By Jamal Starr, CEO, Starr & Associates
The rise of social media has drastically shifted the way brands and entrepreneurs interact with loyal followers and consumers. Companies are no longer limited to outdated methods of communication, and instead, have adapted to social media to enhance customer relations while building better reputations for themselves. Understanding how customer-led innovation in the social media age has changed the way business is being conducted is key to finding success in any market or industry today.
The Shift To Customer-Led Innovation
While customer service phone lines and email addresses are still used by millions each day, the advent of social media has made it easier (and more efficient) than ever to learn about a customer's wants and needs with less wait time. Having the ability to obtain constant feedback with the use of social media provides leverage when seeking new ideas and opportunities to grow in sales and customer retention.
Customers are no longer waiting to hear back from companies after submitting support tickets or calling businesses directly, only to leave a voicemail. Instead, social media has allowed individuals to quickly voice complaints or request service, which has put the pressure on companies to get back as soon as possible (for fear of public humiliation or disgust). While social media has a tendency to increase the instant gratification trend, it is also a way for businesses to truly connect with consumers and those who follow their brands' loyally. By allowing readers and shoppers new methods of communication, it is much easier to see the "bigger" picture when developing new strategies for promotion and product creation.
Design Thinking and Business Operations
Design plays a major role in the ability to showcase a brand while building on its success, especially in an age where technology is quick to deliver products, services, and information on a whim. Utilizing design thinking to cultivate new strategies for any type of company is not only appealing but becoming more valuable and necessary as social media continues to expand.
Design thinking is more than simply creating clever packaging or modern and appealing websites. Instead, it requires entrepreneurs to think outside of the box while getting more innovative themselves. Learn what works for businesses in the same industry as your company, how consumers respond, and what appeals to shoppers most with top brands of today (from Apple and Amazon to Nike and Google). While these companies do express themselves with modern design, they also focus on user experience and how their brand is able to add value and use to those who are using the products or services they have to offer.
By combining an understanding of design thinking with social media, tap into the minds of those who have a genuine interest in your company. Broaden your view of your customer's needs and deliver what is wanted while showcasing a true understanding of design and innovation.