Social Media Survival: Albatross or Condor?


This is a condor nest of eggs.Image Credit: GrrlScientist via Creative Commons

Why am I comparing social media strategy to birds?

Because the Condors, while still not out of the evolutionary woods, have a dedicated team of people who are nurturing their very existence. It’s not easy, but they understand their goal (keeping the species around) and understand there will be pitfalls and hiccups along the way. 

The California Condor, in 1987, was on the verge of extinction. Only 9 remained in the wild. A group of dedicated conservationists and scientists decided to capture those 9 birds and create a captive breeding program to bring them back. They are still around today, though struggling in the wild, but protected and nurtured by a group that cares about them and the impact they have.

The Albatross, on the other hand, is now extinct from the North Atlantic region. It was the stuff of legends. Woodcarvings appear from the 1800′s and fossils remain in the North Atlantic. Stories were told by sailors who witnessed their incredible wingspan and soaring abilities.

Yet they’re gone.

This is something to consider when reviewing your own social media strategy. Is it something that is thoughtfully planned out, with a well-understood and communicated goal, and people there willing to nurture it through those vital early times? Or are you expecting it to work simply because you’ve witnessed its power elsewhere?

Social media is here to stay.

It should be monitored and isn’t a topic we can beat to death much more than we have in the blogosphere. So I’ll spare you the details.

Just take a quick look at what your company is doing with social media.

  • Who’s in charge?
  • What’s the goal?
  • How are you tracking your success?
  • How are you nurturing the program?

Maybe right now you have a struggling Facebook fan page or a very quiet Twitter stream. It doesn’t mean it’s dead. It means it needs you or another leader to help it move along.

Consider these facts to help inspire you to preserve the species:

  • Increasing social activity online can result in up to 25% increase in revenue (source: MSI).
  • According to Hubspot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Research Report, 70% of B2C companies have gained customers through their Facebook page and 50% of tech companies have acquired customers through Twitter
  • A recent report from BI Intelligence states that maintaining a strong social presence can double online conversion rates

But people don’t want to deal with something they already consider extinct. Show them you’re pumping some life into the conversation. Give them a reason to care.

The environment is changing.

Customers now expect you to be in the social media space, listening to their needs, addressing their questions, and basically participating in the greater conversation. In fact, 25% of customers who post product complaints on Facebook and Twitter expect a response within one hour. And according to research by Forrester, 45% of U.S. customers will not a complete an online transaction if their questions are not answered quickly.  

Simply put, if you’re NOT there, (or viewed as an Albatross) it will say WAY more about your company than if you’re there showing you care enough to nurture those relationships and ultimately your social media strategy.

What are some ways you’re nurturing your social media strategy?

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator and founder of 360Connext, a global customer experience consulting firm. As the mom of two young sons, you can find her at tee-ball games or stepping on Legos. Tweet her at @jeanniecw.