The amount of information on the Internet is estimated at 4,000 exabytes.* How large is that, you ask? If you stacked books one on top of the other, starting from the surface of the Earth, the amount of information in 4,000 exabytes would take that stack from Earth to Pluto. And back. 80 times over. Yet with all this data to work with, brands still lack the ability to listen to what it’s telling them.

8606332_origAnd it’s telling them a lot. Golden nuggets of feedback, criticism and praise that empower brands to perform random acts of social marketing kindness that makes social media relatable to our offline lives. I’m talking about that moment when someone gets their hotel room upgraded, simply because a social brand ambassador saw a Tweet about them not having a good experience. These little moments of random social kindness become utterly unforgettable, starting off as small gestures but growing into shareable stories because someone reached out with care. Humans share a common trait; we want to feel we matter. And in the eyes of a brand, there is no better way to create loyal customers than to show them that they matter.

For me, a brand that consistently makes me feel like I am a VIP customer is Uber. This incredible ride service not only turned the transportation industry on its side, they surprise and delight me in a different way each time. One of my last great ‘moments’ with them was created by a driver who took me to the airport and upon realizing we were at the wrong terminal – luggage unloaded and ready to drive away – was kind enough to take me to the right terminal, free of charge, and refused a tip.

These sorts of offline experiences are happening even more often online. On the way to my last speaking engagement, I got grounded in Dallas because of a canceled flight. I tweeted American Airlines that my flight was cancelled and within minutes, they tweeted me back asking for my flight number. They then responded in a tweet saying that I was already booked on the next flight and everything had been taken care of. My question was answered with one tweet and one private message to give them my information – an experience worth talking about, especially when surrounded by hundreds of angry passengers and long lines at the customer service desk. Empowered social teams that connect with their customer care teams create positive and sharable experiences. Brilliant!

Key Takeaway: In order for brands to create random acts of social kindness, they need to listen and collect information in order to connect in dialogue. Don’t miss these golden nuggets of feedback, or you’ll miss out on creating new, loyal customers for life.

* Internet estimates from the Cork Institute of Technology