“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” -Ross Perot
The discussions at Volkswagen on Day 4 of Social Media Week Lagos focused on brands’ engagement with customers/clients on social media. Although, the day’s agenda had a session with an all-women panel where their sojourn into the world of internet was discussed; customer engagement also resurfaced during the session. Speakers all admonished brands to be consistent in their activities on social media.
The phrase ‘engage more with customers’ is almost resurfacing at any response to questions from both the moderators and the audience to the panelists. Brands are also advised not to keep throwing adverts about their goods/services into the face of their fans on social media but should also endeavour to engage with them on issues that barely have anything to do with their products/services, and discussions that can encourage and educate them.
Worthy of note is the fact that the social media, to some extent, is becoming a very unique component of the decision making journey of customers, hence the need for brands to keep open ears to what their customers are saying. Even when 5 of the 10 most visited websites in Nigeria are social media networks.
“There is only one boss, the customer, and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” -Sam Walton
Outlining the importance of Online Reputation Management (ORM), Managing Director at Playhouse Communication Limited, Tolu Onile-Ere said it helps companies and brands to optimize shareholders’ value and makes brands more open to criticisms and feedbacks. ORM, is a process of monitoring what’s being said about your brand on the internet: listening to feedbacks and complains, and taking appropriate actions.
Online Reputation Management is monitoring the online world to listen to what’s being said about your brand/product. “What people are saying about your company is your reputation.” As the social media has given customers the tool to have their voices heard about brands and companies, even on the notion that 3 out of every 4 internet users are on social media.
Questions from Onile-Ere to brands include: i. how are brands using the social media? ii. What do brands do when a customer takes to social media to lodge complaints? Citing the effect of James Ibori’s prosecution on Oando company share in the capital market, Onile-Ere admonished brands to take customers’ feedback very seriously and that every brand should endeavour to have a crisis management team in place.
As a user, how do you express your grievances when you are not satisfied with a brand? Meanwhile before deciding on the social media platform to engage for market, it’s important for the brand to study the age range of its users, their gender, interest and the social media platforms they use most.
Ore Somolu moderated the ‘How Women Entrepreneurs Can Use Social Media to Build a Business’ where female entrepreneurs shared their ideas and facts accrued overtime in the course of their experiences as entrepreneurs. Titi of Spreadmedia emphasized determining needs – have a strategy, do research from your own end and from your customer and update consumers.
Michelle of GistVille talked about knowing where your customers are, researching on your product and customers using such search engines as google. Nkem Begho of Future Software Resources Nigeria Ltd emphasized the word ‘consistency’ in brands’ activities on social media, by not just throwing products at their fans but also engaging them with facts around their product, videos, events, motivational materials, and more.
Just a quick reminder: a boost in the internet penetration of any given nation leads to positive effect on the GDP of that nation. She also stressed creating online presence and optimizing your site.
Also featuring were opportunities for presentees at the event. First came internship opportunities from Ayo Alli’s Gbamm football app for all football fans as well as the Anzisha prize entry announced by the project manager, Chi Achebe.
Kunle Olaifa, Head HR Samsung Africa, held the Social Media, The Future and Your Career session. He described this present age as the age of workers as everyone is in search of the next opportunity. To be active in this age, he stressed the need to identify network opportunities and maintain a professional online presence – say something about yourself.
Employers and clients check your website and the social media to know about you and these likely make up the impression they have about you. For your personal branding, it is important to build good online profile – your bio, photo; use keywords – share experiences, education, accomplishments in your profile; use similar handles across networks and; focus on building mutually beneficial relationships.
This article was first published on Tech360ng.