Today’s guest post is written by Michael Palko.

Remember that song

“I’m not quite sure as to what is going down; But I’m feeling hunky dory ’bout this thing that I found.”

So what in the name of Dick Clark does this have to do with social media or marketing?  Well, let me tell you.

I don’t have to tell this echo chamber that the use of social media has exploded over the past few years.  Just try to find a corporate website, or print ad for that matter, that doesn’t have an icon encouraging the shopper to like, follow, friend, subscribe to, or stalk them.  “Come one, come all!” Businesses are basking in the glow of the hordes of customers that they’ve attracted to their Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube sites,  but as Heavy D asked,

“Now that we FOUND love, what are we gonna do with it?”

It’s not enough to just check that box in the marketing strategy. 

“Engage in social media.  Check”

It’s pretty easy, almost effortless, to gain a following, but what are you doing to KEEP that following?  Folks can just as effortlessly click the unlike/unfollow button. What do you do to keep the love flowing?  Your use of social media needs to be part of a larger company philosophy to gain and, more importantly, maintain a loyal customer base, regardless of what you’re selling. Your social media should not only build love, but also maintain the love.

How closely is your marketing department working with your product management department?  Likely pretty close.  They may even be one-and-the-same.  Are they working just as closely with your customer service and support teams?  They should be.  Who is tweeting or posting the Facebook updates?  Marketing?  The marketing intern?  I challenge you to consider letting multiple members of your staff use the same social media accounts, a COMPANY account, not just marketing’s account.  As a consumer, I would love to hear the many voices of a company in my timeline.

Five Ways to Keep The Love:

  1. Sales tweets about the new account they just won.  It’s their way of tempting me to keep up with the Joneses or making me feel that I AM a Jones.
  2. Marketing tells me about an upcoming product launch.  There’s nothing like building anticipation and dropping incentives on me.
  3. Product management informs me of the product road map.  Let me know you’re forward-thinking.  Plus, I like feeling like I’m an insider.
  4. Customer service tells me about a creative way to use the product.  Good one!  I would never have thought of that on my own.
  5. Support staff updates me about a problem they just resolved and how I can avoid it in the future.  I can learn from my own mistakes, but I much prefer to learn from the mistakes of others.

No matter who is contributing to the timeline, you MUST engage, converse (that means two-way), discuss, entertain and for heaven’s sake, be real with your customers and prospects.  AND it is imperative the quality of your product/service/widget be equal to if not greater than the quality of your social media campaign.  If it’s not, people will see right through it (spin sucks, right?) and you’d better believe they’ll tell their friends and followers, too.

I’d really like to hear from companies that are already doing this and what the retention rate and response of your customers has been.

And if it’s working,

“don’t stop and you don’t quit, you got keep it on and on and on….uh yeah, yeah aye aye, ha ha ha…”

Let us know about what you’re doing with the love that you’ve found!

Michael  Palko has a background in project management, training design and delivery, and online community management.  He has a low tolerance for mediocrity and can occasionally be seen planking the Triangle.

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