Social media has helped break down the walls between brands and consumers. With a simple post or tweet, we establish a direct line to our favorite (or most hated) restaurant chain, auto manufacturer, movie studio, etc. And the fact that these brands go to the trouble to establish a Facebook or Twitter account tells us that they are interested in hearing what we have to say and want to engage in conversation, right? Not always. In some instances they’re just going through the motions – entering the social media fray because not doing so would show a clear disconnect from today’s media landscape. They may maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest, but that’s all it is, a presence. These companies don’t communicate with the people who visit their pages. These people are customers or prospective customers, and they’re trying to have a conversation with these brands, but the brands are silent. That begs the question. “If you’re not going to engage in the conversation, why come to the party at all?”
Here’s an example from a little company you may have heard of – Pizza Hut. Several months back I tried to place an online order but couldn’t remember my password. I followed the prompts to reset my password and got an unusual security question:
At first I thought, wow, Pizza Hut has a sense of humor. Good for them. They also responded quickly, which was a good move. That’s as good as it got. I followed their request to contact them and described the problem. Never got a response. Others then started “liking” my post and commented that they were experiencing the same issue. In this whole string of comments (33 as of a few days ago), not once did Pizza Hut respond. That’s not what I call being very social.
Pizza Hut isn’t alone in this type of behavior. There are many companies that simply set up social media accounts because that’s what everyone else does. But if you’re not engaging in conversation, you’re really missing an opportunity to connect with your customers, build trust and build brand loyalty. So don’t be silent. Your customers really do want to hear from you.