Recently, an industry professional posed a very important question regarding the use of social media for business. He wanted to know whether communications professionals believed Facebook better served as a client acquisition tool or a client retention tool.
Think of the last time you needed an item or a service. What did you do? Did you turn to Google and do self-imposed research? Or, did you sit around on your computer and wait for that company to find you? More than likely, you did the first. We live in a culture of immediacy. When we want something, we want it now, and so we go and get it.
That being said, in public relations, we want the product/service our clients offer to be good enough that consumers will seek it out. This is why most successful products and services are constructed to solve consumer problems. The use of social media for business, then, requires great attention. Gaining fans should be the easy part. Keeping them around is what is important. Social media best serves as a client retention tool.
Think of it this way. How many times have you been upset or frustrated by an organization? Have you ever called customer service only to hang up more frustrated than you were before? We all know the feeling. Social media is an excellent venue to diminish this problem. Staying on top of questions and complaints via Facebook/Twitter helps an organization stay relevant. It keeps the organization in the conversation, and, in turn, allows customer service to control the conversation.
Do not make the mistake of ignoring negative social media conversation.
Instead, it is vital that communications professionals respond and reverse these negativities. Nobody likes being ignored, not even on Facebook. Utilize this social platform to get ahead of competitors. Respond to comments and complaints. Retain fans. Regulate your client’s image.