It has often been said that one of the distinguishing features of the web is that it is both a channel to market and a marketing channel. The stand out brands and corporations in web marketing know this and realized that what they did online had to add genuine customer value through any or all of choice, value, convenience, relevance and service.
It is the last of this handful of virtues that separates the good from the average on Twitter. Why do Best Buy, Jet Blue and Dell constantly top the list of brands that are leveraging social media?
I think the answer is simple enough; all these companies have found a way of creating genuinely enhancing experiences through the provision of real time customer service and advantage in the form of advice, information, discounts and benefits.
Its been said that customer service is the new marketing. It’s also been said that those companies that make service the goal across the employee base are the ones people will want to do business with. The notion of broadly distributed service within organizations has the added benefit of connecting participating employees with the broader mission of the enterprise. Forty something years ago President Kennedy is said to have asked a Cape Canaveral janitor the nature of his job. The janitor was sweeping the floor but answered ‘Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon’.
Tweeting for Best Buy might be less lofty but those that do are helping the company to separate itself from its competition. Looking beyond this group an increasing population of corporations are adding a service layer to brands through social media, mobile apps and other programs. Happily these services, like the brands themselves, require promotion. The ROI comes from the equation that says pay for creating awareness of a service and for directing the consumer to an experience you own. You can earn more exposure by how that experience is shared.
The message to brands is simple. If you want to think social then think service. Service sits at the heart of relationships between brands consumers and at the heart of the conversations those relationships create.