Does a change in attitude translate in a change in behavior? That's where the money is.
We look at the responses to surveys like the one put together by eMarketer [hat tip Toby Diva] based on the 2009 Cone Consumer Media Study, and every other company jumps on Twitter or Facebook because of the conclusions it draws:
- people say they have a more positive impression of the company when they interact with the brand;
- other brands like ours (usually competitors will do the trick) are on Twitter, Facebook, etc.;
- therefore we should be on Twitter, Facebook to interact with customers and make more money.
Is that true?
You look at this kind of survey, start a blog or create a Facebook page because you believe that is what will change customer behavior -- and do nothing else differently in your business. Customers don't flock to your business after all. What happened?
The same attitude and approach were put behind the effort. This stuff is not free to do, it takes resources away from other tactics, and after putting in a little bit of effort into it and seeing no measurable results, you abandon ship.
If you have a customer service problem, you still need to change your customer service and listening habits. If you have a product problem, you still need to improve the product. In essence, you need to change your behavior -- do something differently.Customer switch
Let's face, we buy all the time from companies that are not in social media and don't have the latest Facebook page. With the ubiquity of the "like" button and concept, we have the opportunity to snoop around and see more of what others are doing, which is the one genius moment by Facebook.
Few of us are actually coherent and follow through with our promises. We don't even execute on our threats unless pushed incredibly hard by a public loss of face. Changing behavior requires effort, a special incentive. That's why offers and promotions work.
We say one thing, and do another all the time. "I feel better served by companies or brands when I can have a conversation with them in a new media environment" does not automatically mean if you're not out here I'm not buying from you, does it?Drawing conclusions
Liking and doing are two very different activities. One signals intention, the second show us behavior. Are we more inclined to do something when we see others saying they're doing it?
Is your business changing the way it communicates internally as a result of participating in social networks? Does the peer pressure of other brands help bring about a change in your own culture, in the way you do business?
Are your customers more likely to take action when they see others just like them do something? Do they consider switching a brand because they learn that others have done so?
To me, while the correlation is likely, eventually, it's not a direct route between attitude and behavior. The change is either brought about by our social circle, or created by a strong incentive. Can a company or brand use social media to create a new path for itself?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.