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Engaging And Managing Customers On Social Media

The growth of Internet has contributed to a phenomenal transformation of information across the globe. Riding on it, social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp have revolutionized the way users communicate with each other. Due to a huge active user base, social media has become a buzzword and a very attractive proposition in the marketing world. Social media is not just a medium through which any business communicates about its products or services, but is also a channel through which it can engage, interact and build relationships with its own consumers.

However, to have a successful social media strategy, businesses need to consider two key issues, one is the way to engage effectively on social media and other is the way to build trust and relationship in order to create customer value. Effective use of social media is not restricted to the number of likes, tweets, shares or followers. It depends on the way a business engages with its consumers and builds trust and converts the interaction to tangible and monetized business value. An engaged audience will yield more interactions, more followers and maximize the value from social media marketing. Research has suggested that millions of conversations happen at any particular time and thus attention of users has become the greatest bottleneck. Businesses need to publish their campaigns in such a way that they get the maximum attention. Unlike email, it becomes very difficult to harvest relevant conversations from large set of dynamic interactions. Quite often the topic being discussed changes frequently. It is also accompanied with change and churn in the audience. Thus, it is important to know when to publish what, so that the business achieves maximum potential engagement and audience growth. Say for example, publishing a content on a new product or service on social media, at a particular time where the conversations are dominated by national political news, may not receive right kind of response.

In this regard, Social Flow has developed a tool that can help any business build an effective social media strategy that can create a marked positive impact. They convert the arbitrary scheduling of posts into more informed information about when the target audiences are active and what they are engaged with at any given moment. They analyze a bunch of real time data and extract relevant data for the companies. Social Flow analyzes the potential messages and publishes the content based on real-time attention and receptivity on Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest, thereby resulting in greater engagement and attention (traffic, RT’s. @mentions, @replies, Likes, Shares and Comments). Their technology also helps in creating campaigns and building strategy through its recommendations on keywords, audiences, and ad spending. Their social media listening platform and predictive analysis capability enables their customers to execute smart data driven decisions. Such smart data is important for business to create value for its customers.

This leads us to the second issue of building trust with social customers. The impact of ineffective social media strategy such as missing a complaint or feedback, or even ignoring viral negativity can cause a lot of harm to brand reputation. Businesses have a need to identify the customer conversations about the brand and address the issues raised in them. Traditional customer support services approach may not be suitable to handle the complexity of data involved on social media. Unlike phone or email support, where issues come directly to the team, here the issues are scattered  in conversations and posts at different places. It may include a variety of information, emotions, inquiry and requests, which may require different responses from different teams. There is also a possibility that millions of people watch how business reacts to any social inquiry. The agent’s reaction or secondary on-lookers reaction may form a multi-threaded conversation, which needs to be tracked in totality. Social customer service is not restricted to inquiry or complaints, the business must also respond to feedback of the users, thus encouraging customer bonding and engagement with the business. In order to create customer value through social media, the business needs to connect deeply and emotionally with its customers.

One such tool that helps business connect deeply with the customer is Conversocial. It is a cloud based social media management platform that empowers business to deliver better customer experience and decrease the risk of public mistakes. It intelligently groups the public and private messages into meaningful customer conversations, including full history, to determine the context. The in-built prioritization engine, using machine learning, natural language processing and custom keyword listing, helps in identifying priority messages, relevant conversations and escalate them for speedy response. The platform enables collaboration with different teams through its workflow features and helps avoid duplication of efforts and manages high volume messages in accordance with business needs. It has also got powerful analytics and business intelligence features that provide accurate, actionable insights on customer issues, customer satisfaction, resource optimization and operational efficiency.

Like the above-mentioned tools, many other companies like Adobe, Hootsuite, Social 360, Netbase have also focused on social media analytics. Most of these tools have built tremendous capability in using relevant platforms to handle and manage large volumes of data. They also use predictive analysis to determine different types of conversation and sentiments involved in such conversations. Few of the tools have also built capability that can help the business analyze the user level information such as highlighting the influential users within the network groups that are following a brand or talking about it.

However, most of these tools focus mainly on the marketing aspect, because of the importance given by business to social media marketing, and ignore the customer support needs. Social customer support service is key for a business to build trust and stronger relationships with social customers. In the near future business will acknowledge this and will try to build their capability to provide customer services support via social media. This will naturally increase the need to develop a one-stop platform (from publishing to customer support) that can integrate the various components required for handling social media.