What’s the Attraction to Online Social Networks?

Are Customer Relationships Important?Have you ever tried to explain why you spend so much time on the internet using such platforms as Facebook, LinkedIn, and my personal favorite, Link to Nashville? Besides telling those who are unfamiliar with networks that it’s fun and enjoyable to spend time connecting with others all over the world, sometimes we are unable to explain why.

As I “prospect” for new clients for my network (Link to Nashville), I frequently hear the question, “What’s in it for me?” Maybe not those exact words, but that’s the message that comes through. So what can the mainstream adults expect to gain from engaging social networks?

One of the greatest advantages of social networking is that you can use the networks to brand yourself personally. Personal branding can be defined as creating a reputation online of what you do or what you sell. In the same way that Donald Trump established himself as the business-guru whose favorite phrase is “You’re fired!” you can establish yourself as the expert in your field – whatever it is!

Walt Disney’s name brings to mind thoughts animated movies and Mickey Mouse, not to mention DisneyWorld, “The Happiest Place on Earth!” Disney understood personal branding – and he managed to brand himself without the use of online social networks. But for us, the sort-of-technology-savvy of the 21st Century, we have the ability to employ the tools of our generation to build our reputations online.

As social networking analyst Jay Deragon states in his blog concerning The Emerging Relationship Economy, large corporations are not on the forefront of the movement to engage via social networks.

The report highlights four things companies should do to improve customer engagement and brand loyalty which are:

1. Know your customer’s needs. (We’d be happy to tell you if you’ll listen and let us through automated response system!)
2. Set clear goals regarding the level of engagement desired. (Does this mean you don’t want to get too close to customers?)
3. Make things familiar-but better. (How about getting familiar with us?)
4. Invest in systems integration technology. (Have you heard of the social web? It is about conversations and relationships)

We all have heard or made complaints about how long we spent on the phone with the bank before actually speaking to a real-live person. And then at the end of the call, they always ask if there is anything else they can do. “Yeah, I’d really like to be able to speak to a real person within the first five minutes of my call.”

If major corporations were involved in the social networks phenomenon – allowing customers to connect to other customers, customers to connect with marketing/advertising execs, and customers to connect with technical support or “customer service” – the entire relationship between customer and vendors would gain immense value! What would follow would be increased customer loyalty and further branding of the corporation.

How ’bout it?

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Explore posts in the same categories: networking, relationship economy, social networking, The Communications Factors, Web2.0

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