When we talk about social media do you immediately think of your kids’ Facebook or Twitter proclaiming what they had for lunch and decide social is a frivolous and dangerous time-waster? Are you one of those who put together a social media plan that cranks out posts and updates in a well scheduled highly mechanized manner? If you answered yes to either one of those questions you must read the rest of this post. Right now. Please.
A conventional approach to social media
Social media has been part of the business landscape long enough that we are beginning to become entrenched in a method of management that is only partly effective. As businesses adapt to managing an online presence they are becoming too mechanized in their approach. A conventional approach favors a campaign that requires you to spend weeks or months planning to hit targets by developing messaging strategies and content with strict adherence to your marketing calendar. Stuffy, formal and only taking advantage of half of the opportunity social offers.
A real-time approach to social media
Social media was designed around the idea of real-time communication. A real-time approach recognizes and leverages the importance of speed. Let’s look at customer service for an example of leveraging speed. Mike O’Brien at ClickZ Marketing News explains:
If a consumer contacts a business with a question or complaint, they typically expect a response within the hour. However, a Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) survey conducted in February shows that only 17 percent of businesses respond to customer complaints via social media within that hour time period and a surprising 21 percent of businesses never respond at all, which often leads to customers feeling negatively toward brands and sharing their bad experiences with their social networks.
The fact is the balance of power has shifted to the connected consumer. Real time response to customer inquiries will be the standard by which all companies will be judged in the very near future.
Stay calm and respond
First thing you absolutely must do is abandon the idea that social media is a frivolous and dangerous time-waster. Real adults, real customers, in fact your customers are using social media to share their experiences. Second, do not abandon the more conventional marketing content plan and calendar you took time to develop. As we stated earlier it is fully half of the opportunity that social media offers and must work in concert with your real time engagement efforts.
In our next article we’ll be taking a closer look at using social media as a customer service tool.
By the way, does your business use a real-time approach to social media? We’d love to hear about it so please leave a comment.