Many new marketers who leverage social media forget about one of the greatest benefits, social listening. There are many benefits to social listening including:
- learning about your audience
- better understanding their needs, wants and desires
- knowing and understanding what is being said about you and your brand
- increasing customer satisfaction
- improving product performance
- understanding how you stack up to competitors
- the tone of your audience and how they perceive you
- mitigating risks
Check out this real-life example I experienced with Stride Gum and their excellent social listening program.
A couple months ago I picked up a pack of my favorite gum, Stride Gum - Mystery flavor. I noticed on the inside of the package there was a link to a website and a mention of an application.
The geek in me immediately thought "wow, so cool, even Stride Gum is building a community around a pack of gum!" My plan was to check out the site and leverage it as an example of how you can build communities. My message to my audience was going to be "if Stride Gum and Cadbury can build a community around a pack of gum, then Mr. Biz leader, you should be able to build a community around your business, product or service."
So I sat down in front of the web cam on a Friday afternoon ready to film my experience live with a little help from Camtasia. Unfortunately to my surprise the experience wasn't so positive. I found it very hard to even find their Facebook button. I literally had to look for 5 minutes to get there. They had all sorts of cool graphics, games and multi-media features. However, they were missing out on the greatest benefit of my visit to their site. The opportunity to invite me into their community.
My video turned from being a story about how easy it was to build a community around a pack of gum to being a story about making it easy to engage with your audience. I was honest but very nice when discussing the story of stride gum. Stride Gum is one of my favorite products and brands so the last thing I wanted to do was bash them. I was however interested in letting others learn from their clugy social site. Another objective similar to all my blog posts is I wanted to spark conversation. You can view the original video which summarized my experience here.
Here's the good part! Within less than 24 hours I had a personal note in my YouTube inbox responding to my video. They thanked me for my analysis and told me I'd be excited to see some upcoming changes. They then followed up with a few tweets to me in a professional, yet light hearted tone.
Within a couple days I had a new, furry and authentic friend, the Ram of Stride Gum! We tweeted and giggled about the video and how he was excited to show me the upcoming changes.
It gets better! They then asked for my address and told me they would be sending me a box of Stride Gum! Considering the fact that I have two little kids I knew this would be a big hit at the Moore house!
We received the box of goodies and it was a full on Stride Gum party at the Moore house! We have gum to last thru the holidays and beyond! You can check out the Stride Gum party video here.
The conversations and communication has continued since the first data point they learned months ago. We have had several light hearted tweet conversations.
So let's talk about all the things Stride Gum did right!
- They were proactively listening in the first place and knew about my video within 24 hours!
- They were quick to respond (immediately!) This shows they had processes in place. They didn't have to delay a week to gather the stakeholders for a series of freak out meetings.
- They were not defensive even though my original video did not put all of their marketing and social media in a positive light.
- They were not afraid to communicate with me.
- They communicated with me authentically. They engaged with me like a real person.
- They acknowledged, validated and respected my opinion.
- They shared their plans to incorporate some of my feedback.
- They followed thru after their site was updated.
- They used humor to emotionally connect with me via the Stride Gum Ram.
- They inspired me to connect with their brand more intimately.
- They gained a loyal tribe follower for the long term!
- They made my kids (and me) very happy with a box loaded with yummy gum!
- The gum was the icing on the cake. In reality they could have not even sent the gum and this case study still would have been a success. They did so many things right, the marketer in me wants to scream with joy of delight to their CMO.
Stride Gum definitely knew what they were doing when it came to social listening, monitoring and customer response. They didn't freak out. They managed the situation professionally. Communication was professional yet light hearted.
I have seen other brands respond not so well. Stride Gum could have gotten defensive. Or they could have ignored me like BlueHost did when they had the falling out with all of their Twitter followers a couple months ago. Blue Host hasn't tweeted me back even once despite several tweets asking questions when they were down. Bluehost had to hop on Twitter only after their systems failed and their community on Twitter had gone wild. Not good.
Stride Gum could have disregarded my opinion and written me off as yet another loud mouth social media addict. However, they took advantage of the situation to learn, gain insight, improve their online experience and most importantly bring a brand lover deeper into their tribe and community.
The fact that I am taking the time on a Friday morning to write a blog post about specifically Stride Gum shows success on their part! Go Stride Gum!
Check out their new site at www.stridegum.com It is now very easy to find their Facebook page who boasts over 1 million followers! This case study is probably only one small example of the many reasons people love them so much.
Good work Stride Gum! Glad to be in your tribe and support your brand for years to come! Oh and thank you for the gum too. Tell Ram hello and hope he stays wooly warm this winter!
The Stride Gum mystery box arrives!
Thank you Stride Gum from two happy rugrats!
Social Media Listening: A good and bad case study.