There are an enormous amount of companies getting involved in social media. That’s great! If yours is one of them, take note.
You can have the best social media presence out there – being active on blogs, solid presence in a variety of communities, useful and relevant presence on Twitter, a content rich Facebook page – but if all of your other ducks are not in a row then you still suck.
Being responsive and proactive online will get you far in life. But let’s not forget: it is not everything!
Are your customer service people trained appropriately? Are they kind, empathetic, intelligent, competent and aware? If not, that’s a good place to start. They are the front-line of your company in the real world. Where the rubber meets the road, this is where things really matter. If your Twitter account gets back to me after I complain quickly that’s great. But what happens when I can’t get a question answered when I pick up the phone, or when I visit the store? What then? Then I go to Twitter and complain, where you re-actively have to respond. Not ideal. Ensure that your ground level representatives get the effective communication and customer service training. This will provide exponential amounts of ROI for your business.
Have you aligned all of your avenues of communication? If I contact someone via Facebook or company blog will I get the same response from your ground-level representatives? Attitudes, knowledge and authority to make decisions/changes should be consistent across venues. If they are you may avoid me, or others like me, publicly venting about your business and customer service. I shouldn’t have to go to Twitter to get results (nor do you want me too.)This is being proactive. Better than reactive by a long shot.
Make sure you’re as easy to find in some usable form in real life as you are on Twitter. Sure I can tweet at you, but is anyone there at 7pm? Make sure your customers can find you. The most obvious way to be found nowadays is through effective implementation of SEO strategies. Do not forget local! Depending on your business your customers may need to visit an actual brick and mortar to make their ‘transaction’. Most undoubtedly, this goes without saying for the three people that read this blog .
Quality content on your website is incredibly important for a variety of reasons. SEO is a big part of that, but look at providing quality content as part of a hollistic customer service approach. Your site visitors are coming to your pages looking for something. Just as if they were to walk into a store they expect to find what they’re looking for. If they don’t, they will get frustrated and leave. The consequences of this are numerous. At best, they will go pay a visit to your competitor and spend their money elsewhere. Worst case they will vent to their friends either in real life, or worse even yet, in the social media realm. Avoid that by providing useful, relevant and up to date content on your website (not only for the search engines, but) for your customers.
Is there a continuity between the image and brand personality you are portraying on and offline? Your messaging needs to be on point and correctly targetted to the appropriate demographic offline or your presence in social media could be in danger of becoming irrelevant. If it is not, then you will not only be wasting dollars and time, but you’ll be publishing a disjointed message to your customers across spaces. This is confusing for them, but also exponentially decreases the effectiveness of your efforts.
All of that to say, you can’t be awesome in one area of your business and/or marketing and suck at the others. You won’t be doing your bottom line or your customers any good that way. Make certain you are addressing customer service issues and customer needs offline as well as online. The customer experience needs to be consistent. Your efforts in social media will go a lot further if you are proactively adding value than if you are constantly putting out fires.