The topic of this morning’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) Austin 2012 Customer Experience track session “Don’t Waste Your Time on Social” may suggest that you shouldn’t waste your time on social media, however the discussion moderated by TMC’s Paula Bernier (News - Alert) turned out to be more about how to use social media proactively and productively. These days, people are thinking about social media more broadly and using social media strategies to improve brand loyalty.
The current state of business relating to social media is evolving rapidly, according to HootSuite’s Greg Gunn. “We are seeing that marketing, public relations and customer service were early adopters of this. More recently, we see more traditional parts of the organization adopt social media such as sales in order to make a lasting connection to clients, and human resources for managing internal and external communications,” Gunn explained.
Just a year ago, this was just an idea, but now it is actually coming to a place where companies are becoming more and more comfortable with social media and moving to less traditional areas. Social media is a way for companies to treat customers just like they are treated on a phone call because they are catering to the customer directly.
“Social media is evolving so fast it is great to see,” said Mike Betzer of Social Dynamx. “It’s radically changing how brands have to interact with their customers.”
Shai Berger of Fonolo (News - Alert) finds it fascinating how social media is now so many different things. He predicts that in just a few years social media will be divided into several different topics. “It’s hard to really paint them all with the same brush, but all of it is cool and it is growing,” he explained.
When it comes to investing in social media, Betzer believes the amount of money it costs to use social media is not a lot in order to get big benefits. Plus, it is easy to get started. “The sooner you start interacting with customers, the sooner you see the marketing and sales opportunity,” he said.
“The whole evolution of how you can advertise on these networks is becoming a powerful thing,” said Gunn.
There are two main ways that social media and call center world interact, according to Berger. They include customers contacting the company for questions using social media, and customers using social media to complain about a company, product or the overall customer experience.
“This is driving change in the larger customer service area,” explained Berger. “Social media is indirectly pushing them to large and expensive upgrades do to complaints on social media.”
Today, companies are quickly figuring out that there is a lot of opportunity in social media for new ways to interact with customers, and potential increase sales.
“If know the brand will listen to me and I just tweet to them, and receive a response, it’s very effective,” said Betzer. “If your consumers want to interact that way, then you as the brand need to interact that way.”
So, the panel leaves us with a bit of advice: Look at your five largest competitors and find out how many followers they have. If you don’t have as many followers, get caught up, get out there, and get social!
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Edited by Brooke Neuman