If you are not on top of your sCRM game, it can bite you in the ass. No one knows that better than British Petroleum, a.k.a BP. BP had to deal with an sCRM nightmare after their oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Back then, before the spill, BP was not very active on their Twitter account and sCRM was not a priority of theirs. After the spill, you can bet Twitter was buzzing with the breaking news but BP was no where to be found among the buzz! During their time of silence a fake Twitter account was created called @BPGlobalPR by a man who goes by “Leroy Stick”. It is believed that this is not his real name but he did reveal his motives as to why he created the account.
“I started @BPGlobalPR, because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bullshit PR statements. No solutions, no urgency, no sincerity, no nothing. That’s why I decided to relate to the public for them. I started off just making jokes at their expense with a few friends, but now it has turned into something of a movement.”
From this account, a swarm of tweets mocking BP’s situation in the Gulf were sent out saying such things as; “You know what they say about the ocean…Once it goes black it never goes back!”, or “Now, all tuna from the Gulf Coast comes pre-packaged in oil.” While I admit these are quite funny, the unfortunate reality was that people believed that the the account was associated with BP. Needless to say these tweets spread like wildfire and BP’s online presence took a major blow.
When BP finally got on Twitter and saw what was going on, it was too late to save themselves. The damage was already done and they looked foolish. It’s embarrassing that a company so large and powerful was torn down by one tweeter and all BP had to do was just glance at Twitter to see what mayhem was going on! This is definitely poor sCRM at it’s finest and something that many companies learned from.
For those of you who are not familiar with social Consumer Relationship Management. a.k.a. sCRM, here is an overview of the topic.
sCRM allows for brands and businesses to build a personal relationship with their consumers. In a world where new competition is popping up all the time, it is important that brands/business establish themselves in their market. This is important when ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction, high levels of customer return rates, and how your brand/business is perceived by the general public. In turn, your brand/business can make adjustments to fit the needs of their target audience thus building a symbiotic relationship in a sense. If your customers feel as though their thoughts and opinions are not being heard, it can negatively impact your brand/business. We live in a world where consumers are becoming ever more demanding of their favorite brands/businesses and it has become easier for them to do so! Brands and businesses that don’t engage in social media and customer relationships via social media will face a very rough future if they aren’t dealing with it already.
It is Important to Understand Who the Social Customer is.
-The social customer learns about current events mainly through Twitter and Facebook.
-They take their social network’s opinion about products and brands very seriously when making purchasing decisions.
-The social customer is not a quiet one. They expect brands to interact and engage with them via social media. This could be via Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site. This requires brands to be active in the same social media outlets that they use.
– You as a brand must earn their trust because the social customer wears the pants in the relationship!
Earn Their Trust!
Because social customers have so much power it is important that you get to know them!
Brands/businesses can’t call all the shots anymore. The consumer is louder than ever and if you as brand/business aren’t listening, you are foolish! A big part of earning the trust of your consumers is ensuring that you are being transparent. Transparency proves to your customers that you have nothing to hide and that you always being open and honest with them. Examples of transparency includes something as simple as not deleting tweets after you posted them. Secrets don’t make friends and the same rule applies to customers.
Customer trust becomes extremely important when brand image becomes collaboratively shaped by both the brand itself and it’s consumers. This is a result of participating in sCRM but don’t be afraid, this kind of collaborative relationship allows for the brand to grow. You have to be willing to let go of total message control in order for this kind of relationship to work. The more message control a brand gives up, the more collaboratively they will be able to shape themselves and their messages with their customers. A brand that has a trusting relationship with their customers will have an easier time when making this transition.
You MUST be consistent and prompt when responding to customers via social media. Social customers, just like anyone, will think that you don’t care about them if you don’t take the time to respond to them within an appropriate time frame.
Below I have listed the top 10 brands in my opinion that are using social media via Twitter to their advantage to improve their CRM and sCRM. I suggest you take a look at them and let me know what you think! These are not ranked in any specific order!
1. TOMS: @TOMS
2. Ford- Social Media Manager: @ScottMonty
3. Southwest: @SouthwestAir
4. Starbucks: @Starbucks
5. Jet Blue: @JetBlue
6. Huffington Post: @HuffingtonPost
7. Best Buy- Keith Burtis: @BestBuyRemix
8. Zappos: @Zappos
9. Nike: @Nike
10. Google: @GoogleResearch
Yup it’s me, Jonny Weiss, blogging to you about things in the world of public relations that I care about. If you don’t like where I’m going with this then read no further. If you are curious and open minded, I encourage you to follow me along on my journey. I will be exploring the world of Consumer Relations Management (CRM) and Social Consumer Relations Management (sCRM) and how they impact our experiences in life.