Professional interaction is what makes business happen – it creates mutual respect and trust. As consumers, our interactions with businesses are often driven by emotion first and logic second as we are human after all. Our perception of a brand, organisation, government or public official is based on our interactions through a wide range of channels.
Think about the last time you had a bad experience, in a shop, at an event, with the government, a political figure. It’s not normally the brand that’s not working, it’s often the person you have an issue with. Our ability to provide feedback to any organisation has changed through the advent of social networking. But many users of social media still miss the point.
For those in a leadership position, knowing what your customer is saying is powerful. For many customers or citizens, being heard is all they want. The ability to share data and information to a leadership function is all it takes. In an economy based on innovation, we must always be open to new ideas and communication channels. Social media offers just such a channel, where some get it right and others fail to grasp its potential.
Many leaders, both in the public or private sectors, have a social media channel because it’s considered the “right thing to do”. Many leaders rely on some sort of PR function to provide social media; that’s ok to a point. Social media is not about one-way traffic and it’s not just another broadcasting tool. While you cannot respond to everything, being engaged on social media has a similar impact to a physical meeting for a new generation.
I travel a lot, and when I have a positive or negative experience I let an organisation know. Each time I get a response, they are listening and I feel valued. The next time you get a social media message directed at you, take the time to respond if you can. If you get many on the same topic, let your followers/ friends/ connections know.
Make use of the channel, engage, listen and respond as you would in any other conversation. It all comes back to building trust.