Is social still important?
This is the question that AFDigital Founder Pauline Pangan dissected in her Innovation Forum 2019 talk, “Why Social Listening Matters Now More Than Ever.” In a nutshell, in a world where connected customers expect a connected experience, the answer to the big question is YES.
In Australia alone, 7 in 10 Australians are active on Facebook; worldwide, there have been two million new active social media users in the past year. This has widely changed the way customers interact with brands, as 54% of customers revealed that they prefer to contact brands via social. And you can expect these customers to be more loyal to brands, spending up to 40% more than customers who do not engage via social.
But utilising social as a brand is not enough — it has to be tied into a journey that dishes out a better experience for the customer. Journeys are a big part of business now, with customers having more power than ever to choose and be informed.
So how does a business keep up with the connected customer? Here are five ways to do it:
1. Every journey must start with listening.
Businesses can definitely leverage social in making informed business decisions but this is only possible through listening. And listening should be done not only for your brand’s mentions, marketing campaigns, product insights, and customer experience. Tuning in to your competitors’ social performance is also very helpful.
2. Create, Boost — then Journey.
“There’s no such thing as organic content anymore. We need to be targeted in terms of interests, and that’s something that you can learn from social listening.”
It has become a customer journey competition. This means that your business is no longer only competing with other businesses from the same industry but with all other brands that offer customer journey. By listening to your customers, you are able to create industry-specific and better (non-generic, related) content then target accordingly, creating a journey that sets you apart from everybody else.
3. Connect Social to overall business strategy.
Gone are the days when social is something that brands could turn to as an “afterthought.” With its popularity amongst users, it has to be tied to your overall business strategy. This means utilising it not just in marketing but also in service, sales, support, and recruitment. Human Resources, for example, could turn social into a powerful recruitment tool, expanding the reach of their job postings and tapping employees to promote the company’s reputation.
Start giving great focus to social because that’s where your customers are. And with social at the focus, even CEOs should be knowledgeable about using social to the company’s advantage for brand-building and crisis management.
4. Manage metrics that really matter.
Social empowers your business through metrics that enable you to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t. What’s more, social could also be leveraged to improve your ROI while boosting customer service metrics. Here’s how:
Shakey’s successfully demonstrated the power of social. The popular Philippine pizza chain started focusing on social customer service as part of their digital transformation, shifting their focus on where their customers are (social media channels). In just a few months, they saw an 1165% growth in feedback received. This increase gives them the advantage of creating journeys and campaigns that are tailored to each guest.
5. Create executive buy-in and company-wide alignment
As with any “disruptions” in a company, it’s best when it starts with the executive buy-in. Once you have that, align everyone with how important social and the other critical business metrics you have tied social to that drives astronomical business growth.
This will only work though if all departments in the company are working with the same data, having a single view of their customer. Provide this through command centres and social dashboards about their brand, products, and competitors — this is no longer a “nice to have” but a must-have. But more importantly, pull in other data that allows you to manage the overall customer journey in all the CX touchpoints like sales, service and marketing.
So yes, social may still be very important but simply utilising it is not enough. Basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” Social is a powerful business tool and channel that when used wisely and correctly becomes a game-changer, laser focusing your ‘social activity’ into two of the most important metrics for your company: revenue earned and costs saved.
Watch the highlights from Pauline’s talk: