Some companies know how to do it all. Or at least they know how to hold up appearances. Let’s be honest, if they look like they can do it all, then it definitely seems like they can do it all.
For me, it comes down to what the company offers, whether it’s a product or service, and how they handle it socially. While sometimes the product or service isn’t something I’ll necessarily use, if they are handling it well socially, it becomes a brand I recognize. You should know where I’m going with this…
If I recognize a brand because of what it’s doing socially, then I’m more likely to purchase it when it does become something I need. Chances are, it could even become something I want…need goes out the window.
One company that’s been doing social really well while keeping appearances very high, is American Express. This is a company that’s known for it’s awesome credit cards (and has something for everyone…did you know they offer savings accounts? I had no idea until recently) and always appears very high end and wanted. From what I’ve seen, AmEx has very loyal customers. People who use their cards really put them into action, but the rewards are incredible (as long as you pay it off when you’re supposed to of course). I have several AmEx experiences of my own that are pretty awesome, even though I don’t have one personally.
Between AmEx (and an awesome boyfriend) I’ve gotten awesome seats to concerts because they had an AmEx presale. Don’t forget the air miles that have come in handy. Plus the Pottery Barn gift cards that went toward our comfort couch (and yes, it’s so comfortable.) While points and redeeming are involved with a lot of credit cards these days, let’s keep in mind that my personal card, isn’t. I seriously question what my credit card does for me, but I’m not elite enough yet to enjoy an AmEx, and I don’t want to switch until I am. Another awesome AmEx experience? A free meal at Seasons 52.
Last night myself, my boyfriend, and some friends went to Seasons 52…keep in mind it doesn’t open until October 24…all on AmEx – technically not all, but my skinny rasberry chocolatini was SO worth the $10 out of pocket. I’m sure you’re wondering…what does this even have to do with social? Any of this?
Well, I’ve tweeted AmEx several times. Once was just a shout out for a commercial of theirs that I liked. Last night was just to say “Thanks!” for letting us enjoy a meal…and every time, yes, EVERY time I’ve tweeted them, they’ve responded. I’m not saying this is normal and that if you tweet AmEx you’ll get a response. Seriously, though, every time they’ve responded, and for a company as big as they are, that’s huge. I’m sure you’re thinking that they probably have a large social media staff and whatever, but it’s still a lot of work, and I still feel special. That’s the magic of it, too. I feel special when a company tweets me. If you think that’s silly, then that’s fine, but I know that if the company is tweeting me at a high point, I believe they will tweet me at a low point as well. The big thing for AmEx, is that even though I’m not technically a customer (in a round about way I am because my boyfriend has one), they still reach out to me. While they don’t have to do this, someone in their company knows that by doing so, when I go to pick out a new credit card, or savings account for that matter, I’m going to think of them because they make me feel special in ways completely unrelated to their product.
Another example: I don’t frequent The Cheesecake Factory too often, but when I do, I expect it to be wonderful. I expect good service, good food and even better cheesecake. One Sunday my boyfriend and some friends went to Cheesecake Factory for Brunch – Easter Sunday, to be specific- and had mediocre service, terrible food, and left without cheesecake. If you left it at that, what are the chances I would go back to The Cheesecake Factory for brunch again? We probably wouldn’t…at least not for a really long time. Instead, throughout the whole experience I did what I do – I tweeted about it. I complained about the service and the cold food. Well, I didn’t even know that The Cheesecake Factory had a twitter, but they reached out to me, apologized and asked for my email. Whoever does social at The Cheesecake Factory sent me an email asking to elaborate, so I did. In return I received a letter in the mail letting me know that my experience on Easter was unacceptable and was provided with a $25 gift card to return. The timing worked out pretty perfectly since they were launching their skinnylicious menu. I did go back and tried their new items on them, and while I didn’t leave with Cheesecake that day, I was too full, I have gone back to get some. Now, instead of sharing a negative story with friends, which we know hurts brands, I spread a positive story about how I was treated after my meal. In telling the story, I generally even keep out most of what went wrong.
If you have a company and you don’t think social is important, it’s a huge miss. Not only are you missing out on opportunities to gain customers, but you’re missing out on keeping the ones you have happy. I know that when I’m upset about a brand and I tweet about it, I get more upset when they don’t acknowledge my concerns. Let’s keep in mind that it’s 2011, not 2001. Social media has been around for a long time. If you didn’t know what to do with it then, do you really have a valid excuse now?
(The answer is no if you’re scratching your head.)