Social media has become a part of our day to day lives, we use it to keep up with our family and friends and see what our favourite brands and celebrities are up to. But as a business, how critical is social media to your brand?
In this podcast, we discuss how social media plays a huge role in bridging the gap between you and the consumer, how you should handle reviews and complaints and the different channels you could use to better communicate with your audience. Social media has become a part of our day to day lives, we use it to keep up with our family and friends and see what our favourite brands and celebrities are up to. But as a business, how critical is social media to your brand? In this podcast, we discuss how social media plays a huge role in bridging the gap between you and the consumer, how you should handle reviews and complaints and the different channels you could use to better communicate with your audience.
Marius 00:00 Kyle, good afternoon.
Kyle 00:02 Afternoon Marius.
Marius 00:03 Now today’s topic is about social media and where that fits into the brand. Now I'd like to open up by saying if you have a look at social media it’s all over the place and I cannot think of one brand / business that doesn't participate in this. So to build your brand properly and to do it the right way in terms of social media you also have to be able to navigate yourself through a difficult thing called social media.
Kyle 00:33 Yup, social media is now a part of our day to day lives. So it is part of a large percentage of the population in their day to day consumption of media. So you know you can't ignore it anymore as a channel. I think that that conversation has stopped happening for most businesses. I think they stopped ignoring it outright, But yea there is still a big naivete or immaturity so to speak from brands, specifically small businesses in terms of how to deal with social media and how to go about it.
Marius 01:03 Indeed. Kyle could I say, and I think you are going to elaborate on this one, but there is potential damage you can do if you just fly over the wall and say ‘I know what to do, Let's do this and do that’, I think sometimes there is more damage that it can do without even thinking about it.
Kyle 01:21 Yea, look, I think that the damage one can do by not doing social media is also a large risk, fundamentally because potentially people could be having conversations about you and your business without you knowing about it which is always not a good place to be. So if there is something out there and it's negative you want to know about it so that you can respond to it. I think that the potential for damage is massive and that's mainly because businesses are very immature in the way that they go about responding to reviews and people’s complaints on social media. They tend to, when I say immature they do it like they're a child, they react like a child in the sense of It's not our fault, they want to keep diverting blame and all that kind of stuff rather than being more empathetic and conscientious of the customer at the end of the day. The main thing I tell clients is when you are replying on social media, you're not replying to one person, depending on the channel you're either replying to them and their entire following or you're replying to them and their family and friends in the case of Facebook but the bottom line is, is that a lot of people nowadays are actually going on social media when they're making a choice about your company to see a whole bunch of things whether they can trust you, you know what do people say about you, what's your reputation like, and that’s even more critical if you're a small business because if you're a small business you're not typically running these multi-million Rand big campaigns that are building trust for you out in the real world, so legitimacy with brands, especially a new brand or smaller brand is a big thing.
I mean we launched a set of what they call cosmeceuticals so it’s a combination product of cosmetics and pharmacy. So it's got some health benefits and makes you look good. And we launched that product initially online only and while the brand got a lot of awareness and there was a lot of how can I say you know talking about it there wasn't a lot of actual traction in terms of people buying the actual product until physically they started marketing the products and they started sending out reps and selling it to clinicians and beauty spas and all that kind of stuff. And that’s fundamentally was just because the trust thing you know people went online that like it's a new product a new brand they don’t know who they are, if I pay with my credit card, are they actually going to deliver the product. So the lack of trust is a real thing and social media provides you an opportunity to build trust with people and that’s fundamentally why it’s so critical if you want to build a strong brand because there is no other platform that I know of that is as easily accessible, fairly cost effective which you can access is a small business to connect with a whole bunch of people on a two-way basis. You know a lot of traditional marketing, like what we're doing today radio, although you can have maybe a call in session with radio, but typically the one way communication: radio, print, TV, is the brand talking to the customer. There's no comeback and if you know anything about business you know that feedback from your customer is gold and that's the thing that you're going to know how you're going to be able to make more money because you’re going to listen to them and meet their needs. So that's the opportunity that social media provides you and that's why it's so critical that you make it a part of your brand building.
Marius 04:34 Absolutely. I'd like to ask you about a certain international phenomenon. By the name of Wish. First of all it's above the brand building on social media and people see what's going on, so people have said that after a while it is safe to do so but the second problem came in when the article that you bought for literally R1,99 landed up in South Africa and then what you see is absolutely not what you bought. Now people go back on social media and they say ‘you know what, this is what I have got to say about them’. Now, I’m talking about Wish, but how do you deal with people absolutely unhappy with your product on social media? And they can go on Kyle, do you agree with me?
Kyle 05:17 Yeah I think that the first point is to remember, like I said and I’ll go back to this, you're not just replying to them, you're replying to a huge audience because people are going to go on and read that review and read that comment and they are going to actually click on a replies and they're going to want to see how you've actually dealt with the complaint. Fundamentally people are not expecting perfection from brands anymore but what they are wanting is how do you deal with a complaint, how do you deal with something when it happens. Now I'm going to take the assumption that you're not a scam artist in this answer, in other words you haven't purposely gone out and mis-sold what you trying to provide. And let's say for example you know you were meant to deliver a product and something went wrong with the depot and something went wrong somewhere along the line you know it's to first of all own it and make it a scenario of making it as amenable as possible.
A few months back I ordered something online and I can tell you it wasn't the greatest experience. It was like over a week and I had no contact from them. I had not an e-mail, not an sms or anything to give me an update. Log into the website to see what the status is of the order, it's still the same status that it was about a week ago. I try to phone them they don’t answer and eventually I message them on Facebook and low and behold that's the place that they wake up and they respond. Now they've managed to at least, I would say, nullify my negativity out right because they ended up giving me a significant discount and not charging me delivery because the order ended up coming 3 weeks after I had got it but the bottom line is they didn’t get a positive review which they would have gotten if they were more proactive with their communication and one thing I say to people if you want to be competitive in this day is you need to be proactive with your communication. Don't you know now you've gotten a complaint and you’re dealing with it make sure that you're now proactively following up with the customer are they happy, was this thing resolved, don’t hope that the other people in your company are going to come back to it. So that's the other thing if you want to do social media and even if you're a small business make sure that you're committed to it, at least that you're monitoring the page regularly that you're on there at least once a day making sure that if there are people that have comments or left reviews that you reply to them and feel free to follow up with the review.
So if someone replies and said hey we're going to get someone to contact you in 24 hours put a message in that review and say Hey did our rep contact you if they didn't please let me know so I can follow up. Be proactive, I mean these are the things that psychologically really affect people because if you proactive with me it makes me feel like you're on my side with this thing that you are empathetic to my problem and that you're actually actively trying to help. When you are simply reactive, I get the sense of like I'm doing all the shouting so that you can actually do your job, you know I’m your boss. So that I would say that's the number one thing so yeah that’s critical. Remember you're not just replying to the person so don't be defensive and negative and don’t make it all their fault because other people are going to read that response. To take ownership of it wherever it was really your fault own it that it was your fault and try and rectify and even go beyond to win the customer over by going a little bit beyond just rectifying the problem wherever you possibly can. And then, thirdly, be very proactive after that, make sure that you're actively going out there and following up with people have the complaints resolved because you see the thing is you want to turn a bad review into good one and the best way to do that is to show that comment thread that's happening that other people can see where you are winning the person over by your service. So making the assumption that you're offering great products and you’re selling great products and the assumption that you want to get people good service. Understand that if you don't want to do those two things then obviously the business and the problems with your brand are far deeper and social media is that's going to expose those problems and maybe in your instance it would be best to then not do social media and hide away. But all I can say is that the brands that out-perform you on service and products will shine even bigger because of social media.
Marius 09:36 Sometimes my kids will say that I am a bit challenged in terms of technology, When we talk about social media we keep on getting back to the same thing but let’s take a minute and explain all the channels of social media that are actually there because we tend to think it’s only facebook.
Kyle 09:51 Yea. Look, there are lots of different channels so Facebook at the moment is number one, I don't think it will be number one for much longer but Facebook is Facebook. Then the biggest growing channel at the moment is Instagram and then there's Twitter which has been around for a while and then WhatsApp is also a growing social media channel. You also get WeChat which is being used in the much younger market. Just to quickly give you a rundown of each one and what their benefits or how you should actually be using them or approaching them as a brand. So first of all Facebook, Facebook is fundamentally connecting with people who are trying to connect with their family and friends. That's why typically, people are on and they are consuming that kind of content, grandma looking at the grandkids that are in Australia or you know that type of stuff and if you look at the type of content that gets shared a lot, it is that type of personal type of content. So people also share their interest and Facebook doesn't go as viral as in the other channels so for you as a brand, Facebook is an opportunity for you to fundamentally communicate how best you fit into the community and what you're doing for it you know the people that you’re actually connecting with, so like food brands they will tend to share content to create content that is about house life or cooking at home and trying to make your life better and that kind of thing.
Facebook is very very commoditized at the moment is the biggest channel, it has the biggest audience so if you want to be serious on Facebook you have to set aside a budget for boosting content and then you get Instagram. Instagram is a great channel because people are typically following their interests both in their personal and professional life. So what's great about Instagram is that hashtags are there and people are using them so prevalently that if you latch onto one of those hashtags that your post will be seen by a lot more people. So it's a great channel from that point of view. You have to be very visual with Instagram. You have to pick really very great photos. Got a lot of great photos or great infographics you've got to be very visual. People are very, I would say, very critical of poor content from an execution point of view. So if you're going to go to Instagram make sure that you're getting really great quality images. the nice thing is that there's so many free websites for images at the moment that you shouldn't have a problem in finding them at almost no cost. Then Twitter, Twitter is to stay on the pulse of everything so Twitter is where people are like you know there’s constantly current affairs. It’s not to say that you cannot give your opinion of bigger issues on Twitter but it's not going to get the same resonance as commenting on something that is happening right then and there. So it's important to understand each of those channels because keeping true to your brand, you’ll understand how each one is prevalent to you. Some businesses may choose to ignore one or some of the channels, that’s also fine, the important thing you know the ones that are most important to you. So for example I mean if you're running the pie shop down the road Facebook is most probably a good one.
Whatsapp is another great one. You know Whatsapp is a great way of communicating directly with your customers because you can have groups and you can have chats. Whatsapp also has great functionality for customer experience. So some of the Internet service providers and I.T. companies are using Whatsapp for support. Very nice. Great way of improving your customer experience. You don't have to hold on to a call center, you Whatsapp through your account number, you tell them what the problem is and they reply right away. So you know that’s where I think Whatsapp provides a really great opportunity for people to really enhance their customer experience. I know a little coffee, you know like one of these mobile trucks, coffee places and they have a number and you join and you can just Whatsapp your coffee order to them and you can collect it on your way to work because it’s right outside an estate. So that's great. I mean it's a super easy way for you to market because they’ll just join the group if you want some coffee. So those are important things. WhatsApp also provides you with direct input from your customers, if your customers can complain right away on WhatsApp, that's a good way of keeping your finger on the pulse of things right away, so you will know when something is happening.
Marius 13:54 Kyle, I mean we can talk about this for another hour and I'd like to you know, get a follow up program with this because I think social media in everybody’s daily life plays such a huge role, everybody’s got facebook, everybody’s got a smartphone, people are actually addicted to things like Instagram and so on, and I’d like to take it further in terms of how this can actually help you build your brand or damage it in the process. Kyle if our listeners want to get a hold of you and get to know more about Kyle, how do they do that?
Kyle 14:31 Well about me specifically they can go to my, I’ve got my own website now are www.kylerolfe.co.za or they can go to our agency website which is ideapower.co.za. You can also contact me directly on my mobile number. 082 824 0077.
Marius 14:51 Wise words from a wise man, Kyle Rolfe, Brand Engineer at Idea Power. Kyle, thanks a lot, we look forward to chatting to you, very very soon, thanks a million.
Kyle 15:00 Great thanks Marius.