Empirical Example of the Power of Social Media for Businesses

By Ava Naves, Principal

 

There’s much debate about the impact of social media on companies’ revenue. However, no case study or research report hits the message home as much as “real life”, empirical examples. Today, I’ll tell you the story of how Bluehost got itself a new customer (and more revenue) through the power of social media, backed by excellent customer service:

Our client, In Order To Succeed, had been having a less-than-stellar time with their current host (HostMDS). During the better part of the last week, it has been a saga where their email service doesn’t work and the site has been down. Their current host is based on the East Coast, and their phone technical support has forgotten that clients in the PST zone may need their help from time to time. That’s why we’re not linking to their site – because it is “out of order”. But I digress.

As their advisor on these matters, we had no choice but to decide to move their site (and email service) to a new host. The question was: which host should we choose? Enter social media.

I immediately turned to my Facebook and Twitter connections to enquire from other knowledgeable individuals:

Screenshot showing my update asking for recommendations for hosts

Over a few hours following that question, I received six replies, through Twitter, with host recommendations from individuals whose opinions I respect. A comparable scenario ensued on my Facebook profile, where I posted an update asking for suggestions.

Following the feedback received through both Twitter and Facebook, I contacted Bluehost, and sure enough, was very impressed by the quality of the support that I received during that initial interaction. One key takeaway here is that none of the glowing recommendations received through Twitter or Facebook would not have amounted to much had my personal experience not reflected what my peers had told me. Customer support was available through a livechat application on the homepage, and a subsequent phone call connected me with a knowledgeable sales representative.

The downside of the story was that one other (local) company I contacted did not have anyone available to answer my questions, even though I called them during regular business hours (PST). Those guys missed on an opportunity to gain me as a client, in spite of a glowing review that was given about them.

What does this represent to Bluehost?

  • An additional US$83.40 in revenue.
  • Numerous positive comments made about their brand on my Facebook profile. Although I only have 158 Facebook friends, many of those are key influencers in Vancouver, who have likely read the recommendations left by others.
  • The enthusiastic testimonials that were left about their service on Twitter and Facebook. They not only reached me, but have been potentially read by Twitter followers and Facebook friends of those who offered feedback. This amounted to an aggregate total of  1,177 people on Twitter and 1,529 Facebook users. Granted, there is some overlap, since some share Facebook and Twitter connections, but you get the picture. The exposure that one single tweet and Facebook profile received grew exponentially.

What could have been improved? If Bluehost had been “on the ball” on Twitter, they would have sent me an @reply inviting me to contact one of their representatives right at that moment.

Not only this illustrates very well the adage that “social media is the new word of mouth”, but it is also empirical evidence the power of social media channels for businesses.

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3 Responses to “Empirical Example of the Power of Social Media for Businesses”

  1. Ava says:

    Louise,

    Thank you very much not only for the compliment, but also for stopping by and checking out the blog post. You bring up two essentials elements by mentioning that:

    – “Open and honest dialogue can lead to great things (or not)…”, and
    – It’s important to build your social media circle with qualified contacts

    The first point alludes to transparency. Without it, social media runs the risk of being nothing more than a corporate mouthpiece, like so many traditional outlets.

    The second point reminds us that engagement is oh-so-important. No man is an island, and no social media presence thrives without surrounding itself with relevant contacts.

    You’ve provided some excellent remarks!

  2. This is an excellent example of the power of social media and how open and honest dialogue can lead to great things (or not so great things for those who are not living up to customer expectations.) The other message here is that it’s important to build your social media circle with qualified contacts within your industry so that when you need an opinion, you get a good cross-section of responses. Nice work as usual!

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