Where Is The Social Media Feedback?

Recently, I had the privilege to present at SMX Israel. With a few extra days to travel. I rented a car and did the “tourist” thing. While on the highway to Tel Aviv, I noticed what looked like pedestrian cars. Obviously typical, but what stood out was the bumper sticker that read in Hebrew “hows my driving”.

hows my driving
Translation is How is My Driving

I began to think “how peculiar that a pedestrian car is asking that”. Then I started to think about how there are many things in life that we try to get feedback about. And then I dissected that though a bit more and realized feedback was missing in one of the most obvious places.

Social Media.

(And, yes, my mind works in a funny way… welcome to it!)

While Social Media continues to evolve at record breaking speeds, in many ways it can feel absolutely unmanageable.

  • From a brand perspective, there are questions and complaints flying back and forth with limited resources to answer them. And in many cases, the community managers might not actually have the answers off hand, needing to track them down.
  • From the user’s perspective, sometimes, it feels like the brands are not listening, or even if they are, they are not getting back to them fast enough.

And with this, there doesn’t always seem to be a gauge at how successful social engagement really is.

Holding Brands Accountable & Improving With Feedback

After I call customer service, often I am asked to engage in a customer satisfaction survey. They want to make sure my call was handled appropriately. Even after I attend a conference, or some kind of event, I am asked to give feedback, and rate my general experience. This is just to name a few areas of our daily life that feedback is built into the process. Think performance reviews at work.

And social media?

You may argue that Social is a different medium. And I will agree with you. Of course it is. It’s a medium that communicates marketing messages, brand values, company news, customer service, and moreThis is why it’s all the more so important!

Think of it like this: When was the last time you read a blog post about someone who had a bad customer service phone call? How about the last time someone was venting to their entire social network that they had a poor experience?

I think I just proved my point. The reach on social is un-paramount, and to leave that to chance is insane!

But Where is the Social Feedback?

Sometimes, it seems as though feedback is a taboo topic in social media. Well, maybe not taboo, but for sure not discussed. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear users complaining about a brand’s engagement in my social streams. But rarely, if ever, do I hear about how well a brand is performing overall in that arena. It shouldn’t be that unless someone gets upset and writes about a poor experience that we hear about brand social interaction. At this juncture, in 2013, I expect more from social.

A Bad Experience Happened To Me

I recently had an experience like this. While overseas, I had some major technical difficulties with my phone. To the companies credit (I am leaving it’s name out of the post because it will turn negative in a second) the brand actively came to find me and attempted to solve my issue.

But this was not good enough by any far stretch of the imagination. Between their infrequent replies to me on Twitter, and ultimately vanishing, the issue never made any progress. Needless to say I was less than satisfied and kind of ticked off.

Who This Hurts The Most

Unfortunately, community managers feel the brunt of this (mad respect to Jen and Courtney, two of the best I know). But I think people tend to forget that there is a real human behind a twitter handle. My friend Jon Burg told me about a client of his where they worked on exactly this. They tried to, and successfully, humanized their social media presence. Believe it or not, it turns out that when he had his client signing tweets with their names, showing empathy and solving issues, people stopped yelling and started to look at them as a solution.

I love the idea and that he did this, but sadly, I think that is the minority. And I don’t think all brands are solving problems and being quite this helpful.

Starting To Measure

As someone who spends a lot of time on Social Media, I can comfortably say, I have NEVER been asked for feedback.

Social growth vs quality

I can do no more than voice my opinion here, but I think brands need to start thinking more about ways to gather this valuable feedback. Whether it’s emailing the users and measuring the sentiment of the personal engagements, or sending out surveys and feedback questionnaires after they attempt to solve a problem. The point is brands need to create internal engagement metrics and hold themselves accountable. Gather data on how much value is being added through social. Dare I say, after the data is gathered, be transparent and publish it, like a report card. Show how your brand is improving and hold everyone internally accountable.

Mike King did something similar after the 12 days of linkmas campaign they ran. Oh, and by the way, publishing this data creates linkable content, bringing this full circle back to search engines.

Now Your Turn – Am I Crazy?

Am I taking the social piece out of Social Media and making it too rigid and formal?

What do you think?

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Aaron Friedman

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  • http://casiegillette.com Casie

    I think you have a good point Aaron. As more companies use social media for customer service, they need to be figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I too get surveys all the time after a customer service call. Why not after a social interaction?

    The other thing is, social can’t always solve the problem so while companies are responding, are they actually helping? Can they do it better? I saw an interaction the other day between a friend and Verizon. While Verizon responded to him, they couldn’t actually solve his issue. It was great they were paying attention and addressed his question but the next question is, did they take the proper next step to truly help him?

    • http://digitalhighrise.com Aaron Friedman

      Good point, Casie. That sounds pretty much EXACTLY like the interaction I had ;)

  • http://raventools.com Courtney Seiter

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, Aaron! I’ve been pondering some similar topics from a tool perspective – e.g. what could Raven build that would help people like me quantify how I’m doing when it comes to customer support via social channels? I think there’s a lot of opportunity there for feedback of the type you mention. As usual, you’re ahead of the curve!

    • http://digitalhighrise.com Aaron Friedman

      Thanks Courtney!
      That means so much coming from you :)

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  • http://Www.please.to Nic

    Hi Aaron, I fully share your point of view. In fact we’ve just gone beta with a brand new platform that aims to make social feedback easier for brands as well as to monetise it quickly. It’s called PLEASE and there is an App for users. Hope to receive your feedback :)

    • http://digitalhighrise.com Aaron Friedman

      Interesting Nic… I will have to check this app out. Could be what I was talking about, but I haven’t played with it yet. Maybe you can email me with some more information?