Common Barriers Broken Down, Part 2

December 22nd, 2009 by | 3 Comments

The following is the conclusion to last week’s conversation on common barriers to adopting social media for your company or for your clients.

We’ll be inviting public criticism.

Traditionally, we like to think that when we send a message to our audience, they’ll respond by purchasing our product or telling us what they think, but modern technology has turned the traditional communications model on its head.



Yes, by opening the channels of communication with your consumers, you will likely hear more from them about your brand, both good and bad. However, not having these channels available won’t stop your audience from sharing both positive and negative criticism about your brand or product on the web; in fact, if given the choice to voice their concerns or frustrations directly with your company, many will do so rather than merely sending those messages into the ether, knowing that they may actually get a response or have their problem resolved. You’ll be better poised to provide superior customer service and may even find ways to improve your product or brand.

How do we pay those who implement our efforts, and how do we measure its success?

As your social media presence will require consistent effort and attention, it is important to consider your operating expenses. The benefit of social media is that it can be a thrifty means of communication, but do not underestimate the man hours that go into doing justice to these important conversations. Resist the urge to let cost be another barrier to break down–

As for measuring success, there’s a lot to consider beyond ROI. Dell Computers recently announced that they have made a total of $6.5 million through their Twitter account, but sales are neither the only nor the most important benchmark in determining social media success. Reports of increased customer satisfaction, increased unaided recall of your brand or product, and lower support costs are all potential benefits of social media and can account for ultimate sales far above and beyond daily sales links and the shortest path to a return on your investment.

And don’t forget, as Carlos Miceli wrote last week, ROI shouldn’t be your biggest concern. Your consumers dictate where you need to be and what they expect from you in the social media sphere; if you aren’t open to these requests, why would they think you’d be open to hearing their concerns, preferences, and needs as they relate to the product you’re asking them to pay money to purchase? By not recognizing your changing customer’s media consumption, your consumers will have a new reason to switch to your competitor. The moral of the story? Remember that social media does more than generate new potential revenue streams–its a retention tactic that will keep your existing consumers who support your business at your side.

Claire Grinton is a brand strategist and writer based in San Francisco. Find more from Claire or contact her at claire[dot]grinton[at]

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