Bob Schultek

Bob Schultek

Marketing folks are fascinated by social media, but does investing heavily in social media really work? Does it help companies keep customers and find new ones?

According to a Gallup research study of more than 17,000 social media users discovered:

“Social media initiatives drive customer loyalty and acquisition.”

This is the biggest myth about social media. The Gallup study indicates that “brand-sponsored social media initiatives have very little impact on customer decision making. Nor do they drive prospective customers to consider trying a brand or recommending a brand to others in their social network.”

Why? Because “brand-sponsored social media initiatives don’t have much influence on a customer’s deep rational and emotional attachment,” which is called customer engagement. Relationships are what matters.

The fact is that “customer engagement with a company or brand drives social engagement which is the degree to which customers will work for or against your company or brand within their social networks. And customer engagement can’t be won solely with an app.”

What creates customer engagement? Gallup specifies this hierarchy.

  1. At the foundation of the hierarchy is “Rational Satisfaction” – your customers’ overall satisfaction and likelihood to continue working with you and to recommend you.
  2. Next up is “Confidence” – your customers’ belief that you always deliver what you promise so you can be trusted.
  3. Next is “Integrity” – a perception by your customers that you present fair resolutions to problems that occur and always treat them fairly.
  4. Fourth up is in the pyramid is “Pride” – customers recognize that you treat them with profound respect and make them proud to be your customer.
  5. At the top of the hierarchy is “Passion” – customers find it necessary to work with you and cannot imagine not doing so; your company is a perfect match for them.

As your most engaged customers use your product or service, it becomes part of their own identity. They want to speak favorably about your company becomes it reflects on them. They will resist criticizing you for the same reason.

The most productive type of social networking is still analog – keeping your promises and building relationships one at a time using face-to-face personal dialogue.

How do you evaluate your level of customer engagement?

When was the last time you checked your customers’ satisfaction?