Is your business listening and responding appropriately to those who reach out? Last February our post, 6 Superb First Social Media Tactics For Business caught some buzz and conversation. We discussed the importance of listening and offering unconditional service to new friends and customers, when they obviously seek to engage
The more I travel the world, broadcasting experiences as I go, the more this basic tenant resonates. I’m always surprised by who’s listening and who’s not. In the last 36 hours, I’ve had revealing experiences with two iconic Minnesota brands, Mall Of America and Mayo Clinic, that illustrate this crucial social media fundamental splendidly. One brand got things really right, the other was not listening. No matter whether your customer’s channel of choice is Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or a lesser known community or forum, answering the call of users who want to engage is key.
This version of the ah-hah moment started innocently enough. Visiting the Mall of America, I tweeted a picture of the 2 story Lego robot on my way to find some pistachio ice cream.
After a few minutes, I was happily surprised that a MOA community manager reached out in thanks and offered more information about the Lego sculpture. Cool!
My first reaction was professional. I wanted to understand the social media monitoring and community manager corporate structure that led to such a terrific and welcoming response. When customers reach out in mainstream channels expressing a willingness to engage, businesses must be there to listen and respond or an opportunity is lost.
I love way the Mall Of America Twitter profile is wired. The avatar is a picture of the MOA building and the handle is transparently @mallofamerica. The community manager goes by the initials -lg. There’s no way to determine whether it’s a woman or a man. Because I’m me, I read female into to conversation. Wonderful! Great business avatar concepts are fully transparent in their commercial intent but, like a great song, leave users enough space to build their own human inferences into empowering experiences. Maybe during the week the CM is -MW or -EF, it does not matter. I love it…great concept. MOA community managers are interchangeable and human-feeling, without compromising transparency.
Then it hit me: This CM person, was ready to support. At the time -lg engaged me, I was unsuccessfully looking for pistachio ice cream. Hmmm
I reached out. I was curious as to whether -lg would be politically correct and suggest several MOA ice cream shop options, or give me a true read on what ice cream is best in her/his opinion.
He/she did not disappoint. Looking around I saw that I was right in the vicinity. My mouth was watering. Paciugo was straight ahead, walking out the mall door of Macy’s.
I headed on over.
There it was, blessed, creamy, tasty ahead. MMM, pistachio almond gelato in all its twitlicious splendor. I tweeted that I thought a blog post would come out of this, andsome darn good frozen treats.
It was a little taste of heaven in the mall. Of course, I tweeted a picture. The CM engaged again. That was smart. When customers engage, keep the conversation going as long as they want to continue so long as the timbre is appropriate and sentiment positive. After all, the customer is advertising your business for free.
When Brands Don’t Listen
Then this morning I was at Mayo Clinic for my annual checkup. I was taken by the magnificent architecture of the famed Gonda Building, and tweeted a picture in the early morning light. I love Mayo, as 5 years ago they saved my life. However, every time I return to Mayo, moved, broadcasting, the incredible art collection, thoughts about their blessed mission, Mayo’s brand, heartfelt, they ignore.
Maybe some attorney told Mayo that the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which provides federal protections for personal health information, somehow applies to answering a guy like me broadcasting grateful pictures of the hospital. That sounds like bunk to attorneys I’ve talked to. There’s no private information here being transmitted here. What are they thinking, that they can’t reveal I’m here? Dude, I tweeted first! How difficult would it be for @mayoclinic to simply welcome tweeting visitors to the campus and wish them the best? #FAIL. That’s no way to make friends.
Brands that don’t listen come across as deaf. Broadcast-only is not social media. Social media is about being social, two ways.
Maybe now that Mayo is opening an outpost at Mall of America, they’ll get into the swing of things. Are they going to ignore social media users broadcasting about the new Mayo mega mall satellite?
It’s always surprising who’s listening and who’s not. Social media best practices certainly means to monitor mainstream and salient niche’ channels and being there to respond, as appropriate. Those are the basics we all learn in kindergarten. Here’s sending out a hat tip to @mallof america and a sad, was-almost-nice-talking-to-ya’ to Mayo Clinic.
Is your business listening?