The past few months have unveiled unscrupulous use of our private data by a few social media giants. And although I do not condone their behavior I also understand that as consumers, we need to understand the trade off of being provided a “free” service and what we give up in exchange for metrics of scale.
Facebook provides an environment where we can connect with our friends, relatives, co-workers and like minded people. To do so, we provide them with our contacts and they provide fun ways to create in depth profiles with things like our favorite books, movies, hobbies, education, work, food and so on. As the collective Facebook community submits their data points the marketers behind the scene analyze the data and develop advertising opportunities for commercial entities.
Now, we’ve arrived at a place where privacy counts, tools have been put in place to control ones profile and what people see as well as what social media outlets can share or sell. This information is personal and it needs rules and regulations so that our privacy is not compromised.
However, on a commercial level, what I really want to discuss is the incredible potential of social media that business sometimes overlooks. One that’s free, but is managed through diligence, focus and planning. Business’s work hard growing their followers and writing content. However, we forget or are fearful of what our customers have to say in return. Case in point. I recently visited a very popular Berkshire County establishment as a result of their post announcing summers’ arrival. But after attending I found that the establishment was unprepared in so many ways; inexperienced staff, under staffed and out of product. As a loyal customer, I wanted to go back to the post and express my thoughts but the business had all comments blocked.
Sure, I could have gone to TripAdvisor, or Yelp. I wasn’t looking to degrade or harshly criticize, I wanted to use the platform to engage with the business and create an opportunity for them to connect with their customer. Ultimately what is lost in the above scenario is the establishment squandering the opportunity for greater customer loyalty.
Social media is not going away and even more platforms are on the horizon which will provide greater engagement and opportunities to connect with your customers. Check you settings and have protocols in place so you can encourage an open channel with your customers and watch your business grow.