Thursday, January 8, 2015

if you're recruiting via social media...you'd better be listening

by kirk r gray

this one is a bit off topic for this blog, but i felt the need to communicate about it, because social media is a channel that email marketers either fight with or compliment. if you're using social media to recruit anything - customers, opinions, participants - you'd better be listening and quick to respond.


social media is even smaller than a soundbite for the evening news. by it's very design it is a disruptor. it is meant to draw your attention and push you to look at something bigger than itself. social media has two strikes against it (or for it) when it comes to getting your message across - character limits and time. the immediacy of social media is both it's strongest selling point and it's weakness. as marketers we've come to expect so much from those 140 characters in terms of results, that many of us have forgotten consumers have come to expect (almost demand) an immediate response, because it should take the social media person less than a minute to type those characters1.

three times in 2014, i got direct tweets to my twitter handle asking me to participate in something. and to me the consumer it felt good that my 140 characters had been strong enough to dray the attention of a social media marketer to interact with me, and want to know more.
  • the first was in response to a tweet i made about a newly opened theatrical production in new york - they wanted to quote it.
  • the second was at a conference where they asked me if i would be a part of a focus group for a product that they were working on.
  • the third was for another focus group where they wanted feedback about their newly revamped website and the user experience there.
each of these instances took advantage of the immediacy of social media - how many of us as marketers assume that if the tweet is timely then the tweeter is still looking at their feed or at least their phones and are a captive audience.

the first instance of this came shortly after the show i had just seen ended, and i tweeted that i had never seen a standing ovation mid-way through a show. the production facility wanted to quote my tweet in their materials - awesome for me, my twitter handle in print. i wrote back immediately after i got their dm and asked what they needed from me for release - no response. being the typical "dead-horse-beater" i am, i wrote back several times to see if they still wanted to use my tweet and what they needed from me. there was never another interaction.

the other two incidents went the same way - they reached out to me and asked me to look at their product/site and provide feedback. again i wrote back and said i was willing, just let me know what i needed to do, and when they wanted it done by. guess what, no response. it's not like i waited like a week to respond to these faceless twitter handles. i am very good at answering direct tweets on twitter, so the lag time had to have been less then 5 minutes.

unfortunately, those instances left a bad feeling about the brands that they are associated with - because they failed to follow up. make no bones about it, the power of social media isn't held in the hands of the brand, it's held by the consumer. just like you have the power to disrupt a feed and put your message front and center or to hijack a hashtag from someone, the consumer can do the same thing. remember the old saying that a consumer with a bad experience tells ten people, that consumer with a good experience tells one person - magnify that by the power of twitter today. a person doesn't tell ten people, they tell the world in 140 characters and if you aren't quick to listen to followers or to follow up with the people you reach out to, those experiences not only put your brand in a bad light, but they also have an impact on thousands of experiences consumers will never have with your brand.

so if you're taking time to reach out to people via social media by direct message, you need to follow up with them. close the loop with them, because if you don't it is going to look like you're the "little boy who cried wolf", meaning that you were really good at starting the conversation, but not finishing it, and when a consumer has a real problem, they probably won't reach out to you via direct message to fix it, they are going to take and work those 140 characters to some sort of resolution - all the while, their followers are going to see it too, and do you really want that?

1 Google Average Typing Speed

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