Ryan (Matt) Pierson at delightedrobot.com, a site we work with regularly across several of our clients, discusses social media practices within companies. While this topic was much more of a raging debate in years past, it’s still an important one, mainly for one simple reason that Ryan puts this way: “[c]ustomers don’t typically care about companies, but they frequently care about people who connect and engage with them on their favorite social network.” He goes on to suggest that if you’ve already got a relationship with a person at a company, you’re more likely to add that company’s products to your consideration set when seeking a solution from that product category.
I’ll go him one better: not only does it work in the positive, but also in the negative. It’s been our experience that not only does familiarity more apt to lead to consideration, but when something goes wrong, it also means that personal relationship tends to become the basis for resolution. What’s more, addressing a problem is usually done behind closed doors, on a 1-to-1 basis, rather roaching the topic in the public sphere and hoping to get noticed. In other words, it’s not only the positive referrals that are gained by cultivating personal relationships with a company’s clientele, but negative publicity can also be sidestepped as a consequence of a rapport existing between two people.
We’ve experienced this phenomenon throughout our tenure as an agency – individuals who value the quality of their relationships with real people a company, over the temporary vindication or release provided by publicly venting about a problem. Sometimes the advantage isn’t in scoring, but in merely avoiding an own-goal.