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A Social Media Marketing Example: Business Goes From Zero to Hero in 24 Hours

I’ll share with you a great example of one customer’s huge problem with a company, which transformed into an amazing “save” for the business because that company utilized social media channels and actively participated in those channels. This is a true story, shared at a marketing conference I attended: a bride-to-be orders her wedding dress online from a business in New York. Her wedding dress arrives but there is a problem with the dress—it is not the exact dress she ordered.

Our bride-to-be is distraught. The time difference prevents her from being able to call the business directly when she discovers the problem. Even if she does talk to them, returning the dress for a replacement won’t help her. She lives in South Africa. Shipping the dress already took two weeks, and she doesn’t have two more weeks to wait. Her wedding is sooner than that. Our bride shares her angst on the business’ Facebook Fan Page, saying she ordered “x” dress for her wedding. She explains that she can’t wear the dress that arrived, and it took two weeks just to get the dress to her in South Africa. Worse, she continues, her wedding takes place before she could possibly get a replacement.

The next morning in New York, an employee at the wedding dress shop who shares the responsibility of keeping tabs on their social media, sees our bride’s distressed Facebook posting. The employee notifies the manager of the problem. The business is already checking their sales records to see if they can identify the customer by what was posted on their Facebook Page and work out a solution.

When the distraught bride-to-be does call, she is surprised by the business saying they were glad she contacted them. They had been working to identify her order, based on her posting to their Facebook Page. They explained that the Manager was waiting to speak with her personally. A few details were clarified and then they had the exact dress she had ordered. The Manager double checked the details of the dress and told our bride-to-be that the store would pay for immediate overnight delivery of this replacement dress to her.

This business having social media channels and being active in those channels, allowed the dress shop to turn one bride-to-be’s nightmare into an unusually positive experience. There would have undoubtedly been more negative posts from this distraught customer, and other prospective customers would have been affected by her upset, as well as several ‘sympathy posts’ from other brides-to-be.

Our once distraught bride-to-be did end up writing several other postings. However, in this positive outcome, those posts were all very positive: how the business was expecting her call, was already working to solve her problem before she even spoke to them on the phone, and paid to have the replacement overnighted to her in South Africa. A woman scorned by a business was transformed into a woman understood and taken care of at a time when it mattered most. The business went from “Zero,” potential “social media leper,” to Hero inside of 24 hours!

Could the wedding dress crisis have had a positive outcome without the business being involved in social media? For the bride-to-be . . . absolutely! But it wouldn’t have had the over-the-top element of unexpected recognition from the dress shop, already working to solve her crisis before she could even call the business directly. And what would the outcome of this crisis have looked like for the business, were they not utilizing social media channels?

Well, if the bride-to-be was unable to share her upset on the dress shop’s Facebook Page—her only after-hours access to that business—our distraught bride-to-be would have definitely released her angst somewhere else. As a matter of fact, she probably did post on her own Facebook profile and/or Twitter in addition to posting on the business’ Facebook Page. From her perspective, she was in an emotional crisis and needed to ‘vent’. If the dress shop didn’t have a Facebook Page, the business would simply never have known about this bride-to-be’s social media “venting.”

Her very distraught call, several hours later when the shop was open, would have been the first they were made aware of her problem. The dress shop still would have taken impressive action to solve her crisis by shipping the replacement dress overnight, certainly a great relief for our bride-to-be. But if she was only relieved by the actions the dress shop took after her frantic call, she may not have been moved to go back to all of the social media channels she had “vented to,” to update her social media followers on how the dress shop solved her crisis.

Because the business did have at least one social media channel, their Facebook Page, and because they pay attention to their Facebook Page, this customer reached a company expecting her to call, hoping she would contact them so they could verify who had placed the order and quickly get the correctly appointed dress to her in time for her wedding. This customer was made to feel valued, understood and cared for, as though her problem was indeed something the dress shop wished to solve quickly and accurately solely to relieve her anxiety.

This considerate response and acknowledgement from the business moved her to sing their praises when updating all of the social media channels she had “vented to.” Telling everyone about the amazing way her crisis was solved by the dress shop, this bride-to-be’s desire to share her amazing and positive story turned what started as impassioned negative “word of MOUSE” marketing into a blissfully satisfied customer praising that same business—shortly after her initial negative postings.

This is one example of how social media has a powerful impact on your business, whether or not your business utilizes it. Wouldn’t you rather know what is being said about your business, so that you can respond to it? Having the opportunity to acknowledge customers who share how much they appreciate you, as well as establishing a dialogue, working toward solutions for those who are not satisfied!

The customer complaint mechanism has gone from postal mail to telephone, then to e-mail, and finally to social media. Depending on which business we’re talking about, consumers may never be sure who actually reads their ‘complaint’ email, but now, we have arrived to . . . “I have a problem. I post it on social media and half the planet knows about it in 15 seconds.” There is a whole different level of business going on out there.

You can stick your head in the sand and try to ignore these facts. Or you can acknowledge the brave new world that today’s marketplace is, venture out into social media and take your business to a different level, actually benefiting your business and those who need your products/services by actively using “word of MOUSE.”

Social media is not a fad; it is not going away. It’s only going to get bigger, stronger, and more pervasive as time goes on. It’s important for businesses to get out there and work effectively in this space—the space of greatest activity in today’s marketplace.

How we should handle business, including marketing, can change. There are points in time that are tipping points. 2013 has been identified by a number of informed sources, including Forbes and Neilsen, as a tipping point for establishing a social media foundation. Social media is no longer a marketing luxury, it has become a necessity. 2014 is almost upon us. Now is the time to seriously examine social media and mobile marketing for your business and make an informed decision. Then act on your decision.

Businesses that actually get active in their own social media channels during year of 2013 will have a more powerful marketing foundation than businesses which continue to play the ostrich, with their heads in the sand for another year or two, hoping social media will go away. Forbes and Neilsen did not use the illustration of an ostrich with its head in the sand; that was my description. But you need to get your business out there into the social media space now, while you can still be considered an early adopter in today’s marketplace.


A Mobile Marketing Example: Making a Difference for Business in Record Time

Now let me share an example of mobile marketing making a difference for a small business. There was a small restaurant near my home that had great food. They had been in business for a number of years; owned by relatively young people excited that they were doing all this “social stuff” to promote their business. They had a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a Website, and even an e-mail newsletter.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much happening on their Facebook page to engage any of their, also young, clientele. This restaurant was primed to have a lot of activity from their young clientele on Facebook but it just wasn’t there. Looking at their Facebook Fan Page posts revealed several employee postings: “We’re going to be open tonight,” or “DJ so-and-so is here tonight,” or “Don’t forget! Tonight’s karaoke night.” Comments from anyone who was not an employee were rare. Facebook check-ins were rarer.

They had an impressive, though mostly business-centered, Website. An email newsletter subscription, in place for several years, was mostly limited to family, friends, and employees. Their Twitter feed, at least, was pretty active on various event nights.

One day, I posed a mobile marketing idea to one of the owners. My ideas was for a V.I.P. program that was perfect for restaurants, and I explained, “I’ll run this for you for eight weeks at no charge. I’ll learn a great deal from how this works out in a real world test, and you’ll have a free mobile marketing program for two months. At the end of the trial you can take ownership the database of program participants.”

I would manage the expense of setting up the program, the fees for the technology and the several print marketing pieces for use in the restaurant, I explained. I shared that I believed they would see a spike in business within eight weeks. I also gave them the option to continue with the program as a paying client, at the end of the trial. This would include any adjustments that might prove necessary during the trial. All I needed from them was a place for the easel poster, placement for some table tents, inserts into their ‘bill folders,’ and a total for the mobile coupons that were redeemed each week, which they would manage via a special key assignment in their cash register.

There were six parts to this mobile program idea. I had a vision of it being a great program. However, sometimes reality doesn’t match up to your vision. Your best plan can be great until it meets reality and then “surprises” can happen. So, a real world test was to be my great “proving ground.” The owners were excited about having a free marketing program but doubted anything particularly impressive was going to happen within eight weeks.

The restaurant had been getting some new customers each week with a Groupon, but hadn’t seen any repeat business from Groupon. When I re-illustrated how this program generated return business, the owners became more excited. Finally, we agreed on the roles each side would play during those eight weeks.

I put together a VIP program for the restaurant where people could send a text to a certain number and they would get an instant coupon for 15% off their bill for that visit and a coupon for the next time they came in. There were just under 200 people in that database in less than two and a half weeks.

I surveyed the VIP program participants at the middle of the third week via a virtual text conversation. For example, “Which coupon is your favorite? The restaurant could make changes to current coupons, essentially, on the fly. They could also broadcast news, such as, “Guess what? We’re going to have so-and-so come and play live tonight!” or “Come on down to the Street Fair this Saturday and get a free appetizer!”

This was all delivered via text to participant cell phones. It could also go to email or only to email at the participant’s discretion. This was not frequent, annoying texting. One coupon per week. There were also other ways restaurant customers could earn more coupons, while at the restaurant. A survey conducted within the last two weeks of the program revealed that participants did not want this program to end. The V.I.P. program had addressed something different for this business and allowed them a new level of engagement with their customers. Program participants were receiving multiple benefits from this program at no cost. There was more happening in the eight weeks of this little program than had happened with the restaurant’s e-mail newsletter over several years. It was an impressive demonstration of results within a short period of time.

Clearly, just “having” social media doesn’t mean it’s working for you. Engaging in social media without an effective strategy is likely to only cost you time without yielding effective results. You can be productive or you can be busy. This business had been participating in their social media, but that participation was merely “busy work”—what they had been doing wasn’t really productive.

Did I mention that all of this was from one piece of the six-piece program? I talked about our agreement as to what our respective roles would be during this trial program. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not keep up their side of the bargain. They didn’t respond to the first survey results I provided to them. They could have adjusted a couple of the coupons to repeat the most popular coupons or try new ones. I tried to encourage the owners to allow me to generate a broadcast text to the V.I.P. program participants, to notify them of special offers the restaurant was running during a street fair that took place during the trial period. The owners never responded to emails, texts, or phone calls about creating a broadcast.

So, this one piece of the six-part program could have performed even better than it did, had those other portions been utilized. Additionally, the restaurant did not place the table tents and placed only a few bill-folder pieces into bill-folders. In essence, since less than 10% of customers even knew about the benefits of posting a Facebook status or doing a Facebook check-in while at the restaurant, the program could have produced even greater results for the restaurant than the already impressive outcomes we realized.

I’ve shared one example of the power of a business having and being attentive to their social media and an example of a powerful mobile marketing program that yielded amazing and fast results even when only a small percentage of it was utilized. These first episodes were to illustrate word of mouth, word of MOUSE, discuss negative word of mouth marketing and provide a couple of social media/mobile marketing examples.

Next time we’ll get to the beginning of a re-focused marketing strategy by talking about what’s missing from traditional advertising


12 Steps to Effective Online Marketing

Step 1 – Why Social Media Is YOUR Most Powerful Marketing Tool
Step 2 – Human Nature And Negative Word of MOUSE Marketing
Step 3 – Great Examples of the Power of Social Media Marketing
Step 4 – What’s Missing From Traditional Marketing Advertising
Step 5 – Anatomy of a Customer-Focused Marketing Message
Step 6 – Be Clear Exactly Who You’re Marketing To
Step 7 – Adding “Story” To Make YOUR Marketing Memorable
Step 8 – Boost Your Business Providing 1 or 2 Resources WITHOUT Selling
Step 9 – YOUR “Business Voice” What it is; why it’s important
Step 10 – A Sampler of Social Media Types/Channels
Step 11 – Which Social Media Will Work for Your Business
Step 12 – Working Social Media Into YOUR Regular Business Operations

Tune in to The Word of MOUSE Blog Show on iTunes, the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month for MORE Word of MOUSE!

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Vivianne “Viver” Winters Israel Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.