Implied Social Contracts: why most marketers aren't even at the starting gate for social
August 21, 2011
When I buy an airline ticket, I expect that I will not incur additional fees at the airport. I expect that the flight will run more or less on time. I expect kind and courteous service. I expect that the fine print on the contract won't ruin my day.
When I purchase a car, I expect that the car will be identical to the one I signed on. I expect that the dealership will include the warranty they advertise. I expect that the salesman who talked me into the service contract was forthcoming and honest, and I expect that there will be no further hidden fees or clauses.
When marketers fail to fulfil on the customer's reasonable expectations, on the implied cultural/social contract, the customer/market feels violated. Negative brand perception and conversation is the natural if unintended result.
By that same token, when I interact with a brand on Facebook or Twitter, I expect timely, personal and professional conversation and service. I expect the brand representative to know the platform/community social contact and dynamics, and I expect the representative to participate in this spirit. I expect this representative to know the brand policies and procedures, and to be prepared to address them.
The Bottom Line
Fulfilling on the implied social contract will not make you a successful marketer, it's ground zero for successful marketing. Breaking policy and ignoring fine print in order to resolve a customer need doesn't make you successful, it makes you less unsuccessful. Social customer service isn't a differentiate, it's an expectation.
Successful marketing won't be about knowing how to use the platform or the dynamic, but how tell a brand story, move units and create real affinities via these platforms and dynamics. We're past the age where showing up gets you an A. It's time to bring your A game.