Delivering Great Social Customer Experiences—You Gotta Be Loved!

imgres-1Just wrapped an intense but very exciting project with Lithium—the release of a new survey in partnership with the CMO Council of both consumers and marketers on their use of social media. Findings analysis, a full white paper, an infograph and a webcast—whew! It was a full sprint all the way, but I admit that’s what I love about social media marketing. It’s a fast moving train.

The survey findings underscored what we at Lithium have always known—that consumers are social, that they want and like to interact with brands through social media and that they respond to compelling social customer experiences.

But we learned a great deal as well—for instance, that all the claims that social media marketing is good for word of mouth marketing have whopping figures behind them. A full 80% of consumers say that because of social media, they are willing to try new things based on a friend’s advice. For me, this was pretty pivotal.

It’s one thing when marketers claim they are getting word of mouth advantages from social media. It’s another thing entirely when an overwhelming majority of consumers state outright that social media influences their purchase behavior. That’s some powerful data.

CMO Katy Keim was featured on the webcast and it was the perfect finale for me as I believe she has what I call the 3 As: Authenticity, Authority, and Acumen. She really puts her finger on it. And she’s thinking several years ahead. (Have a look at her deck on Slideshare—How to Get Social Business Advantage in 2012).

Yep, social works, says Katy. Maybe not all brands know that yet, but they sure will soon. And if you’re going to be competitive in the social media marketplace, you’d better make sure you’re not just connecting with your social customers, you’d better make sure you’re connecting with them in the right way.

At this year’s Lithium customer conference, LiNC, Katy introduced the concept that marketers can’t just run around collecting likes from their social customers. They have to think about building brand nations—vibrant online communities of passionate social customers. Because, after all, says Katy, “Who wants to be liked when we can be loved!”

I ran across the above clip recently from an Elia Kazan film that was way ahead of its time—A Face in the Crowd. Certainly puts to mind what our recent survey revealed and perfectly distills Lithium’s position on what marketers should do about it.

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