How I Went From Netflix’s Biggest Fan to its Worst Critic: Lessons for Your Social Media Strategy

By now, fellow marketers, you’ve undoubtedly picked up your fair share of knowledge about social media strategies and how they relate to you and your business. You’ve at least dabbled in Twitter, set up a company blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profi

le and YouTube channel. You’re using Google Alerts and Social Mention alerts to keep track on what people are saying about your brand, your products, and your competitors.

So I know that you’ll understand where I’m coming from when I say that Netflix has broken not one, but two of the fundamental rules of social media marketing.

You lost me at, “We’re increasing our prices”

For those of you who haven’t yet heard, Netflix has decided to change its pricing plans. Instead of offering a combined streaming and one-DVD-a-month plan for $9.99, there will be a choice of two different plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, one out-at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that a business must sometimes increase its prices to survive and grow. My problem is with the way in which they suddenly dumped the news on their customers and apparently don’t care whether they like it or not.

If you’ve checked out Netflix’s Facebook page or Twitter mentions, you’ll have seen the mountain of negative comments about the hikes. The Netflix blog post announcing the price increases currently has 5,000 comments – most of them from decidedly aggravated customers. And, the most striking thing? Netflix is not responding.

As social media connoisseurs, you’ll know that this is a big faux pas.

The 2 fundamental rules of social media marketing

1. Listen
Find out what people are saying about you. Learn from your fans what you are doing right and your critics what you are doing wrong. Make amends when necessary and be sure to convey to your customers that you have done so using the appropriate avenues.

2. Engage
Listening and not engaging is like talking the talk but not walking the walk. Communicate with those who open up to you. Make them feel important and that they matter. Because, after all, isn’t that what we all want to feel deep down?

Netflix, you should know better. Shame on you.

PS. The next #industrialmarketing tweetchat is tomorrow, Friday 14 Jul 2011 at 4pm EST. Join me.

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