What is a ‘Total Social Media Care’ philosophy? Why can it be more effective than social media marketing? And how can you implement the philosophy at your organisation?
I’ve been reading an increasing amount of ‘industry commentary’ about the value of getting back to marketing basics… focus on a decent product and great customer service.
Sounds sensible, right?
It got me thinking about the opportunity for a change of philosophy in how brands use social media to be more memorable.
I’ll tee this post up with three considerations:
- The importance of social media customer service.
- The challenges of traditional social media marketing techniques.
- The idea that personal interactions are the most valuable.
1. The importance of social media customer service
A Conversocial report from earlier this year references the continued importance of social customer care for retaining customers.
This certainly isn’t new news, but illustrates the rise in expectations people have...
- Expectations are on the rise. Consumer expectations for service via digital channels only continues to increase. A staggering 81% of respondents indicated that their expectations for digital customer service are higher today than they were a year ago.
- Brand engagement leads to brand loyalty. The churn rate for brands which poorly service their digital customers is higher than that of brands that take the time and effort to engage. 57% of respondents indicated that they would stop doing business with a brand due to a poor digital customer service experience.
And to be fair I’d say the majority of brands have taken big strides to establish an (at least competent) social customer service function.
2. The challenges of traditional social media marketing techniques
The social networks on which brands market themselves continue to become more fragmented and nuanced, with emerging contents formats and rapidly evolving advertising options. All of which need to be evaluated on their own merits and tracked to understand the impact they’re having, which can be tough.
In addition, the fact that so many brands have embraced the concept of ‘content marketing’ means that for most topics you can usually find some decent content out there. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to carve out a niche or add value, but the benchmark continues to rise if you want to stand out.
3. The idea that personal interactions are the most valuable
One of social media’s enormous strengths is the ability for brands to directly engage with people who aren’t customers, at scale. These interactions, which can also be used to demonstrate traits like empathy and humour, can arguably be more impactful on future purchase behaviour/loyalty than being exposed to (even lots of amazingly creative) content in your news feed.
What is a ‘Total Social Media Care’ philosophy?
Ultimately it’s about brands diverting the majority of ‘social media time and resource’ away from publishing and promoting content, to delivering truly kick-ass audience engagement. So we’re talking about:
- Classic social customer service, but going beyond the ‘hygiene factors’ of speed and accuracy to proactively add as much value as possible to every interaction.
- Taking the opportunity to try and inspire, entertain or help everyone engaging with your page… they might not be asking a question, but using every opportunity to try and be memorable.
- Social listening that ensures you’re looking at not just mentions of your brand, but also products, hashtags, people… anything that indicates you’re in the mind of the consumer.
- Mentions of competitors where there’s an opportunity to be helpful and perhaps make a cheeky customer acquisition (like this Sky example).
- People mentioning the category of product or service you provide… if they’re actively looking for help or complaining then great… but again it’s about taking every opportunity to be memorable on a one-to-one basis (in a good way of course!)
I’m not advocating a Wetherspoons’ style retreat from publishing on social media, but instead becoming extremely selective in what you post. And indeed you’ll still want to deploy a good chunk of carefully directed media spend against that.
Quite simply that your prospects and existing customers have positively memorable experiences with your ‘audience engagement’ team.
What it requires
While this certainly means more than shifting a few extra people into the customer service team, it’s an approach that organisations can transition to over time.
Here’s what I think are the key requirements:
- The right technology solution; one that’s super-slick and enables comments from all over the web to be pulled in
- A crack team of social media agents customer engagement rock stars; these people need to have a blend of marketing nouse plus the traits of a skilled contact centre agent
- The right processes and rules to triage incoming messages… if I’ve got a really irritating product problem just fix it, don’t get all fluffy on me
- A newsroom style setup to ensure the team is abreast of what’s happening across your business and the world… what was an amusing tweet 10 minutes ago might now be insensitive due to something that’s just happened (reference Tesco’s hit the hay tweet)
- Strategic ambition, patience and commitment. Like any transformation, a reputation for being A-MAZING at this stuff isn’t going to happen over night.
- Actively advocate the ‘ultimate social media care’ approach to the entire organisation – everybody needs to be bought into this new normal!
Now, you just need that great product to back it up…
Is your organisation already starting to behave like this? Can you redirect budget from promoting content to this approach, and if not what is limiting you?