Activity vs Trade



According to a July 2011 Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Dell, US marketers believe the top three business areas of greatest impact for their listening and engagement initiatives are:

1. Influencing customer perception in the marketplace (50 percent)

2. Building long-term relationships with customers and partners (56 percent)

3. Responding to customer feedback in a timely manner (42 percent)

There are many tools at our disposal for listening and monitoring social channels. Dell leads the way on understanding its critical role.

Bottom line, customer conversations on Twitter are good brand management.

When we talk about engagement, however, we're in a more gray-ish area. How do you know when you're truly "engaging" customers. How can you tell if what you're saying and doing is truth or truthiness?

Truthiness happens whenever you don't know what you're really trading. You've seen them in social media — the endless streams of promotional tweets with exclamation marks at the end. Are they all promises made? How many of those are kept? Do they lead to egangement?

If you want to engage customers, you have to give them a reason to engage. Mindless, idle chatter on Twitter and Facebook isn’t sustainable.

In order to give them a reason to engage, you need to know what you're trading. Are you trading just activity in the hope people will exchange loyalty for it? In which direction is an aggressive discount or couponing program going to influence your customers?

People are prepared to do business. They know they have something to trade.

Thanks to the acceleration in social signals, people are starting to think more carefully about what they're trading — attention, time, trust, credibility, reputation, money, etc. — and they're not giving those away unwittingly anymore.