October 28, 2011
Liz published this at 7:25 am
A Guest Post by
The Tools Only Get You Halfway There
Many tools offer to help you analyze your customer community, so that you can capture the elusive “ROI.” These tools evaluate a multitude of data points, including number of followers, likes, blog comments, retweets, etc., to come up with the success equation. Small businesses can be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of starting from zero in all of these social categories.
However, I propose that numbers only get you halfway there. The other half is composed of humanity. Information like, “dog’s name,” “has 3 kids,” “is insanely into photography.” The reason that is often left out in the cold is because it’s hard to automate that kind of connection. That type of information is only really gleaned from a steady stream of interactions over a long period of time. And many of us don’t invest the time to build up that data.
There’s an old-school sales trick that says when you walk into someone’s office, you look around and take note of the family pictures, fishing trophies, or other personal items on the desk. Those can be used to start conversations and begin building a connection…”hey, I went to UVa too!” If you want to build up your humanity data, you need to do the digital version of that; i.e., take note of the human information that is available online.
I’m not suggesting cyberstalking in a creepy way, but if your customer is sharing his/her interests publicly, it’s fairly easy to build on that. Here are some concrete ideas:
- Build a web of connections, via Twitter, LinkedIn, or other networks
- Promote your customers’ projects and content
- Work on expanding the ways you connect—if it’s all digital, try the phone. If you’ve always emailed, try finding them elsewhere.
- When you respond, try to read-up first. If your customer is reaching out to you on your FB page, why not show them you know them. Same with Twitter followbacks.
- Find ways to allow your customers to be “whole people” in your community, include an area for off-topic socializing. And allow your reps to be human too.
The bonus is that, by including human data, you also build in “delight,” as people recognize that they’re being noticed. And that’s priceless.
Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work on the Internet. Check out their blog. You can find her on Twitter as @rhogroupee
Thank you, Rosemary! People like you are easy to remember and fun to do business with!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!