September 02, 2010 / by Eric Forst

It makes you feel a little guilty attending a conference in beautiful Lake Tahoe, but MediaPost’s Social Media Insider Summit turned out to be an engaging work experience. A few key themes emerged from the various panels and working sessions:

  • Don’t ignore customer service issues and complaints in social media. The customer has a right to complain and companies have an obligation to listen and respond to their customers online.
  • Building relationship with your customers is key. Engage with influencers and fans of your brand via dialogue, contests and promotions.

My turn to present came Wednesday morning as a part of the “Social Media Makeover” panel. We’ve seen many brands jump in head first and make a concerted effort on the social media scene but for some organizations they appear to be just going through the motions and not having a conversation. Rather they are still working on the traditional marketing mentality of ‘pushing out their message’ as opposed to engaging in a conversation. So we were tasked with presenting a company we thought could improve in this area.

The brand I chose to focus on that appears to fit this mold from the outside looking in is Linksys. So as part of the panel, I gave them a “social media makeover.” Linksys has become the dominant brand in the wireless router category and therefore is doing a lot right.  However, it is apparent that while they are present in social media their ‘share of social engagement’ does not match their share of voice.

Linksys is making a concerted effort to get in the game, but like many brands it needs to realize the social Web has new implications. In the past, Social Intelligence didn’t exist; results were “buy/no buy.” Now, by engaging in the conversation and listening to customers brands can understand “buy/no buy + why” – and this gives them the ability to quickly make changes and proactively address issues impacting purchase decisions and advocacy. One of the most effective, but more time intensive social media fixes that will help Linksys boost its share of engagement, is more effectively designing an outreach and engagement program that mirrors where customers are already discussing its brand. This takes a long-term commitment, but over time listening and proactively engaging in conversations is extremely valuable, as it is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate to your customers that you care what they have to say.

Does your brand need a social makeover?  Let us know if you need any help or if you have any thoughts on key challenges with the new implications of the social Web.

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