Social Media and Mystery Shopping

If you still think that social media is a fad and you don’t get it, well I think it’s time for you to put your skates on and start getting it.

The statistic provided by Statista, below, gives us information on the most popular networks worldwide as of November 2015, ranked by number of active accounts. 

Market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts. Seventh-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram had over 400 million monthly active accounts. Meanwhile, blogging service Tumblr had more than 230 million active blog users on their site.

Social network usage by consumers is highly diverse: platforms such as Facebook or Google+ are highly focused on exchanges between friends and family and are constantly pushing interaction through features like photo or status sharing and social games. Other social networks like Tumblr or Twitter are all about rapid communication and are aptly termed microblogs. Some social networks focus on community; others highlight and display user-generated content

Katherine Salt, Social Media Expert says: “Businesses can’t afford to stick their heads in the sand and hope that social media won’t affect them.  Facebook and Twitter provide consumers with a platform to express their opinions, good or bad, and just because your business isn’t there doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t happening.  Being present, listening and responding will not only help build relationships with customers but also enhance the perception of your business.”

Word of mouth (WOM) is the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool at your disposal, the value of word-of-mouth is so powerful. Eighty percent of small business customers make their choice on trusted referrals.

During the rise of the electronic era, the concept of word of mouth began to be translated into a new medium, and the idea of “word-of-mouse” began. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of electronic communications, an opinion can spread online rapidly, and numerous forums have enabled the transmission of ideas in an increasing number of ways. Word-of-mouse can be passed along from person-to-person in the form of email, but it can also manifest in a number of other locations. Just like word of mouth, word of mouse is built on a solid reputation, and it must be carefully maintained. Harnessing word of mouth is fundamentally about providing customers with the opportunity to share positive experiences and making the story relatable and relevant to your audience.

About a year ago a client of mine emailed me saying: “One of my staff found this comment on Facebook:  “I love being a mystery shopper, I get paid to moan.” I would like to ensure this is not one of your shoppers.”

Well, you can imagine my frenetic hour looking into that one and making sure that the person in question wasn’t one of my shoppers. I reassured my client that that person wasn’t one of ours, but it did make us think, and since then, not only do we have a very large clause in our contract in regard to social media usage, but also we regularly check the different platforms and before taking on any shoppers we also check how active they are on those types of platforms.

Our relationship with our clients is all about trust and confidentiality, so we ensure we have all the angles covered.  Social Media is now a tool for customers to talk about their satisfaction or dissatisfaction of products or services but also for your clients. They are all becoming Mystery Shoppers in their own right and can instantly give feedback on the service received, therefore you and your clients need to pro-actively engage with them on social media platform, and not shy away from them. The internet is a powerful tool that can create brand conversations and involvement. Harnessing it as a technology based marketing tool is key to combating the negative effects of word-of-mouse. Failing to do so may result in a missed opportunity for creating a competitive advantage.

Blog written by Claire Boscq-Scott - Director MSPA Europe Board

published/dated 12 January 2016

MSPA EA Conference 7-9 June 2022