I spend a lot of time posting blogs about several macro consumer focused sectors, including 'Healthcare, Legal, Financial, and Retail' sectors.
I do this mainly to highlight that whilst they say they have a 'social presence', they aren't really interested in listening to you and me, because it's all about them, and I've genuinely struggled to find evidence otherwise.
So what you might say?.
I would be inclined to agree if they weren't all promoting how digitally brilliant and innovative they are on 'social media' - its just all the same corporate diatribe, its all 'advertise and promote', its all, me, me, me!, and the agency charged with managing the account couldn't care less, they're still getting paid no matter what because they probably don't have to provide KPI's and ROI results.
These are huge companies that pre-Covid had immense resources at their disposal, with mission statements about 'social diversity, social inclusion, socially aware', yet the 'social' basics are missing.
We see far more 'listening' evidence from much smaller and agile businesses.
Of course this pandemic has hit the SME sector pretty hard, even with Rishi's help some have found it a terminal time, whilst others have been far more agile and creative.
If we look at the SME start-up trends before Covid we see some really interesting stats.
The number of new tech startups in the UK grew 14 per cent last year. The number of new tech companies launched in the UK rose 14 per cent in 2018. Data from Companies House shows there were 11,864 software development and programming businesses incorporated in 2018, up from 10,394 companies the year before.
These companies don't have access to the abundance of human and financial resource these companies have, yet they're the ones who seem to be engaging with, and winning the hearts and minds of the big boys/gals consumers.
To invest in 'Social Media' means you must be willing to invest in what your customers are saying about your product and then implement those insights into solutions that will benefit your customers.
The consistent process of listening and acting on solutions derived from listening will result in higher brand equity and of course, ROI.
Once negative sentiments about your brand has spread like wildfire, don’t be surprised if sales start to dwindle.
Also, you may be missing out on constructive feedback about your product and (very important) monitoring your competitors on social media.
Social Media if utilised with the right skill based training, ongoing mentoring and support can be one of the biggest 'Superpowers' you can ever have as an SME, but no matter what you are told, a 2 hour seminar will never make you an Social Media Olympic Athlete.
Chances are the people who really need to read this rant (blog) are the very same people who are only interested in broadcasting their corporate message, and don't have time to 'listen'.
As brands grow, many of them fall into the trap of playing it safe, and they start to defend their businesses. They stop playing to win, become more cautious, and innovate less.