Customer service and marketing are both vital parts of your social media management, because they make connections with clients in very different ways.
Imagine that you’re an architect, in charge of designing towering skyscrapers. (If this is already your job, imagine something else. You’ve made it this far in life; you don’t need me holding your hand.) You’ve got the building all designed, and think it’s pretty good, and then someone comes and asks you where the elevators are supposed to go.
Well, you stammer...that’s probably someone else’s job. The elevator people? They make it go up. But it is up to you to decide where the shafts are, how the cables will be coiled as it rises, and all the little details. Both the designers and the elevator experts have to have a say, to make sure that all aspects are taken care off.
It’s the same way with your social media management. In too many organizations, there isn’t a clear line for who runs the social media. Most people think it is marketing, but others believe it is a job for customer service. The truth is, it is both. Social media management is equal parts customer service and marketing, and both teams need to work together for it to run smoothly. The customer journey doesn’t stop with a sale. It is a continuous process, and good social media management is a vital part of that.
Social Media Connections are More Important than Ever
In some ways, social media has become so ubiquitous, and you’ve heard so much about it, that you probably don’t even hear the words anymore. I mean, how many thoughtpieces with titles like “How Social Media Will Shift Your Paradigm to a 3.0 Flat World?” have you read? 10,000?
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. After all the hype, it’s increasingly important for marketing to understand how people live and communicate. This doesn’t mean joining the meme economy; it just means tailoring both B2B and B2C communications to broader social networks.
So what does that mean? It means:
Understanding your customer
Providing full service throughout their entire journey
Following up with them through their lifetime as a client
Social media is a key part of this. With social media, you can forge a real connection between yourself and clients. By monitoring important groups and influencers, on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere else, you can understand what matters to your potential clients.
And these connections matter, especially in B2B. Consider:
B2B potential buyers are 60% more likely to pay a premium price when they feel a “high brand connection” (Source)
The 10 most connected brands have a 31% growth rate (Source)
81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to make a decision
74% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn to help make a decision
41% of B2B decision makers use Twitter to help make a decision
What this means is that your social voice matters! If you are a company people talk about well, they will talk you up in their forum, on their blogs, on their social media. You need to be monitoring the relevant groups and your customers, and interacting with them. But it can’t just be one or the other.
The Importance of a Team Effort in Social Media
Both customer service and marketing need to be in charge of social media. Your company needs to have either a social media team that can communicate with both customer service and marketing in order to integrate their advice and message, or you need to empower teams on each side to handle it.
CSRs and marketing know customers from different sides, which is why having a powerful customer service partner is so crucial for your marketing. With this knowledge, they can handle questions in different ways. They can find different forums. Marketers work with what customers want; CSRs work with customers know. It’s a subtle but important difference.
For example, a marketer might be looking at LinkedIn groups regarding their product, say an IT consulting service for business. They’ll be looking at CTO blogs, or CIO forums, finding out what people need, and what their expectations are. They’ll follow major IT influencers on Twitter, and make connections with mutual followers.
But the CSR will be looking at tech forums where people complain about their issues, or compare and contrast services. They’ll understand how the product or service works in the real world, and will be able to talk about it, respond to complaints, answer questions, and make longer-lasting connections that way. If someone says something on Twitter, and gets a thoughtful response, they may be more loyal to your product than if they just sort of liked it from the jump.
So we see that it is important not to divide off your groups. Social shouldn’t be separate from marketing and customer service. The teams need to be integrated. Otherwise, you’ll see you’ve built a skyscraper but are perpetually stuck on the first floor.
At RDI Corporation, we combine the best in progressive and comprehensive digital marketing with proven effectiveness in customer service. Our training, hiring, and execution practices make us complete partners with our clients. Connect with RDI/A or RDI-Connect to learn more, and we invite you to read our white paper, The Perfect Circle: How Customer Service and Marketing Are the Same Thing which discusses even more ways that the two sides can complement and improve each other.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.