and move on.
Well, good luck with that; it’s a pretty self-centred attitude, but then marketing has been like that for years, hence the difficulty many brands are having in changing their approach in order to make their marketing more human and customer-centric.
Smart marketing and PR today is about those one-to-one micro engagements.
It is about acknowledgement and conversation and being an open and accessible company made up of real human beings who recognise and treasure the power of such interaction.
It’s about understanding that generosity, humility, empathy and relationships hold the key to marketing success today, and if you think you can do that with broadcast promotional campaign after broadcast promotional campaign with minimal human interaction in between, you’re going to find the going tough as our world becomes even more socially connected.
Marketing and PR is as much about imbuing a philosophy that’s in-sync with the public than merely a set of clever creative tactics.
Which side of the marketing fence does your business sit?