We often think of social media as a marketing tool. This has an obvious reason: Social networks are fertile ground for a brand to connect with its audience, hear opinions, promote creative content, start conversations and generate a sense of community with its customers.
In other words, social media campaigns are excellent additives to any brand’s marketing strategy.
By now, we already know this is just one of the benefits social channels can bring to a brand. In this series of Rock Content’s articles in partnership with Hootsuite, we saw social media can directly help the sales team and be used to promote a shopping experience, as much as its KPIs can be passed on to other departments in the company.
These channels are important touchpoints for talking to your customers. So how does this end up influencing a brand’s customer service and, even further, its customer success?
According to Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2022, 59% of survey respondents agree that social customer care has increased in value for their companies over the past 12 months.
Businesses are beginning to see social media also as a customer service channel, and the motivation behind that is simple: people are looking for these channels to talk to companies. Whether to seek information, buy, or solve problems, they expect a response as fast, complete, and helpful as any other official brand’s communication channel.
Data has shown that 64% of people prefer to message rather than call a business. According to Gartner, 60% of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels by 2023.
Having great customer service and a well-performing customer success department in your company is vital for business. Online presence, solving problems fast and accessibility of product information are key to keeping customers happy and building trust.
The customer wants issues solved easily and quickly
Classic situation: you have a problem with your internet and you dial your service provider. Then, you input your account information and wait for the attendant to talk to you.
Sometimes, you have to wait on hold for many minutes or hours. Then someone answers you. You explain your problem. This person asks you to go through several basic troubleshooting steps that you already tried. Then, they transfer you.
You wait some more. You talk to another attendant. You have to explain again what your problem is. And then this person can’t always help you and needs to transfer you to another support tier or supervisor. And so on.
With the power of the internet, people know their problems can damage the reputation of a company if shared on social channels by lots of people.
Of course, as a company, you want to give the best service to your customers. But in social channels, if some issue goes viral, even people that never contacted they might avoid making deals with you or stop working with you because of other customers’ problems.
That’s why making the relationship between marketing and customer success closer is so important in the social media era. Marketing knows how to monitor social services, and customer success knows how to solve clients’ problems. It’s important to give a solution to your customers on any channel where they contact you.
This alignment can help create closer relationships with your customers and helps avoid having an image crisis due to a lack of monitoring social mentions.
Of course, the number of social messages received varies between companies. A B2C online retailer, for example, is going to receive a lot more requests and will have to build faster and more robust processes to get solutions to customers.
But even B2B companies like Rock Content, with most of their requests coming from more traditional sources, have to monitor their social media accounts and build processes to integrate better marketing and customer success.
And of course, this is a challenge. Despite the rise in demand, Hootsuite’s report shows that 71% of organizations have either not started investing in social customer care yet, or they don’t plan to invest at all.
Here at Rock Content, our marketing and customer success teams are attempting to build a more holistic understanding of customers and promote successful partnerships on a broader scale. Here are a few tips based on what we’ve learned so far.
1. Marketers should work with CSM teams to view their campaigns from a Customer Success perspective
Social media is the opportunity to improve the customer’s work experience as they are scrolling. It is worth highlighting: When marketers make strategies, they are not just promoting messages and content to attract new customers, but also to maintain the current ones.
We can think, for example, of a huge traditional brand: Coca-Cola. It’s difficult to find someone that doesn’t know what Coca-Cola is, but the company continues to advertise itself. Why? To maintain its position. In social media, we have another ingredient: interactivity. Anyone can talk about and contact you anytime.
As Christoph Neut, vice president of sales at Sparkcentral (Hootsuite) said in the Social Trends 2022 report: “When you bundle social marketing and social care, you’re actually covering the core outcomes that have a huge impact on customers’ buying experience and your company’s bottom line. That’s the big picture many businesses still aren’t seeing.”
The point is trying to add value to each interaction. Customer Success Managers (CSMs) operate with this mindset first and foremost, and what a company projects in social media could often benefit from this mindset as well.
2. Proactive listening on a macro level
What challenges are your customers dealing with in the face of updated regulation, unexpected current events, and new technologies? Different types of social media can clue you into these challenges, but you have to be looking for it.
Proactive listening is different from active listening in that customers might not be speaking directly to you. You might consider using social media as a way to listen to a customer’s customers. As you’d expect, much of your customers’ pain comes from the pain of their own customers.
Tips for Implementation:
- What industry publications do your customers subscribe to? Many publications will have a social media presence, even if they are traditionally paid publications.
- What hashtags are trending within your customers’ industries? What is generating the most buzz? What are their personas excited about?
- Do any of your customers use influencer marketing? What are the channels or accounts that are influencers in this space?
3. Caring on a micro level
Customer success programs often hinge on finding ways to care for individual customers and clients. Just like individuals, customers perceive care in different ways.
If a CSM carefully reviews an individual customer’s social media campaigns, they’ll almost certainly find information on key goals and messaging that they can relate to the business partnership. Starting conversations using the client’s own social media can help build trust in the relationship and uncover opportunities to customize that client’s solution.
4. Exploring social proof to benefit your clients
Competitors of your clients will have their own social media presence, and this can be a useful topic of discussion to dig deeper into a customer’s goals.
Most clients don’t want to copy competitors. However, if a client is unsure of the value of a solution, or has a hard time visualizing an outcome, social proof can be a powerful tool to gain understanding.
Social media marketers now play an important role in building a company’s holistic CS. But, as you can see, this isn’t a simple challenge.
Many companies are not prepared for this increasing demand and don’t know how to combine the two sectors (or simply don’t see the value in doing that). To stand out, companies will need to know how to maintain the quality of fluid communication with the customer at all points of contact.
This was Rock Content’s final article in partnership with Hootsuite about its 2022 Social Trends. I really hope this series helped you dive deep into these trends and what you can do with all that information to improve your strategies.
If you want to get more insights about what social media marketing holds for this year, check out the Hootsuite Social Media Trends 2022 report. I also invite you to subscribe to our newsletter below to receive weekly emails on the best trends in Marketing, Business, and Tech (all with a dash of our specialists’ knowledge about how this impacts your brand).