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Last Tuesday night I was at a presentation about marketing, and I laughed my pants off. Seriously, I don’t think I laughed that much since the 21 Jump Street movie.
As the Blog Administrator and Treasurer of the Social Media Club San Diego, I had done my research on our speaker, Scott Stratten of UnMarketing. I knew he knew his stuff about marketing, that he was one of the first to use Twitter as a business tool, and that he was passionate and brash when he spoke about how companies are using social media...well...just plain wrong.
But, I was unprepared for a gut-busting experience. Scott did an amazing job giving viable examples of businesses that are using social media correctly and incorrectly. I have been to a lot of marketing presentations before, but this had more of a comedy show feel than a dry talk about deriving your ROI from social media. As a result, Scott’s talk was not only informative but it ranks as one of the most entertaining ever.
Being Awesome is not hard if you follow The Golden Rule
Marketing and customer service should be easy. “Do unto others as others would do unto you.” If your company is training your staff to believe this mantra, then according to Scott you are “Business Awesome.”
For example, let’s take a look at a little boy and his stuffed pet giraffe, Joshie. One summer the little boy and Joshie went on a trip to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Florida for a family vacation. Unfortunately for the child, he left Joshie at the hotel. Bawling, the five year old told his dad what happened to his favorite stuffed animal. Like any good father, Dad did the only thing he could do. He lied.
The father told his son that Joshie was not lost, but on an extended vacation at the Ritz-Carlton. Frantic, Dad called the hotel with the hope that the staff found the stuffed giraffe. Not only did the Ritz-Carlton staff find Joshie, they sent him back overnight for free along with photos of his extended stay. Some of the photos included Joshie catching some rays by the pool, playing a few rounds of golf, and grabbing a drink with some other stuffed animals of the lost and found.
So what was the result of this story? Well, it turns out the father was a writer for the Huffington Post. He wrote a piece about the entire episode, and it spread throughout the Internet via Twitter like wildfire. Now, I’m not saying every great interaction your front line has with customers is going to go viral. What I am saying is that great customer service makes customers want to share their experience and with social media it’s now easier than ever to do this.
Do Not Use New Technology Just Because You Can
You see it all the time: companies jumping into new marketing technology and trends not because it fits their business model, but because it’s trendy and hip. It happened with Twitter. It happened with Google+. And now it’s happening with QR codes.
I love the idea behind QR codes. But I’m an analyst with an engineering background. As Scott pointed out many people are just doing it wrong.
“If you are in a meeting and someone brings up using a QR code, please call me.” Scott begged us. “I will be at that meeting as quickly as I can and round-house kick that person in the face!”
When is it wrong to use a QR code? Well, if a company puts a QR code on a billboard where the minimum speed is 55 mph (I guess QR’ing while driving is safer than texting), they are doing it wrong. If a company puts a QR code on an inflight magazine when I am 30,000 feet in the air (I am not paying for Wi-Fi and I am certainly not taking the magazine off the plane), they are doing it wrong. If a company puts a QR code on a banana that shows a YouTube video of a smoothie recipe, only to have the video show “This video is not supported on a mobile device…”
Scott’s point is that no amount social media technology is going to make mediocre customer service better. Social media is an amplifier, and “If you want to improve your bottom line, improve your frontline.” In other words: Teach your sales staff, customer service representatives, and anyone else who interacts regularly with your customers The Golden Rule. Then, listen to what your followers are saying on social networks and interact with them. If you see more positive engagement, then you are Business Awesome.