Many businesses are living in the old media world, but other businesses, which already have a social media presence, see customers and markets in an added dimension. So said Dave Friedman, president of the central region of Razorfish, which helps companies build great brands by creating great experiences for customers. I heard him speak recently in Chicago. He’s got 4 steps a company can take to move into social media, into that new dimension.
1. Give customers a voice. Your customers are talking about you. It’s either behind your back or to your face. How do you find out what they are saying? He mentioned subscriptions to Neilson’s Buzzmetrics and JD Power’s Umbria. Another example which I just set up for SCORE is the CompanyBuzz application in Linkedin. But what Friedman really means is to create ways for customers to talk in your space — on your website, in blogs, maybe in your own social network.
2. Set your content free. Let customers rate your products, the editorial content on your website, your videos, your ads, everything. Fix items with the lowest ratings, the 1′s and 2′s. And show ratings, both individual and consolidated, to everyone. One of Friedman’s examples was something I had not noticed — the New York Times encourages readers to add social bookmarks to articles and incorporate the headline and first sentence on blogs and websites. The Times also lists articles most emailed and most blogged.
I was talking to a client the other day who was unnecessarily repeating her story. I felt like saying, “I got it the first couple of times,” but didn’t as I figured she needed to vent her concerns more than once in her mind. Priding myself on truly listening to what clients are saying, I had to really focus. Made me realize that it takes focus to focus. How easy is it when talking to a client or customer to step on their words with our own words or to let the mind wander in and out of the conversation. To truly listen to someone, you need to not only hear the words, but to watch the body language including the facial expressions.
Small children are good examples of focus. Although their focus may be short lived (short attention spans), when they are talking or listening it is with every ounce of their being. Do you have trouble listening to a boring customer or employee? Go past the words to what is really going on in their heads. As I learned, it takes focus to focus. When has this happened to you?