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Online Influencers – The Power to Disrupt

A TRUE STORY – SOCIAL MEDIA, IN REAL LIFE (IRL) ENGAGEMENT AND THE POWER OF ONLINE INFLUENCE.

Let’s begin with this presumption…

Social Media and Customer Service go hand in hand.

Social Media is not just Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other gazillion online platforms where people engage with one another. Social Media is very much a platform where consumers turn to comment, review and critique In Real Life (IRL) experiences with brands products and services. If they love you, consumers are priceless. If your service or product sucks and they hate you with a passion – Look Out! Things may become very disruptive.

No longer does a killer website and slick marketing grow sales by itself. In today’s marketplace, regardless of your product or service, online review sites are a starting point for many purchase decisions.

What does this mean to you?

It’s very simple. Your product or service cannot suck. Every customer experience… every customer touch… from the very beginning to the very end (must it really ever end?) should exceed expectations. Consumers know the power of a negative or a positive review online and often contribute to review sites when they experience exceptional or horrible service or if the product flat out sucks. Quite often, simply average service goes unnoticed.

So what does this all really mean?

The entire customer experience has the potential to crowdsource from loyal followers who love your stuff and help a brand grow legs or could force a brand into a major damage control mode or even worse, kill a brand. Eliminating bad social stream reviews and sentiment is a time consuming process that is always painful and extremely necessary at all costs. Can you imagine the price you would have to pay for damage control if there was chatter in multiple social streams that your brand ‘sucks’ and your ratings stink on major review sites? … could prove devastating…

How bout an example?

Glad you asked…. Yesterday I went to a well known supermarket on the way home to pick up some dog food. That was the only item in my purchase. The cashier said “It will be $24.99″. The price on the shelf said it was on sale for $19.99, which is a nice savings. I had yet to pay for this item and when I advised the cashier the item scanned incorrectly he said, “yeah, it’s happened before, after you pay me, just go to the manager and he will issues you a refund”. I had yet to pay! I told him to fix it at the register. There was a line forming behind me and the cashier was refusing to correct the mistake at the register. Get this – it’s the second time it’s happened to me at this store. With the same cashier!

I did not go to the manager, I paid the extra $5.00 and left the store. Hold that thought….

Big deal, you got mad…

Living in the social streams for the last 3 years pretty much 24/7 I have developed a tight following of people I engage with every day. The number of engaged people who are connected to my engaged people (actual engagement matters) is what’s called my ‘true reach’ or in other words, numbers of eyeballs that could potentially read any review or comments I post about my shopping experience described above. Understanding the amount of true reach and influence I carry in the social streams forces me to give some deep thought regarding posting anything negative in the social streams. And let me tell you, I was steaming pissed off at that cashier. – ready to Disrupt.

Could there be a possibility my negative post may spark others with similar negative sentiment about that grocery store and trigger a stream of comments on social platforms such as Facebook, further bringing to the public other shortcomings at that store? – Disruption  ….wonder if the store knows that?

It can work the other way too…

The latest social platform craze is Pinterest . Yesterday on twitter several of us were discussing Gentlemint , which is supposed to be a men’s version of Pinterest. A few people in the conversation were commenting on how long the ‘invite code’ from Gentlemint was taking. I decided to google ‘gentlemint’ and the first result was Chris Brogan (highly influential social media guy) stating how cool the site was. So I tweeted, “I wonder how long Chris Brogan waited for his gentlemint ‘invite’. He responded within a few minutes to my tweet “quite a while”.

Chris Brogan has so much influence he can single handily disrupt enough traffic to a site to get it trending. The props he gave gentlemint in the social streams and the fact that his name was prominent in the google searches is priceless. How gentlemint responds to the negative sentiment from brogan and many others in the social streams regarding slow invites remains to be seen. If gentlemint is using social media monitoring tools, is actively listening for mention and chatter and reaches out and touches those in the social streams, addressing their concerns, it could be a huge win for them. If not, they could be another flash in the day of our ever evolving social media world.

Lesson to be learned –  don’t suck… everyone matters, no matter how influential or engaged they are, everyone matters!

Word of the Day – DISRUPTION

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