Make no mistake, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are crucial elements of a successful business and marketing plan. In fact, data from The CMO Survey reveals spending on social media marketing has grown 234 percent in the past seven years, rising from 3.5 percent of marketing budgets in 2009 to 11.7 percent of marketing budgets today. Additionally, MarketingSherpa shared data that shows 33 percent of millennials identify social media as one of their preferred channels for communicating with a business.
Social media solutions are an important customer service tool, too. According to Twitter, the number of tweets directed at leading brands’ customer service handles grew 2.5 times between 2013 and 2015. The fact of the matter is, social media customer service is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Moreover, effective social media customer service serves as a valuable marketing tactic long after a single issue has been resolved.
Social media: An amplifier for customer voices
Whether businesses like it or not, their customers are likely discussing their brands on social media. Even more, these exact customers will attempt to reach out to brands regardless of whether those brands have a social media customer service strategy in place. Considering this fact, businesses must leverage social media for customer service to maintain a positive brand image.
“Businesses must leverage social media for customer service to maintain a positive brand image.”
When a customer or client calls a help desk, that interaction is, for the most part, private. However, this is not the case on social media. When a customer reaches out to a brand on its Facebook page regarding an issue or concern, that comment is typically visible to anyone else who follows the brand. Additionally, that individual’s comment will show up on his or her friends’ newsfeeds, which means the negative brand experience is amplified for an even larger audience.
According to a recent survey by Sprout Social, roughly 75 percent of respondents had a negative experience with brands on social sites, 36 percent used these channels to shame a company for poor customer service and 30 percent said they would switch to a competitor if a brand fails to respond on social media. Not only is social media a tool for customers to ensure their concerns are heard by both brands and wider audiences, but the negative impact of a poor social media customer service experience is quite expansive.
On the other hand, positive social media customer service experiences can benefit brands if they respond to customers quickly and with valuable information. As Sprout Social’s data illustrates, when brands meet these criteria on social sites, 75 percent of people are likely to share positive reviews on social media, 65 percent of respondents will have more brand loyalty, and 25 percent are less likely to go to a competitor or post negative things about the brand
Whether a customer experience on social media is positive or negative, that interaction with the brand will have a lasting effect. Moreover, the customer’s opinion of the brand will be amplified for all to hear. This in mind, social media customer service is a crucial marketing strategy for any business that hopes to develop a positive reputation.
Tapping into agent expertise
Social media customer service also empowers customer service agents to tap into their expertise, making this strategy a valuable marketing tactic. Through social channels, customer service teams suddenly transform into brand advocates, which can have a lasting positive impact on marketing.
For instance, Frost & Sullivan interviewed a number of business leaders regarding how social media customer service has affected their marketing. Jerry Fletcher, vice president for customer success at Sparkcentral, explained that customer service agents know a company’s product or service best.
Unlike call center solutions that involve private conversations between two people, when customers work with someone who understands and thoroughly addresses their needs on social media, those exact customers become promoters of the brand. This translates to essentially free marketing that is not only amplified across social channels, but translates into increased loyalty.
On the one hand, social media customer service is necessary because clients and customers across industries prefer this channel to resolve a number of issues. However, a more important reason to leverage this channel for customer care is that social media customer service is an impactful marketing strategy that has lasting positive effects.