In the mid-2000s, some PR pros had the luxury of getting clients to dip their toes into social media – an arena where they truly got “credit for playing,” at least for awhile. Those days are gone. We've reached a point where we're fending off complaints when clients aren't actively participating on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, or the other myriad social spaces.
What's still around, however, is the “OMG!” moment. This isn't a new development – most of us are familiar with the “aha” moment or concept behind the tipping point (thanks, Malcolm Gladwell) – it's just one that can be specifically tied to digital efforts. It's also one that, perhaps for the first time, can actually be marked to a specific moment in time, thanks to the aforementioned digital sandbox we're playing in.
Why is this “new” to us? If you think about how ads work, or how a message in a newspaper article might settle in, it's not necessarily “trackable” to a specific moment. Sure, you might see an ad during the Super Bowl that nails what a brand wants to say, but that's not always the case – hence repetition in that marketing sector. You might see an article discussing a company you were interested in investing in, but you might not do so until your favorite tech editor writes about it or the story hits the nightly news. The moments exist, but we can't necessarily see or quantify them all the time.
At its core, this is the “big bang” point when you've made a customer, prospect, or other constituent happy, which caused them to act based on your activity or was noticed by others for an activity. To achieve the OMG! moment It might be as simple as a company retweeting a comment made about its products or services, sending a tweet, or posting a comment about someone's experience, or actively building a conversation.
We're all expected to pay attention to these discussions, but taking the dialogue to the next step is what's cultivating these moments. It's about stepping away from the customer satisfaction ideal and moving beyond to audience satisfaction, such that lovers, haters, and strangers to the company are satisfied with their interaction.
Right now, it is probably easier to achieve this by listening. During a recent press event for Google Buzz (google.com/buzz), product manager Todd Jackson said the following when asked about the product's development and the company's competition: “In general, we try not to pay too much attention to competitors. We try to listen to users.”
The takeaway is simple. Listen to what users, fans, friends (or detractors) say about your products, services, executives – and respond in a meaningful way via the corresponding channel.
Tom Biro is a VP at Allison & Partners, based in Seattle. His column focuses on how digital media affects and shifts PR. He can be reached at email@example.com.