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Most companies today are tapped into the digital grapevine and doing some kind of social media monitoring, listening and direct interaction. But sometimes companies face challenges when determining what they should put out there, and how they should react to consumer-generated content.

Figuring out the right voice and time to join the conversation is critical to the customer relationship. Social media PR disasters are just a tweet away, and can be caused by inattention, poor service, or a failure to understand the target market.

An insight community can help you avert that kind of disaster. For those times when you're not sure if your social media push is a good idea, if an issue is something you should address, or are unsure how you should respond in a certain situation, your community is a great resource for determining a response strategy.

Whether you, your employees, or consumers start the conversation, your insight community can help you strike the right note in social media, But it can only help if you ask before you act or respond. Here are four social media strategy questions your insight community can help you answer:

  1. Is your tweet flat out inappropriate or will consumers get your humor? Hindsight is 20/20, so the idea of promoting a "Sandy Sale" during one of the worst US weather disasters in recent memory probably sounds like a bad idea now. But some companies decided it was a good idea at the time. It would have taken only a few hours to check with consumers in an insight community about whether they thought the same or not.
  2. Is your digital campaign going to win you customers or upset your core? This example is an oldie but goodie: Motrin posted a YouTube ad suggesting that carrying babies in slings is a painful new fad that might require pain medication. Unhappy moms tweeted, made their own YouTube responses, and bloggers soon followed. Although Motrin eventually removed the ad and apologized, the company could have avoided the whole headache if they'd tested the ad with consumers first.
  3. How should we respond to or avert our employees' social media mis-steps? If your employees decide to do something on their own because they think it's hilarious or they are upset about something, how should you respond? What would you do if your staff posted inappropriate photos? Classic examples include Domino's Pizza staff adding "extra ingredients" to pizza, or an Applebees employee posting a receipt from a Pastor who wrote "I give 10% to God so why do you get 18%?" Your trusted advisors in an insight community would get you sorted out in no time.
  4. If your consumers start a conversation on their own, when and how should you join? What if you launch a new product and people start ripping it apart on social media? How do you respond? Well, you could have done more consumer testing in the first place, but checking in with your insight community would help you refine your response options once the complaints are already public.

When it comes to determining your social media strategy, the direct customer link through your insight community will get you real-time insights so you can determine the best voice for your company in hours, not days.

If you have more ideas how you can work with an insight community to determine your social media voice, or have some examples, please share them!

How to Use an Insight Community to Improve Customer Experience

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Ellie Hutton

Ellie is passionate about our customers' experience, shining a spotlight on the success of our customers, and bringing the voice of the customer to our business. She’s been with Vision Critical since 2006, in research, marketing, sales enablement, customer success and CX teams. Ellie has over 20 years of experience in research and marketing, partnering with companies across many verticals to build brands, develop products, retain customers, evaluate communications, develop strategy, and facilitate change.
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