Social media and valuable communication

I just was reading an article that argues that your company’s Facebook or Twitter can’t make users feel like valued customers. I would change that statement slightly to make it more accurate: your company’s Facebook or Twitter alone can’t make users feel like valued customers. The digital marketing firm Razorfish just put out a report based on a study it conducted, and the findings indicate that “Across the board, consumers cited ‘feeling valued’ as the most important element of brand engagement,” which leads them to conclude that “companies should worry less about building out numerous channels and touchpoints and more about ensuring each customer interaction communicates value.” Social media can help customers feel valued as long as there is other value offered, whether that be service or content or whatever your business provides.

The challenge now with Facebook is that on most users’ News Feed, so many updates are coming in at such a high rate that a user doesn’t process much of that information—and even more of it the user doesn’t even see. The growing inundation of useless information and advertisements on Facebook may eventually lead to a dramatic shift in what people use the site for. It may become viewed as less reliable for important communications – and I think that’s why we should not abandon traditional websites and email.

The (Instant) Information Age has overloaded all of us, and for a business or organization to be successful, we need to give our customers less noise and more meaning. That means targeted (and less frequent) email blasts, meted out Twitter and Facebook updates, useful and continually updated content on the company web page, well-thought out and insightful videos or podcasts and an overall more intentional approach to digital communications.

Addendum 2/4/11:

In an article about entrepreneurs and their relationship to social media, I ran across an interesting quote from blogger Mark Henricks:

It’s not considered important enough to engage [entrepreneurs’] attention at this point. And I don’t believe there are sufficient success stories with social media for that to change soon. It’s interesting to speculate whether social media will remain vibrant long enough for it to be of great importance to the vast majority of small businesses. So many large corporations and sophisticated marketers are moving into the space so rapidly that it seems possible that it will become pervasively commercialized much more quickly than the Web at large.

He raises the relevant question of just how much time an entrepreneur should spend on social media. However, I don’t think that “whether social media will remain vibrant” is something to speculate about. Social media will continue to evolve, but it’s not going away anytime soon.

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