One would be hard pressed to find a business or professional that does not employ social media in their marketing and brand strategies. Established businesses, startups, and independent agents all depend on them for outreach. But a social media marketing campaign is only as effective as its audience allows it to be. As in any strategy, consumer demand is key, and online consumer demand has evolved just like any other audience.
So what gets a company followed, liked, or +1’ed on social media? Predominantly, customer service. This includes the standard announcements and deals, but also an opportunity for interaction. Users tap social media sites to reach out to companies for questions and comments, and expect those companies to respond. According to author Jay Baer, another important part of customer service is providing “massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long term trust and kinship between your company and your customers,” embodied in what he coined Youtility.
Being useful may require re-thinking the marketing/customer-service relationship, especially in regards to leadership. Booz & Company, a San Francisco based management-consulting firm, published a study showing that thirty-five percent of companies have a senior executive responsible for social media company-wide. Not surprisingly, most of those executives have marketing backgrounds. Yet only a quarter of the same companies involve the customer service department in high-level conversations about marketing. This reveals a wide gap between what makes social media marketing effective and how it is approached by companies.
How have you been able to provide customer service and helpfulness through marketing? What strategies have you employed on social media and how did your customers respond?