Social media is an industry buzzword that is being shouted from the rooftops by everyone from small business owners to marketing gurus for its inherent ability to give your brand a real connection to your customers. Unfortunately, many brands dipped their toes in social media and experienced very little turnaround for their efforts. It’s easy for a business that focuses on ROI (return on investment) and quarterly returns to abandon any medium that doesn’t have a clear benefit to them. Approving the time and manpower it takes to create the pages and give them an initial push through advertising is one thing, but having ongoing resources being allocated to providing customers with the tools they need to actually connect with your brand? Here are a few reasons why your brand didn’t benefit from social media.
Social Media Shouldn’t Be Automated
Yes, even some of the biggest names in social media do it to some degree; they set their blog or various RSS feeds up to automatically post to their Twitter and Facebook accounts for them. This can be a great time saver, especially for a small operation that doesn’t have the time to dedicate to each and every social media platform. The downside to this tactic is that it kills community engagement. By allowing services like dlvr.it to deliver your engagement for you, you may generate some traffic, but you should expect little in terms of engagement. Over time, this lack of engagement will turn your social following away as they seek out more active communities in which to express their interest.
Social Media Gives You a Chance to Demonstrate Customer Care
Yes, you may care deeply for your customer satisfaction levels. The board, however, wants to see actual numbers and results that measure the amount of satisfaction your customers have with your product and your service. The fact is, social media doesn’t have a measurable ROI, but the tools of measurement are quickly coming and the companies that take advantage of the medium now will have a big advantage over the late bloomers that wait until the medium is considered economically viable.
Social media gives your brand the opportunity to create a direct connection between your company and your customer. This connection is both public and private, allowing other customers to see the limits of your company’s passion for customer service goes. When you take negative feedback in stride and work hard to turn that negative experience into a lasting, positive turnaround, you will impress a lot more than that single squeaky wheel. A proper social media campaign is as ongoing as any other part of your customer service. In fact, social media works best as a part of customer service as opposed to your public relations department. If someone wants to express their dissatisfaction with your brand on Twitter, give them a stunning resolution that is both honest and caring on Twitter just as if they had called your call center and spoken to one of your best representatives.
Social Media is About Building Relationships
The entire point of social media isn’t to replace the billboard. It’s to allow users to connect with one-another and build relationships. Brands that take part in social media would benefit from taking part in this community, rather than standing to the side and shouting about their latest project at the top of their lungs. Imagine if you were a single mother of two in the middle of America. You’ve just posted photos of your trip to the Iowa State Fair and expressed your excitement at what a great time you had. You don’t expect too many people to respond to it. Imagine how you’d respond if a travel agency you follow actually takes the time to respond to your post and ask a question like, “That looks like a blast. Did you try any interesting foods?”
For the vast majority of executives out there, that would appear to be a waste of time on the part of the business. For that mother of two in middle America, it was enough to create a lasting impression that your brand cares enough to look to their customers and find out what they are interested in. A connection is instantly formed, and next time her family goes on vacation, they might just give that agency a call to make their travel arrangements. At the very least, she may be inclined to share the interesting outreach to some of her friends. One single contact with a customer when they least expect it, in a way that doesn’t immediately advertise a brand or service, can win a customer over for life.
If your first delve into the world of social media didn’t have an immediate return, consider giving it another go. This time, try a long-term approach that doesn’t focus on advertising, but on customer care. If your business is large enough to have a dedicated customer care department, consider bringing a member of that team over to the project and dedicate them to handling customer issues as they spring up on Twitter or Facebook. The ROI of social media doesn’t exist in any concrete or provable form on paper, but it does exist. In fact, it will soon be the medium at which your customers will go to first, instead of calling your contact center.