by Bryan Apgar – May 2013
Look at these “kids” these days; all they do is tweet, text, and Facebook each other and don’t get out and do anything together. Some even sit in the same room texting each other.
Social media can help or hinder personal relationships. You might react to these “kids” like I do sometimes. Or, you might see social media as offering opportunities for new and extensive personal relationships, especially when relating to your customers.
Let’s look at a few ways social media can be used to keep or create a more personal level with your customers.
Low touch media = High touch service
Long gone are the days of dial up internet or even DSL internet (which we used to think was lightning speed).
Everything has to be faster. We need our information faster, our answers faster, everything faster. That makes social media the perfect medium.
Several months back I was having some issues with my cable/internet company (to remain nameless). While on the phone on hold, I tweeted something along the lines of “having issues, terrible service, #onhold, @companyx.”
Within seconds I had a tweet back from a company rep asking me to direct message them so I could give them my number and they could call me immediately.
I was just trying to let my frustration out (albeit it to my low number of twitter followers), but was immediately contacted and had the situation resolved because of the instantaneous nature of social media. What we might think of as impersonal and low touch, but the immediate service response times via social media communicates a higher level of personal attention: “They must really care about me.”
Social media gives the customer a greater sense of being “a part” of something. Especially in the sports industry, fans are very passionate about their teams and players. Fans join groups, like pages, follow certain players, teams, reports, and blogs. The list can go on and on.
Through those verticals, we can open up a community that helps bring people together and increases their connections with the team. Doing contests, tweet photos, text to win, tag yourself here, etc. are a great way to get fans to directly connect with the team. And it allows the team to show a personal connection back.
Tweeting contest winner’s names makes it personal, especially for that person who won. How cool is it to have your favorite team tweet or post your name or picture? And even those that didn’t win like it because they can see it and think, “Wow that’s cool, hope I win next time” or even “Wow, I know that person.”
Social media can also open up the transparency of a team. Give a behind the scenes look that people would not normally get to see. Social media allows for interaction through Google hangouts, or Twitter and Facebook Q&A’s with a player or coach that would not normally happen. Fans love just seeing pictures or comments posted by players that delve more into their personal lives.
So whether we want to brand social media as hindering or helping in personal connections, we can probably all agree that it is an effective way to bring community, stay connected, and increase personal connection with your fans.
Some of us can’t seem to put down our phones or be away from iPads, computers, or tablets. Our world might seem to be losing the in-person-to-person connection, but properly used, social media can increase our perceptions of personal connections.