In Socialnomics, a book written about the business side of using social media by Erik Qualman, I have learned some surprising statistics and that I’m pretty wrong about the statistics I thought I knew.

Social media is a powerful tool in today’s society. It connects everyone and it is where half of the users get their news (Anderson & Caumont). If they get their news there, you can imagine how much time they spend on social media. It is such an easy tool for companies to use to market to and interact with customers, however “70 percent of big company CEOs have no presence on social media” (Qualman). What an opportunity missed.

Studies show that “63 percent of business to consumer marketers found social media helped them develop loyal fans” (Qualman). What’s better than creating a loyal fan base for free? Nothing. The real question is, once companies get this loyal fan base because of social media, are they using social media to keep them loyal?

In his book, Qualman points out that so many companies focus on acquiring new customers and forget to reward their existing ones. But, why? One study found, “the cost to acquire a new customer is six to seven time higher than to maintain a new one” (Qualman). So, why would companies put so much effort into bringing in new customers and so little effort into rewarding their new ones?

I took it upon myself to do a little research based on a story that a professor told me about last semester. Long story short, she found a bug in her food at Taco Bell, called customer service, told she would be called back in two-three days and never was. She took the problem to Twitter, posting the picture for the world to see, and Taco Bell immediately responded. Public embarrassment clearly goes a longer way than a private phone call with a Taco Bell representative.

After reading this chapter, I decided to see if Taco Bell’s response to positive tweets was as on-point as it was to negative ones. Secretly, I was hoping it wasn’t, just so I could have something in line with Qualman’s book to write about, but surprisingly it was. They have a very active Twitter presence and respond to almost every customer. Whether the tweets are good or bad. They can be sarcastic with customers, serious, or goofy. Their personality really shines on their Twitter account, making them transparent and a respectable company.

Some other companies that are active on Twitter and respond to their positive and negative customer tweets are Chick-fil-a and Sonic Drive-In. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these three restaurants are multi-million fast food chains. Everyone knows Taco Bell, Chick-fil-a, and Sonic. Everyone knows the brand: what food they serve, their logo, what their colors are, everything about them. This alone proves that social media is a powerful way to please your customers. If you can be active on social media, you’ll have a great relationship with customers and a greater retention rate.

While acquiring new customers is important, you can let your loyal customers do that for you. If you have a great relationship with existing customers, others will see that via social media and want to try out your product as well. Personally, I think it says a lot when a company has a powerful presence on social media and majority of the companies I shop at are based on customer service.