There’s a low rumble under social media marketing – and it’s beginning to reach the delicate ears of marketers who have been punting social media as the promised land of abundant return.
What is true is that social media cannot be ignored. It is a powerful arm of advertising with global potential that can connect directly with customers and build brand awareness. But it can also be likened to a game of chess; it is one thing to have the players on the board, it’s another to make the right moves.
The power of response in social media
Social media can be used to build brand image, market products and resolve issues – but if a company thinks that regular smiley posts and product-specific content are going to create interest and therefore sales, they are essentially wrong. Social media brings two aspects to the table for marketers, customer engagement and company response. Neither will create good customer relations unless the game is played right.
Response is your truly golden opportunity to connect. It is your moment to shine, to surprise, show empathy, charm and to control the conversation. If you know how to do this – and do it continually to high standard – you have the key to making social media work for your company.
Your response is the opportunity to create brand ambassadors through the unexpected or the beneficial, or simply just feel-good engagement. Any of this can take your post viral and drive your brand into the spotlight. And social media is more about spotlighting your brand than creating a frenzied rush for the counter. The relationship is always between your brand and the customer’s image of that brand.
The power of opportunity in social media
For creativity, the story of the Ritz-Carlton hotel is worth noting. They seized an opportunity to surprise a guest who had left his son’s stuffed giraffe behind after a stay in the hotel. The guest called to ask if they could find it for him, and explained that he had told his son that ‘Joshie’ was on an extended vacation. When the hotel staff found Joshie, they took photos of it “enjoying its stay” in different areas of the hotel. It was a brilliant way to surprise, have fun and help a client. The perfect storm. The story found its way onto Facebook, getting thousands of shares – and positive buzz for the hotel. That’s when social media marketing is actually working its magic.
There’s no doubt that social media can have a tremendous effect as a marketing/advertising conduit, but in reality, only a small percentage actually hit the right note and the viral button. A larger percentage may certainly achieve more awareness for their campaigns – but a vast amount of advertising on the internet can largely go unnoticed.
Capturing your customers’ attention is a complex strategy, and sometimes the only time they’ll respond will be to complain. Your opportunity will lie in how you respond. Just as you need to be clever and innovative in seeking to build the connection and relationship via social media marketing in the first place, so too do you have to handle complaints; the trick is to learn how to creatively mollify and charm the potential neutron bomb of an annoyed client. Unfortunately, as useful as social media may be through warm and fuzzy, it can be lethal if you don’t respond quickly with the right words and actions.
The power of damage through social media
Marketing and building relationships through social media means you have to think on your feet. There is nothing routine or repetitive about social media. It’s a seething, ever-moving train of opinions, feelings and fleeting attention. However, never assume it doesn’t require your full attention.
When problems arise that are aired publically, things can slip out of control in a matter of minutes and cause damage to your brand unless handled with emotional intelligence and alacrity. The recent Ford ‘burning car’ debacle is a case in point.
While promoting content and sharing company updates through social media sites should form part of any business’s marketing strategy, you also need a team primed and ready for setbacks, trained to react as quickly as an emergency bomb squad. For some obscure reason, some companies ignore complaints on social media – or generally miss them. Perhaps they think responding is more risky than just letting things die down? After all, why attract attention to a fault?
But customers expect personal communication, they have high expectations of customer service. Don’t ignore, don’t quick-fix; get into the customer’s perspective and use all the tools mentioned above. And if you handle it well, you have turned a problem into a plus.
The power of customer service through social media
Social media marketing is relationship-building based on strategy, vigilance, continuity and speed – but also dialogue. Only 36% of consumers who have queried issues via social media report having their issue resolved quickly and effectively. And that’s not good enough. So how do we deliver effective customer service through social media?
- By separating our marketing and customer service-related communications.
- Recognising that social media is not a “one size fits all” solution for all problems, and speedy resolution isn’t always possible through this medium alone.
- Knowing when to get the problem off social media and into another space as soon as possible.
- Using social media to deliver consistent cross-channel customer support experiences.
- Providing proactive – not reactive – customer care to prevent PR disasters.
- Driving a dedicated support team to increase overall customer satisfaction – and response!
The power of making it work
At AMcomms we believe social media marketing is a vital but mercurial medium that requires a different approach to mainstream marketing. What works for a campaign as a whole, may need fresh insight on social media. That’s why our CAN-DO approach treats every job as unique, needing focus, ingenuity and energy to achieve the best results.
We like to give ‘every angle’ a chance before making decisions. And that’s the way we see social media – an infinity of angles. We just like to choose the right one. If the vision is right, the strategy well planned – then we CAN definitely DO it.
Please visit us at: www.thecandocompany.co.za