Large companies from around the world spend millions of dollars on market research on a regular basis, and I’m always amazed how they totally ignore valuable data that’s literally at their fingertips. This article will highlight one of the most epic marketing failures I see on a regular basis with the intention of getting large organizations to change their disturbing ways while also helping smaller companies stay on the right track.
The fact is that most of the largest companies in the world that are active on social media websites have an extremely large following, however they themselves don’t actually follow others, which is a major failure. They focus on being the star of the show and could care less about the attendees — people that have actually made them a success. I know it may sound shocking, but being social on social media websites is imperative (weird, I know).
Aside from showing others that you care and they’re important, following select individuals provides insight into the lifestyle, needs, and wants of target markets, which is worth its weight in gold. For example, one of my favorite automotive manufacturers has an extremely large following with fanatics around the globe. They have 284,000 followers on Twitter, yet they only follow 47 people. Why not follow influential automotive journalists, bloggers, industry-related magazines, etc. then use the data to your advantage? It makes no sense to me. Plus it’s not only about what you are sharing, but also supporting and passing around what others have shared. If you’re not following specific people that becomes a major challenge.
On the other hand, companies like American Express are doing an excellent job. Not only does the company follow nearly 20,000 people on Twitter, but they also closely monitor all conversations on social networks. In fact, I’ve been an American Express cardmember for many years and have been nothing but happy with their services, so I decided to shoot off a tweet showing my satisfaction. They found the tweet, contacted me, and actually displayed it on the front page of their website for around 2 weeks. Since then I’ve fallen even more in love with American Express and run all of my expenses through my AmEx cards and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. A classic example of a very large organization that actually listens, learns, and responds to consumers.
Businesses suffering from big-headed syndrome must step down from their pedestal, come back to planet earth, and start following and interacting with fellow human beings.