In this century, competition in business is cut-throat. It takes years to build a business into an empire but with every business running on knife-edge to retain market share and garner customer loyalty, it can take just a few days for a successful business to tumble to rubble.
It’s fair to say it has become common knowledge that the business environment is ever-changing, but now, with the explosion of ICTs, the case has become worse. With so much information and exposure out there to different brands, there are no guarantees.
Enter the one thing that is separating performing and achieving companies today – Insight. Now, loosely speaking, insight is all around us. On a daily basis, customers are providing feedback to service providers on their products and services and it’s against these pointers that enterprises and their offerings are shaped. Only, there is one big limitation in this way; customers will not always be honest with you about your product or business.
In fact, customers are now more comfortable sharing their experiences and perceptions of brands and names with strangers before they hand that information through satisfaction surveys and questionnaires. Why? Well, social media for some time now has been the dominant channel for communication.
How many times have you seen someone tweet or Facebook an experience with a brand? “Such poor customer service”, “I need that phone!”, “I wish it came with x features?” It happens all day, everyday. People are always chatting about their likes, dislikes, disappointments, satisfaction, wishes and aspirations over products and services. Thankfully, because of the nature of social media, you can be certain that the genuinity of those perceptions is high because people speak naturally, emotionally and freely in their social circles.
By now, the case is pretty clear. Social media is a fertile ground to collect data from customers – existing and potential – in order to crunch it and shape your strategy against them. There is irrevocable value in tweeting with your clients, giving them a page where they can talk about your product on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and even, sharing on the latest you have through engaging media on Youtube and Vimeo.
Any way you look at it, social media can no longer be ignored and any enterprise which seeks to base its strength on understanding its customers, products and ultimately, its business, needs to make a serious consideration on making social media mainstream, and not secondary.
The numbers speak for themselves. 100 million Africans are now active on Facebook (alone). Are you there, learning them?