The success of most companies is dependent on their reputation in the market place. So who should control the “company name”?

Company Control

Years ago “the good name of the company” was under the control of the higher up corporate individuals. Radio, television, print and other advertising promoted their products. The marketing information flow was primarily in one direction, from the company to the consumer. Whoever controlled the outflow of information, controlled the image of the company, or the “Company Name.”

Consumer Control

As communication technology has improved, consumers have become better able to communicate with each other about the brands they buy and the companies they buy from. The more they communicate, the more they learn from each other. This has shifted control of the “company name” into the hands of the consumer. This loss of control has presented a problem for the company that does not have happy customers.

Two Way Communication

Today, with social media, consumers are better able then ever before to share experiences, good and bad, about the products and services they buy. But the company can use this two way communication to it’s advantage. Through social media the company is better able to monitor and participate in these communications. The key information a company needs is knowledge of what it’s customer wants. And who better to get that from than the customer.

Learn What The Customer Wants

Blogs, Facebook and other social media allow companies to find out what their customers want. Tools are available that tell you when your company’s name has been mentioned. Programs like TweetDeck allow me to see when and where someone mentions my name or my company name.

As companies respond to customer needs, they make changes to the items they provide. As their goods and services change, so changes their company and their company name, and all for the better.

A. G. Lafley, CEO of Proctor and Gamble in a keynote address at an advertising industry conference stated:

…consumers are beginning in a very real sense to own our brands and participate in their creation. We need to learn to begin to let go.

Consumer control of the company name, if managed properly, is a good thing! The keys to gaining this control is to find out what the customer wants and then to provide the customer more than is expected.

Influence The Market

One of the primary purposes of social media is to get people talking. When someone offers value through information in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sources, people begin to follow it. And they begin to tell their friends.

Initiate The Conversations

Social Media allows you to influence what your market thinks about your business. So, use it to do just that! It enables you to initiate conversations. And when you initiate them, you establish an element of control referred to as influence. Offer service to your market by initiating the conversation. Create value through information and advice. Once you’ve established that value in the social media market, you need to lead conversations in the market in a direction that will benefit you.

Influence The Conversations

While you can’t control the conversations, you can influence them. When people visit your blog or your Facebook page, you are the primary contributor. When someone presents a question, you are able to answer. And others are able to see how you handle the situation.

The conversations are going on about you. When you initiate them, you gain credibility and influence. Use your influence and lead your audience right into your door.

Who’s talking about you? Everyone!

Your satisfied customers are talking about you. And I willing to bet they are saying good things about you.

Your dissatisfied customers are talking about you. Their communication is probably not of the nature that is beneficial to your business.

People who drive by your store are talking about you. They could be commenting on that pretty new landscaping you did this summer in front of your office. Or they may be talking about the pile of trash on your side of the lot next door that doesn’t belong to you (but they don’t know that part).

People who see your advertisements are talking about you. They may be inspired by the positive campaign you have had going for the last six months. Or, are they talking about that campaign? They may not know that you have invested large sums of money in the local newspaper recently.

Your competitors are talking about you. I wonder what they’re saying?

In the past these discussions went on in small groups of people holding a casual conversation, or between two people talking on the telephone. Today, these conversations are taking place in larger groups and occurring more often thanks to the rise of social media. All anyone has to do now is sit down at their PC and they can tell hundreds of their friends what kind of experience that had with your company.

Social Media reveals what they are saying about you.

Tools exist in social media to filter the mass of data for comments made about you or your business. You can even learn what people are saying about your competitors. For example, the TweetDeck software allows you to plug in words or phrases that you want to monitor. When someone tweets those words, you will get a copy of the tweet.

Learn what you are doing well.

Customers will tell you what they like about your goods and services if you ask them. Through your blog or Facebook you can simply ask: “What do we do right?” And they will tell you.

Learn what you are doing poorly.

Customers will also be quick to tell you what you are doing poorly if you ask them. Some people in business don’t want to hear this. Those are the people who won’t be in business much longer.

Learn what else you can do.

A sincere question like “What else can we do for you?” can open your eyes to possibilities that you may never have thought of.

You’re already involved in social media. Are you actively involved or are you letting others determine your destiny? Become active and take control. When you do, everybody wins.

Thanks for visiting my blog. If I can help you incorporate social media into your business, then please contact me through BusinessAndSocialMedia.com or give me a call at 704-438-2910.

Thanks,

Huck