Social media marketing to most in the C-suite is still a campaign-based tactic, viewed and managed separately, but it really should be integrated. Social media marketing needs to be woven into the fabric of all marketing channels and strategically managed from a 360-degree perspective. This integration is especially important around Customer Service, where the disparity between the customer experience in the social media channel and the customer experience in the traditional channel is a dangerous chasm. The result is a mixed message around Customer Service – an area where none of us can afford to be unclear or inconsistent!
Think of it from the customer perspective (as you always should): they get a quick response and dedicated attention in the social media channel, and then are subjected to the “same-old, same-old” via traditional customer service channel. Long waits (phone or in person) and inattention in one channel will immediately cancel out any gains from your social media marketing channel.
As you can see, social media marketing desperately needs to be integrated into ALL marketing channels!
This integration of course takes time, but you can start the integration immediately with absolutely no technical changes. Simply be diligent in your social media channel about setting your customers’ expectations. If the reality of your traditional Customer Service channel includes a 7-10 day response (refunds or backorder fulfillment, for example), then use your social media channel to respond immediately… and TELL THEM about the 7-10 day reality. Then go fix that timeline, and when it is fixed… tell that too.
Think of it this way: broken promises and mixed messages are a quick way to send your customers away. Kept promises and integrated messages, systems, and management are a quick way to create Brand Advocates… the heart of your social media marketing channel.
The biggest marketing weakness today is the mixed message around Customer Service. It’s up to your company to make integration a priority and give your brand a chance.
-Ted Rubin, Social Media Strategist