In 2013, the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence started asking questions related to an organization’s use of social media. An emphasis was placed on effective use of social media. In the early days of this criteria change, many users of the Criteria had limited engagement with social media. More recently, every organization is using and must use social media, but not always effectively.
So you might ask, what is ineffective use of social media? We probably all have personal experiences that could fit in this category. This blog was conceived after I received a recent marketing e-mail, the kind that has your name in the salutation. This one read as follows:
“Good afternoon [first name],
Hope this note finds you well. Based on your interest in …”
How do you know my interests, if you address me as [first name] and don't even know who I am? This was further exacerbated by actually dealing with a subject of absolutely no interest to me.
This solicitation reminded me of other personalized solicitations that use mailing list information directly and start with something like:” Dear Hertz H,”. Will solicitations like these cause me to read further? Certainly not, other than to note the sender’s organization and lower my opinion of them and their brand. And with that goes overall brand image.
There are many other examples of brand image that suffer because of ineffective use of social media. Some that have affected me and really strike a negative reaction are:
· The charitable organization that solicits me by e-mail (and snail mail) several times a week. Am I contributing to their cause or their social media campaigns?
· The organization that is regularly surveying me, but never seems to respond to customer feedback in any manner: not by a personal response (although I don’t expect that), not by changes in their performance from a customer’s perspective, and not by general responses through a blog, web site change, or mass e-mail that says we have listened and here are some changes we have made. The organization usually states my time is valuable, but in practice they don’t seem to value my time at all.
· The company or organization that has been hacked and my data compromised, but the organization never notifies me or notifies me by a blanket announcement only after the press announces they found this out weeks or months after the actual occurrence.
There are other examples I could cite and many more you could cite from your personal experiences. The Baldrige Criteria questions are designed to cause you to think about your organization from a systems perspective, to think about key linkages and cause-effect relationships. The 2015-2016 Criteria for Performance Excellence have added the consideration of brand image. Item 3.2 on Customer Engagement, has the following question: “How do you leverage social media to manage and enhance your brand and to enhance customer engagement and relationships with your organization?”
Effective use of social media has become a significant factor in customer engagement and ineffective use can be a driver of disengagement and relationship deterioration or destruction. It is also a key factor in employee engagement. How effective is your organization’s use of social media? What impact has it had on your brand image, customer engagement, and employee engagement? Let me know your experiences (without mentioning brand names, please).