What Does Social Media Mean to You?

Worldwide, there are now over 1 billion users of social media . Plus with over a quarter of all adults and half of all teens (Ofcom) owning a smartphone, access to social media sites has never been easier.

So with all those users out there, how do you, as a company owner, view social media?

Do you still see it as a fad (albeit a very popular one), or have you embraced it as part of your marketing and customer service strategy?

The two sides of social media for business

Did you see what I did there?

I asked whether social media was part of your marketing and customer service strategy.

Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are 2 way conversations – you can offer advice and offers to your customers/followers and they can make comments and ask questions of you.

But, according to a recent article in The Drum, 70% of complaints made by customers on social media are ignored because many companies still view it as a purely marketing tool rather than a direct link for customer support.

Big mistake.

The research by A.T. Kearney’s annual social media survey found that between 5% and 20% of all complaints to many organisations are made through social media.

Of course, unlike traditional letter or phone complaints, those made using social media are visible to the world. Other customers can sit back and watch how you deal with a situation, giving them a good idea of what type of company you are and how seriously you take customer gripes.

Benefits of social media as a customer service tool

It’s fast.

It’s personal.

It can be used to offer help and advice to those who aren’t customers yet.

What more do I need to say?

Plus, because everything you write (unless it’s a DM through Twitter) is visible to your other followers, you can show yourself off as a company that puts its customers first and is willing to go that extra mile for them.

Brownie points all round.

Basically, using social media as a customer service tool will have a massive reputational impact on your business (sadly, that also means if you get it wrong it will have a negative impact too).

So make sure those in charge of your social media accounts understand your social media policy, monitor them regularly and respond quickly.

Jim Close, Managing Director or Datapoint sums it up:

“Social media tools are for two-way dialogue with customers as well as a (mostly) one-way marketing channel. They differ from more traditional media because often the interaction is globally-visible and there is potential for massive reputational impact. The organisation  that learn this lesson the fastest – and use contact centre systems to do this effectively – will be the ones that win the customer retention race.”

Sally Ormond – Copywriter

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Derek on 06.06.12 at 9:48 pm

Good points. I think the customer service side is more important to focus on, and, in turn, that will take care of most of the marketing side. It’s much more powerful for your fans/followers to spread your message than it is for you to do it yourself.

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