Friday, July 16, 2010

Social Media Scale: is it Right for Big Companies to Engage Customers?

Every business would love to be able to personally interact with every potential customer and make them feel like you care about them. their thoughts, any issues they are having or get praise from them. Social Media is great for a small business because one or two people can easily engage with everyone who tweets or posts on their Facebook Page.

But what if you had 500 million customers. And say just a small fraction Tweeted or posted on your Fan Page. Say just a puny 50,000 per day. How do you make every single person feel like you are engaging with them without hiring 50 to 100 people. You can't. Automated Response is cold and you will be exposed. Many Brands I follow on Twitter do not respond to my Tweets. Not because they don't like me. But they have one or two people doing Social Media and how many can one person respond too in a day? And we expect a business to respond 24/7.

Another issue is the value of this engagement for a Brand in determining how much they pay someone. Are they going to pay someone more than a person who works in a call center? And if your paid call center money how will your engagement come across.

This is a big issue for big business. All the Guru's keep saying everyone needs to be in Social Media. But reality is maybe not on Facebook or Twitter. And maybe it needs to be a form of public call center but how can 100 people share one Twitter account. It's not an ACD system (Automated Call Distribution).

I wish I had a solution but you risk people unfollowing you or unfanning you or ending engagement if they don't feel special and get interaction. So it is my position Big Brands should not be doing this. Why spend the effort to engage with such a small amount of people which doesn't move the needle and has bigger upside risks?

One thing I do recommend is having employees themselves be brand advocates and create their own networks. They can manage their own networks and they put a real face to your company. 'I like Nabisco because I know Sharon from Twitter and I love interacting with her'. Something to think about.

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