Back when we all were younger, a company’s value was in word of mouth. It’s face was it’s advertising and it’s customer service was the person on the other end of the phone or in the office where you went to do business.
This is no longer way back then.
Today a company’s value is still determined by word of mouth, however that word of mouth is no longer spread from neighbor to neighbor and family member to family member. Today word of mouth advertising is spread through what bloggers have to say about their experiences, what other Facebook users have to say about their dealings and what twitter users have to say as well. If you are really lucky (or unlucky depending on the situation) it is also what a viral YouTube video has to say about a person’s dealings with your company.
This is both good and bad.
If a company is getting only good word of mouth then their presence on social media is likely to be not much more then a place for fans to congregate, which can be good and help give company executives an idea of what to do or what direction to go next.
However, very few companies will only get good word of mouth advertising. The complaints and how your company deals with them is where social media has it’s greatest value. If you do not know the complaints exist then it is impossible to deal with them. You may not know that you lost customers, depending on your volume you may not even notice it on your bottom line.
The problem is that just one viral complaint can drastically cut into a company’s bottom line. It can also make a mockery of a company and if it is not around to fix the problem (usually by correcting the error as promptly as possible) then this issue can have long term negative effects on your business and your ability to grow as a company.
Today a company’s advertising and customer service is just as much on Social Media as it is through the old school standard advertising and customer service model’s. In fact some companies have foregone standard advertising and customer service altogether depending on the demographic they are seeking.
Social Media Marketing, through the proper use of the various platforms available is almost an imperative in this new age. The small company on the corner, that does not waste a whole lot of time on advertising or storefront space, just may be eating into the profits of the large conglomerate. This is especially true if it has a strong social media presence and little to no online competition.