Your social media strategy is expected to show serious sophistication these days. This is thanks, in part, to social media becoming a full-service channel. It’s not just the place to post funny memes.
Additionally, social media is quickly outgrowing more traditional customer servicing channels. Getting to “sophistication” means both creating superb customer experiences and making sure our social media strategy is more than just content.
Read on for three ways to advance your social strategy.
Focus On CX
First, your social media strategy should have an emphasis on CX (customer experience).
Social media is exploding yet again. But what’s driving all that growth? Partly, it was the pandemic, which our report outlined in detail. But now that we’re living in our “new normal” it’s really a different animal that’s pushing social media to become a major function of business … other departments!
Sure, social media used to sit mostly with marketing. However, the latest Sprout Social Index lays out the contribution to the social strategy for many companies like this …
- Customer Service (53%)
- Corporate Comms (48%)
- Product Marketing (43%)
- Human Resources (32%)
- R&D (20%)
- Other (3%)
As more departments weigh in on your overarching social media strategy, your social team may need to adapt. Do you know who owns what, who gets a say, and who is responsible for each component tied to each department?
When we manage social-led customer care for our clients, it’s not just about customer service. It covers the entire digital journey which includes pre-purchase conversations. My point is, when you think about “customer care” on social, you should also be thinking about the potential customers involved.
Expect HIGH(ER) Expectations With Your Social Media Strategy
Another area brands keep missing the mark with on social media is response times. Yes, there’s an inherent mismatch between your employees and social media. Social media operates 24/7 – your employees (likely) do not.
However, that doesn’t mean consumers will give you a break. At least 35% of consumers expect a response within 1 to 2 hours (even on weekends and holidays). As this trend continues to rise, we’ll see consumers …
- use social media for support more and more (remember, that’s both pre-purchase and post-purchase conversations), and
- expect faster response times on social media versus other channels.
Taking too long to respond has consequences. When this happens, 36% of consumers say they’ll share that negative experience with friends and family. A comparable 31% won’t complete their purchase, while 30% will buy from a competitor instead.
The solution? Put CX (customer experience) at the forefront of your social media strategy and include KPIs (key performance indicators) around response times, resolution times, and customer engagement. For example …
- Pre-purchase and post-purchase requests should be acknowledged as quickly as possible to meet customer expectations.
- Would-be and current customer engagement plays a critical role in ensuring the touchpoints along your digital customer journey (DCJ) are being met.
- Use VOC (voice of customer) data from social media and other digital conversations along the DCJ to innovate.
If you want to know more about the DCJ or how to map yours, I recently hosted a joint webinar on the DCJ with Katie Robbert of Trust Insights – WATCH THE REPLAY HERE.
Embrace Brand Opinions & Feelings
Finally, there’s one last important point from the latest Sprout Social Index.
“Most consumers (71%) think it’s important for brands to raise awareness and take a stand on sensitive issues—a 7.6% increase from 2017. That importance jumps up even more for Gen Z (73%) and Millennials (77%). At the same time, 48% of marketers say that brands need to speak out on social issues to stay culturally relevant on social media.”
First, you must know your own brand values. Then, look for audiences where personal values align with those of your brand/company. Company alignment with personal values is 74% more important to consumers than it was in 2021. THIS is what leads to trust and loyalty – at least more so than the products and services you sell.
Patagonia has a superb example of this. Around six months ago they posted to their social media channels that they would not be using Facebook as a platform for their brand advertising.
They said, in part, “Patagonia stopped all paid advertising on Facebook platforms in June 2020 because they spread hate speech and misinformation about climate change and our democracy. We continue to stand by that boycott 16 months later.”
Patagonia frequently talks about climate change, which undoubtedly their target audiences also support with vigor. Patagonia is an outdoors apparel and equipment brand, and I would guess that many their customers are strong believers of climate change.
So, while this is an opinion – and a strong one – it might not be that risky for Patagonia to speak up. Furthermore, since their product is arguably impacted by climate change, it aligns with the brand core values.
I know sharing opinions and feelings can seem hair-raising. However, humans connect by aligning core values with one another – yes, even as consumers to brands. Consumers are looking to give loyalty to brands who share the same opinions and feelings (aka values) as they do.
Is Your Social Strategy Sophisticated?
Getting all this right is not simple. But with the right social media strategy and commitment, companies can realize the immense potential and value of social-led customer care: creating conversations that help you connect –> converse –> convert with potential customers and current customers (e.g., loyalty and evangelism).
If you’re ready to take the leap, I encourage you to read my upcoming book, which explores everything here (and more!) with real-world case studies from our clients and other successful brands.
Are you ready to think conversation (not campaign) with your customers (and social strategy)? Reach out if you are but need a little push! 😉