Upside-Down Thinking by Patric Fransko
by Patric Fransko
March 10th, 2010

Making the Connection

Welcome to the first of a series of blog entries designed to help elevate your perspective regarding “Web 2.0” (social media) and how you can integrate these tools to help grow your business. Rapidly becoming a vital part of many people’s lives, social media needs to become part of your marketing focus. Not knowing where the majority of you may fall regarding your understanding of this topic, I will start with the basics. I plan to discuss many of the popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In and the different strategies you can employ to incorporate all of them into your overall marketing strategy. Finally, we will explore the importance of creating and defining your personal and company brand and the role social media has in that branding message.

The first thing that you will need to accept about social media is that you no longer control the message. That can be scary and exciting at the same time. It can be scary because customer comments as well as your interaction and involvement in the community will define your message, not some glossy ad or brochure. It can be exciting because positive comments from the community about your company or product will carry more credibility and reach many more people than possible through traditional channels.

We all know the old saying about a happy customer telling two people and an unhappy customer telling 20 people. Well, with social media, those numbers are multiplied tremendously. This can be either good or bad. On the negative side, an unhappy customer would be able to easily tell 500 people or more about his unhappiness with your company. On the positive side, satisfied customers can easily reach the same number of people with news of how thrilled they are with the service or product they received. That kind of momentum based on a single customer interaction would not have been possible just a few years ago. The emergence of social media has made great customer service and the creation of this positive momentum paramount. The penalties for doing it wrong can be so damaging and the reward for doing it right can be unbelievable. That is why it is so important to understand the social media landscape in order to leverage the potential while avoiding the pitfalls.

Here are a couple of quick examples of how the use of social media can help and hurt your company. Suppose that “Customer Joe” just had his prize car tinted at your shop and he is unhappy with the quality of a few of the windows. After looking at it, you assure him that it is within the acceptable standards and send him on his way. A week passes and “Joe” is still not happy and posts something on Facebook, Twitter and an automotive forum about being unhappy with the overall result. Let’s assume that between Facebook and Twitter Joe has more than 500 friends or followers (not atypical at all) and there are 250 local members on the forum. At this point, more than 750 people just got a negative message about your company and the products you sell from Joe’s post. It is easy to see how just a handful of unsatisfied customers can have an extremely detrimental effect on your business.

On the flip side, let’s suppose that you just helped “Joe” take care of a bad heat issue in his great room and he is thrilled with the performance of the film, the quality of the install and the professionalism of your crew. He posts a comment on Facebook and sends out a Tweet about how pleased he is. In this scenario, you now have more than 500 people who believe that window film can work to take care of a heat issue and that your company can be trusted. Quite a bit better than the two people the satisfied customer would tell just a handful of years ago.

These examples are not something coming in the future—they are reality today. That is why it is critical that you understand social media and how to become involved. In this blog we will discuss these tools and help you understand how to use them effectively.

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12 comments
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  1. How incredibly simplistic!

    Are these your best examples? Imagine your readers are sophisticated business people and start all over again!

  2. Mike,

    Did you read the first paragraph? I intentionally wrote this at a very basic level as many of the people that I speak with are in the dark regarding social media and how it could possibly relate to their business. That being said, I wanted the first post to be very basic and then build from there. Just because you may be familiar with these tools, do not assume that the majority are. In fact, I get regular questions from people asking me to help them understand how to use Linked In, Facebook and Twitter to help their business. Many of these people do not even have an account when we start, so I felt it was imperative to start very basic.

    I am glad that you obviously already have a good grasp of these tools and I welcome feedback from you as this series continues.

  3. Patrick, Thanks for your excellent input, need to move this forward, what’s next?

  4. David,

    Thanks for the feedback. The next entry is due soon and I plan discuss the three main tools, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, that everyone should be participating in. After that, I plan to break down each of those tools and discuss particular ways to use each one. I am trying to take this slow and methodical so that anyone can follow this step by step. I will also include other resources that you should look into that will help you in much deeper detail with each of these tools.

    Thanks again David. Contact me anytime if you have any questions.

  5. Ouch. Mike must have skipped the first paragraph. Although it seems at this point like all of us should have a great grasp on at least the basics of social media, after attending the recent dealer meeting and hearing the very basic, simple questions asked at the seminar on utilizing social media, I have to agree that beginning at the beginning is the best tactic. While we all know that Mike is adept at utilizing all the Web 2.0 tools available, it was clear that many of the rest of us are not or need to be prodded into taking things to the next level. Thanks Patrick for getting this started. I look forward to the next chapter.

  6. Thanks Susan. I agree with you that many need to start at the beginning. I struggled with writing this first entry so basic as I thought it may be like explaining that 2 + 2 = 4 and some might be insulted. However, after speaking with many people I decided to start this way and build from here. Because of that, I will ask for some patience from some of you that are more proficient in the use of the tools.

  7. Thank you Patric for a nice introductory article on the subject. Too many people, me included, in our industry are ignoring this aspect of marketing. Looking forward for the next one.

  8. Thank you Patrick. Although I am not in the dark about social media, I am certainly not an expert. I enjoy learning from several sources and am looking forward to your next article.

  9. Thank you for all the positive feedback. Maybe I should put the question to the group as to what part of Web 2.0 you would like me to cover next. I planned on going into how to use and how NOT to use these tools next, followed by Linked In, then Facebook and finally Twitter.

    Let me know what you think and we can adjust things to go in the direction that all of you feel is the most appropriate.

    Thanks again and Best Regards,

    Patric

  10. Personally.

    I think your article was well written, and for the people that are not familiar with this medium…. educational.

    Well done Pat. Well done.

    Al / Shatter Safe

  11. Dear Patric,
    You are so right! I predict there will soon be marketing classes about the effect of social media on buying habits. A couple of years ago my wife discovered Facebook. Her exploding network of women contacts ignores standard advertising except for coupons, and she and others go first to their Facebook pages for everything from a new couch to hamburger at the grocery to which restaurant is better. They text each other from stores where values are found. I’ve never witnessed such an explosion of information exchange. Since their friends and relatives are known personalities, they value those opinions over every other advertising media or product recommendation. Now I ask my wife where to buy anything I need and she checks with her buddies or already knows from her computer. I look forward to reading your blog!
    Thanks!

  12. Thanks for all of the positive feedback above and in direct messages to me. My next blog should be coming out soon and I look forward to receiving feedback on the direction that you want me to move with this topic.

    Thanks,

    Pat

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