In order to optimise the results from your social media use, you have to integrate understanding and practice across a diverse group of functions and departments in your organisation. Startups cover these areas with one person doing two or three, however I don’t feel company’s benefit by bringing in a young person just because they are more used to social media. They may have knowledge of using it, but to get the most out of your social media, lideally, everyone at your company who ever may come into contact with a customer should be trained on the fundamentals of social media.
The more open and transparent you are with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle, the more comfortable they’ll feel about continuing to buy your product, hire you, like you and your pages, and reccomend you to friends.
Of course social media provides outlets for marketing, public relations, and advertising, but it also involves customer service, customer relationship management, sales, operations, human resources, and research and development.
Let’s look at various departments and consider how each one might integrate and encourage social media in order to optimise the customer experience at every corner:
Advertising – include social media links and value proposition to customers in all paid linear media. For example, TV, radio, print, e-mail, websites, and direct mail should all include social media links. The advertising department may also handle social network advertising as well.
Marketing – determine, create, execute, and measure promotions, contests, giveaways, other marketing programs, and content to be run on social media. Marketing is where social media typically lives right now, even though it sould have a home in each department.
Public relations – listen to customer comments on social networks and respond in a swift manner. Determine the most influential and key customers and reach out to them to pitch them on participating in programs.
Customer service – listen to customer complaints and requests across your network and respond. Encourage customers who reach out via trandisional channels to share their feedback publicly on social media.
Operations – create and implement social media policy. Ensure that all staff are fluent in understanding company social media links and practices and that signage, receipts, and other customer touch points include opportunities to interact and share.
Sales – listen carefully to prospects online as well as major potential customers and distributors. Leverage listening to best create best value propositions. Use LinkedIn and individual Facebook profiles to meet and engage prospects.
Research and development – listen to your customer sentiment and competitors customer sentiment in order to design new products. Leverage social media to survey and ask key questions of your customer base.
Senior management/CEO - serve as online spokesperson for the brand through Twitter, video and your blog. Interact publicly with key partners, stakeholders, and media. (creating lists can help)
Information technology – ensure that your website is up to date with social links, content plugins, and applications. Ensure that social media data is secure. Manage facebook applications and any other social media and mobile applications.
Here’s the thing, customers don’t care what your role is in the company. They want your company to seem human, but also if they have a problem they want answers ASAP. In a supermarket if you ask where a certain product is on your list, you don’t care if they are the butcher, a cashier, manager, baker etc you just want to find what they are looking for. Tescos main focus used to be that every worker would need to know where every product was located in the store. It is all about giving the customer the best experience possible. This is the same with social media.
An argument can be made that every single person at your company who ever talks to a customer has an opportunity to create a word of mouth marketing experience, for better or for worse. Create as many advocates for social media at your organisation as you can, and integrate a social media friendly culture throughout your company.
Every moment that a customer spends looking at any of your material online or offline is an opportunity to either be “liked” or “unliked”.