Will Social Media Kill Your Business By 2020?

Angry woman gesturing next to indifferent husband texting

You didn’t get the memo yet?

Customer-service is the new marketing. Sounds weird but those not paying attention will get run over and left to die.

For most, its bad news. For a few savvy brands, an exciting opportunity.  I’m hoping by the end of this post you’ll be in the latter group.

See that kid in the supermarket with his tongue caressing the corner of his lips and thumbing a rapid text on his smart-phone? According to Jay Baer, author of the New York Times Best-seller, “Hug Your Haters,” that kid knows nothing about complaining about your service or products via radio, print media, or even e-mail. In 2016, he has your customer service department on demand in the palm of his hands. Everything said about your company is going to be said online in just a few short years as millennials come of age.

He’s on a virtual bullhorn so big the entire world can hear him, and he’s broadcasting that the store has expired products on the shelf and so no one should shop there any more.

I know what you’re thinking. “So what? hardly anyone is going to see his post anyway. Those who do don’t really care so much.”

And you may be right–for now.  However, each day that passes by, if you’re not jumping on that kind of thread to address complaints, you’re missing out on golden opportunities to add to your bottom line.

In the emerging economy, customer service has come to mean Social Media. And it’s gone totally public. For North America and most of Western Europe, this is already the reality, but will take more solid footing as millennials continue to dominate the consumer space. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in. Brick and mortar, service, virtual conglomerate, whatever, no one is spared.

For those of you living in developing economies (like the Dutch Caribbean Islands) you have a little more time. This is the change that’s slowly taking place. If you jump on it now, you’re edging out tomorrow’s competition. Here’s what Baer advises based on global testing and research.

    1.  Answering customer complaints on social media gets you a hyper-loyal customer, and gives you a gold-mine of data for tweaking your company. As time passes, ignoring complaints on social media will turn off an increasing number of customers.


    1. Invest in learning the new media as they rise and fall. Facebook messenger, snap-chat, WhatsApp, Twitter and are where your customer service happens. Take control. It’s actually less expensive than what most companies are doing  right this minute.


    1. Seize the initiative. Get creative. For example, come up with ways to reach out via social media and other channels to a few of your customers personally, then watch as they spread that news to their friends and families. If you’re a smaller company, this is easy to do. If your company is larger, or if you’re a high-end service provider, it impresses the heck out of people, and will win you loyal customers or clients.


  1. Take it to the next level. If you don’t have a website. You need one…big time. If you do have a website, talk to your webmaster about whether or not it has the capability for you or a member of your staff to start publishing blog posts, video content, or podcasting. Then your challenge is to figure out a content marketing strategy to help build your brand and promote your products and services.
    Think of it as your own private broadcasting service or publisher. You get it for almost free and you can develop a huge audience and customer base quickly if you know what you’re doing.  A blog can be used as a company or NGO digital newsletter as well. For a generation addicted to consuming content off a smart phone, it’s simply a thing you MUST do.

Stay tuned for more. If there’s any part of this that you’d like me to cover in a separate post, leave a comment below and let me know. I’ll be happy to oblige.


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