In today’s hyperconnected sharing culture, social media is an inescapable and essential channel for your brand. How you interact with customers on social is crucial to providing a relevant and meaningful customer experience. But be prepared… your efforts need to be well thought through. Social media offers all the promise of direct access to consumers, but to truly succeed, you must put customers first at every touchpoint in their journey. Your brand needs to become customer-obsessed – listen, observe, learn then engage and provide a relevant and valuable solution when needed.
What does that look like in real-life?
1. Awareness: Increasing Your Social Presence
The first stage in your customer’s journey is becoming aware of your brand and considering it as an option. According to GlobalWebIndex, 37% of internet users turn to social networks to carry out research on brands or products , so make sure you are easily discoverable on social media and approachable both on- and offline. Your profile should provide all the relevant details your customers will be looking for. At the very least, start with the basics of a link to your website, opening hours and contact details.
Know what makes them tick and understand where and how they engage on social. Take advantage of social features to amplify your content such as Facebook and Instagram live streaming, live tweeting Q&A’s and social events.
One opportunity for organisations to get noticed by their target audience is to tie in relevant industry moments or events. For example, Nokia used its participation at Mobile World Congress 2016 to become the event’s number one social media influencer. They created a Facebook event for the CEO’s keynote, tweeted throughout the conference to keep the conversation alive and executed three Facebook livestreams to allow customers to go behind the scenes. This helped Nokia to achieve seven million new Twitter followers, proving the power of different social features to build your audience. You can reach not only people who are familiar with your brand, but also attract new customers interested in specific solutions.
2. Evaluation: Take Advantage Of Insight
Evaluation is crucial to improving the customer journey. You need to understand how to utilise the data you’ve gained to comprehend what is or isn’t working on social media. Social media is a source of deep insight into the changing behaviours of consumers.
Monitoring a variety of themes to help you track specific conversations is a great way to listen to what your audience is saying and cares about. This will equip you with insights that can be fed across your organisation, including: marcomms (i.e. content and campaign strategies), product and service development and customer care.
As an example, answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%. Five Guys tracks a variety of different hashtags through Twitter to allow them to stay ahead of the social conversation. This puts them in a strong position to react quickly – not only to negative consumer experiences – but also to individuals who are trying them out for the first time. As you can see in their Tweets and Replies feed, they respond to complaints by sending customers easy to fill feedback forms for the nearest branch to correct problems.
3, Integration: Creating A Social Customer Experience Culture
Providing a consistent customer experience is key to ensuring people continue to interact with your brand. To do this, you need to establish a clear social message and conversation between all departments and leverage your entire workforce to tell your story on social.
When it came to creating a buzz around its social media content, Oslo and Akershus University College encouraged staff and students to share its social media content on their personal networks. Content on alumni stories, student life, lab work and vacant positions was curated and shared by the university to further connect with students and prospective staff. The university has empowered its staff and students, enabling them to easily advocate on behalf of the university and share pre-approved, on-brand messaging. This resulted in 2% increase in conversion rate on student recruitment.
4. Engagement: Localise Content
There are several ways to boost your customer engagement. According to Forrester, 73% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. A strategic way of getting your customers to feel that you value their time is by creating micro-communities. If you’re a larger organisation, you can scale your audiences by forming dedicated social accounts for different niches, interests, products and regions. Creating localised content and targeted information helps your business cut through the noise and increase engagement across the customer journey.
Leading hotel operator AccorHotels realised that tailored social media outreach was crucial to engaging guests across the globe. Hotel managers use social tools to personalise and distribute branded content for local channels, cutting out the process of getting content approved by head office. AccorHotels has consequently doubled its social media reach across its hotels by training managers to post localised content.
5. Advocacy: The Power Of The Human Touch
The final part of the customer journey is turning your customers into brand advocates to start ‘spreading the word’. The biggest untapped tool to creating advocacy is building an emotional connection with your consumers. Avoid coming across as a corporate robot. Allow people to see the humanity and personality in your brand and engage in meaningful conversations your customers will find valuable. Develop relevant content that goes way beyond product promotion (spoiler alert: anything more than 20% of this is probably too much) – show your customers what your brand stands for, your vision your values they can connect with.
The British Museum encourages its employees (see video below) to be the face of the museum, inspiring them to interact with museum visitors. This process has humanised the museum and enabled visitors to interact with the experts directly about historical events and artefacts. This has expanded the customer experience beyond their walls by creating millions of conversations relevant to the museum and its visitors.
Social media is not a one size fits all strategy. Take the time to research, listen and understand who the right consumers for your organisation are. Adjust to their needs, and ensure your audience receives a consistent, meaningful and personalised experience whenever possible.