With so many up-and-coming channels to choose from, delivering customer service on social media can seem like a moveable feast. In this blog post, Abtran’s Digital Services Lead, Catherine O’Driscoll shares top tips on how to evaluate the right social channels for your audience while helping your brand remain relevant and engaged with your digital customer.
1. Revisit your Goals
It’s always tempting to jump on the band wagon when a shiny new social app or media channel comes along. However, it’s important to firstly ask how this new channel serves your strategic goals. For instance, are you looking to increase brand awareness or is your primary goal to deliver a great social care experience? Is your priority to grow your customer base or to increase existing brand loyalty? When choosing the right channels, it’s important to firstly evaluate how your goals stack up and how a new channel will deliver against your business needs.
2. Find your Audience
Knowing where your customers are online is crucial to determining the right channels to engage on social media. At Abtran, we employ a digital listening tool to inform what customers are publicly saying and where they’re saying it online. Not only does this help to identify the right engagement channels, it also enables us to anticipate queries we need to respond to as well as the type of content e.g. imagery, video, text our clients’ customers best relate to.
3. Be Channel and Content Relevant
Following on from the point above, it’s important to ensure your content as well as your channels are customer-relevant. For instance, if your brand gets high traction on Instagram, you might decide to leverage that platform with visually rich content. Alternatively if your customers prefer to engage on Twitter – short, snappy text or image-based tweets can be a powerful and speedy way to reach your audience. Twitter recently expanded it’s character count limit to 280 so this provides a little bit more flexibility on this channel. Facebook can also be a great medium for sharing helpful ‘how to’ videos or to run competitions and share engaging imagery to promote brand awareness. At Abtran, we also use Facebook to communicate relevant company updates to our staff in a fun and engaging way. While LinkedIn is generally more suited for corporate or editorial based content, it can also be a powerful channel to help promote recruitment opportunities and to expand brand awareness amongst your staff as well as your existing and prospective client audience.
4. Ensure the Channel Supports your Brand
When choosing the right channels, it’s important to check if they support your brand. For instance, Facebook and Twitter are quite mature in their ability to support brand engagement in the customer care space versus some of the newer and emerging channels. Similarly, you may find forums that are filled with discussion from customers talking around your brand. However, if these forums don’t support brand engagement, it may only be possible to drive brand awareness through paid display advertising or sponsorship versus direct forum participation.
5. Importance of People fit, Technology and Governance
Social media can be an effective and powerful voice for your brand so it’s important to choose the right people and technology fit. In our experience, the ability to respond to inbound queries requires a different skill set to designing and generating creative and graphic or video-based outbound content. More importantly, representing your brand on social media is a huge responsibility so it’s important that each Social Media representative is not only experienced in social media but is also equipped with the right training along with right compliance and Data Protection protocol and escalation procedures. At Abtran, we use a technology platform for social media engagement across our Digital teams, which allows us to monitor as well as manage our social media activities while ensuring compliance from both a data and user access perspective.
6. Integrate your Team
Traditionally, social media came under the remit of the marketing department. However, if your social media strategy incorporates an element of social care, you may need to rethink how your team is integrated into the overall Customer Service function. For instance, placing your social care team at the heart of the Customer Operation can help to ensure they’re best placed to keep the wider Operation abreast of potential inbound queries. Moreover, the ability to proactively communicate service updates to your customers in a timely and responsive way will help free up other members of the Customer Service team to focus on other tasks.
7. Metrics for Success
Depending on your goals, each social media channel will have it’s own distinct set of value metrics. Typical KPIs measured at Abtran and from a social care perspective include response rate, quality of response and brand sentiment. For outbound content based posts, it’s more about measuring impact from an engagement, volume and reach perspective. Measuring success is particularly important as that provides a solid benchmark to grow your audience and to continuously improve channel performance.
8. Omni-Channel Experience
Today’s customers expect a seamless, personalised service experience regardless of device or channel. At Abtran, all social care interactions (with the exception of public/general query posts), are logged and integrated into the overall CRM system so that the customer experiences that end-to-end service experience whether they’re interacting by phone, email, webchat or social media.
9. Finger on the Pulse
While it’s important to be on the right channels, it’s equally important to keep a look-out for new and emerging trends. Recent research trials at Abtran include evaluating the use of machine learning and chatbot technology for more accurate and consistent contact handling and quicker access to expertise regardless of skill level and tenure of the Customer Service Advisor. Also with our Digital Listening technology, we’re also aware of the growing prominence of ‘Generation Z,’ or people born from the mid-1990s, who are generally more comfortable using messenger apps versus more traditional social media channels and have very high expectations when it comes to speed of response around their customer queries. Augmented Virtual Reality is another technology that is expected to become much more prominent from a brand marketing perspective and it will be interesting to watch how this will be incorporated into existing social media channels, outside the gaming industry.
10. Stay Focused on the Customer
When it comes to social media, there’ll always be new channels, apps and technology on the horizon. From my experience, staying aligned to your goals as well as listening to your customers are the keystones to shaping a successful social media strategy; one that keeps your brand relevant and engaged while delivering the right channel choice for your staff, your clients and your omni-channel customers.
Find Out More
Abtran has been at the forefront of delivering award-winning digital services since 2010. To find out more about our digital service capabilities, visit abtran.com/services/digital/ or email the team at email@example.com.