Do you run your business in vacuum? Probably not. Unless of course, you don’t like generating revenue.
As founder of a solar lead generation company, my customers are solar installation companies. And one of their biggest un-addressed issue: how do THEIR customers feel about them.
Prior to the days of internet where much of people’s conversations are not recorded (thus cannot be tracked), you pretty much had to guess.
Sure you can take surveys but if those results are skewed. Think about it, if a company you really hated sent you a survey, would you fill it out? Some of you might, but the rest of the people will just trash it.
Of course, that means determining how people feel about your company is pretty much a guess work. You can sort of guess from your quarterly sales report but then again, it’s still a shot in the dark.
With advent of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, people will pretty much blast your company if they feel that they’ve been wronged… or have had awesome customer service.
(But let me make a clear point that social media marketing is not a form of lead generation / new customer acquisition, but rather lead nurturing and referral acquisition.)
But you’re busy and don’t have time to respond to every Facebook status update about your company.. or every Tweet… but answer yourself this question: don’t you already answer pretty much all emails that come your way anyway?
Ok fine, you’re busy. So what exactly can you use?
The same thing you use to find information everyday: Google autocomplete.
This is probably one of the more useful things about you.
Ever go to google.com and it tries to “guess” what you are typing?
The thing is, Google doesn’t really KNOW what you’re trying to type. But it does know what OTHER people are typing and tries to guess from search queries submitted by billions of people.
In another words, they’re collecting information about what people are looking for with respect to that company, product, service, news, trend, etc. So yes, Google/Bing/search engines really are social media tools.
There are several solar companies (who I won’t mention) that have huge “red marks”, so to speak, because of their rather unscrupulous practices. When you type their company name into the search box, the search box autocomplete will fill in “complaints” … “scams”.
If this happens to your company, what does this mean?
It could mean that the person doing the search got burned and is wanting to know who else got burned, what did the others do, who blogged/tweeted about it, etc.
It could mean that the person doing the search is doing due diligence on your company before he/she decides to go with your solar service/product.
In either case, you want to make sure that whatever Google shows is not something that’s going to ding your company in the mind of the searcher.
(And on the flipside, you can even find out what keywords your competitors are targeting to drive traffic and customers to THEIR website. I know, sneaky.)
TaeWoo Kim is founder & president of Solar One Media, a solar lead generation company that helps solar (PV) sales & installation companies acquire customers online.