I recently read an article about how fashion companies are missing the boat when it comes to their use of social media to connect with their customers. I think that what it boils down to is that the meaning of the word social somehow escapes them.
I don’t know who minted the phrase social media, but when it comes to companies it seems like a misnomer. To quote Webster: “social – relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other.”
The problem with the way so many companies use the term is that they view twitter, instagram, facebook and their own blogs as a platform to talk to people. Instead it should be a vehicle for conversation. The article I read quoted a study that said that at least 60% of companies who are tagged on social media do not respond to the tagger regardless of whether the message is positive or negative.
It got me to thinking about my own experience with companies and social media. Over the past several years I’ve tagged several on twitter and instagram, and I can tell you my reply rate is lower than 40%. The only company to ever acknowledge my tags has been Pendleton.
But what is interesting is how differently vintage sellers respond to internet messages. I don’t think I’ve ever had a vintage seller ignore a message I’ve sent through twitter or the other platforms. They seem to know what the big guys do not know – that communication builds customers. I’ve been on Instagram less than five months, and I’ve bought three things that I first saw posted at Instagram. In all three cases I asked the seller about the item and in all three cases the seller replied. Do you think I’d have bought their stuff if I’d been ignored?