According to the infographic by MyLife, social media is changing the world beyond simple socialization. For instance, people are using social media to learn about breaking news, discuss educational topics, and find jobs. This surge in activity across different areas has created a new industry in itself, which has provided thousands of jobs in addition to new income and sales. In fact, it is estimated that social media could add between $900 billion to $1.3 trillion to the economy through the improved customer service and added productivity that it provides.
The opportunities associated with social media, coupled with the evolving social expectations of customers, are encouraging companies to focus on boosting their social media strategies. First and foremost, companies need to focus on using social media as a platform to enable conversations with customers. This will help companies both build customer engagement and drive customer loyalty. In the Customer Strategist article, "4 Imperatives for Creating Social Dialogue," TeleTech’s CMO Mark Grindeland proposes four action items for organizations looking to evolve their social strategies into customer conversation and feedback channels:
- Designate senior-level employees to manage social. This person should have the ability to foster teamwork and the expertise to work cross-functionally. They should also have experience working with social tools and understand how to represent the brand in the dynamic social world.
- Use social yourself. A study from Socialcast reveals that 50 percent of executives use social media regularly. While this percentage is promising, it is not nearly where it should be. In order to fully understand social media platforms and how customers are interacting with brands through these platforms, executives should be leveraging this medium on their own. Once executives are more comfortable with the social media platforms themselves, they will be better prepared to integrate the channel into their business appropriately.
- Don’t let legal drive the social strategy. Often times, legal departments will instill restrictive policies on social media or find some other way to say “no” to social interactions. So, instead of putting the future of your social strategy solely in the hands of legal, customer-facing departments should partner with legal to develop a plan that addresses the needs of all stakeholders. This partnership can enable companies to actively engage with customers while ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential.
- Hire experts to help. There is a steep learning curve associated with social communications. Partnering with a creative agency or strategy firm can help companies rapidly develop their social customer engagement strategies. Begin by asking your partner company to help assess your strategy and work with you on developing the customer experience roadmap. Then, have the company help you establish the appropriate metrics to measure the effectiveness of the social strategy for your organization.
Social media strategy can’t be treated as an afterthought. Otherwise, the companies that hesitate to engage in social conversations with their customers will be left in the dust as those that are actively communicating with their customers will accelerate ahead of the competition.
This infographic was created by MyLife, and this article summarizes some of its contents. The original infographic is here.