I never thought I’d be writing about septic tanks on our marketing blog, but here goes (and there is a marketing lesson here). I was standing at my child’s bus stop the other day chatting with a few parents and mentioned that we were having our septic tank pumped that afternoon. That comment reminded another parent that she needed to have her tank pumped as well. She decided to ask some others in the neighborhood if they needed their septic tanks pumped. (She was working to get six others so they could get a better price than going alone.) The next day she reported she had three others that needed to have their septic tanks pumped—and she was confident she would find the six to get the price break.I chuckled to myself and thought, “This is good old-fashioned social media in action.” This parent was demonstrating the power of social media only without using any technology at all—just word of mouth. And you can’t get much more social than that. Kind of refreshing in this day and age of technology overload!
Getting and Keeping a Customer
We use a certain company to have our septic tank pumped. And I probably will never switch—even for a better price. Why? Because the last time I called our company to have our tank pumped, the guy told me it was too soon. He remembered two years earlier when he was at our house. He remembered that we were having our kitchen remodeled and new roof put on at the time. And he remembered the location of the trees on our property. We weren’t due until next year he explained.
Whoa! What happened here? In that quick exchange over the phone, this company not only demonstrated their honesty, and established great trust, he also showed that he knew a lot about us and our property. I wasn’t just some potential customer calling and asking for an appointment. I was a customer he remembered.
This exchange didn’t happen over Facebook or LinkedIn or some other social media platform. But it could have. And that’s the point.
Are You Listening?
Social media is a great way to share information about your company and its products and services with current and potential customers. But it can also be much more than that. It’s an avenue for having conversations (like the one I had with my septic company on the phone), for listening to and learning from your customers and potential customers and for demonstrating that you know and understand their needs.
So whether your company is in the business of pumping septic tanks or providing a service, social media can be a powerful thing—if you use it correctly. Sure, it's a great place for sharing news about your company, but don’t limit these channels to just that. Your customers and potential customers don’t necessarily enjoy hearing (or reading) about you and your company all the time.
A good rule of thumb on social media: share your company news about one-third of the time; share industry news and items of interest another third of the time; and strive to engage with your followers and friends the other third.
Yes, social media provides you with wonderful ways to share information about your company, but it’s also a great way to listen to and engage with your customers.
Are you listening?