Customer experience leaders are increasingly looking to social media as a tool for connecting with customers as well as for better understanding and improving the customer experience.[i] This is key since people are spending more time than ever on social media platforms. Currently, over a quarter of users follow brands on social media from which they might make a purchase.[ii] On top of that, over half of customers prefer to use social media platforms for resolving issues rather than phone or email.[iii] When they get a response from the company on social, they are even willing to spend more and are increasingly likely to recommend the brand.[iv]
These statistics indicate the importance of social media to the customer, yet it’s frequently underutilized by companies - only 12% of companies report having a fully integrated social media strategy as part of their customer experience management planning and 27% say they don’t integrate social at all.[v]
Building block company LEGO® is famous for its social media strategies that cater to users and enhance their experiences. They have received ideas for product themes (such as SpongeBob and Harry Potter, among others) by listening to customer feedback and chatter on social media. This led the company to create LEGO® ideas - a platform to share creative concepts for new products that also rewards creators for their contributions. The company now also closely monitors their social media analytics and creates organic content that is generating more interactions than its paid posts. They find out what the customers want directly from the source and then deliver it accordingly – a successful strategy given their devoted customer following.
Social media interactions can inform your business operations in many ways, from highlighting inefficiencies to providing indicators on demand for specific products.
- Learn more about your customers
Social media interactions can provide a channel to gain insights into customer needs and desires. This data helps you to truly understand social media activity at an individual level, enhancing your ability to deliver products, provide services and develop customer experiences that truly resonate with your customers.
- Gather real-time feedback
It’s no secret that analytics are important and becoming increasingly valuable, especially when the data is timely. Social media can allow you to capture insights and feedback in real-time by delivering surveys and other tools that allow for customer data to be captured. This enhances your ability to be more responsive to market trends.
- Foster emotional connections
A recent article by Harvard Business Review shows that when your strategy evokes emotional responses, use of your product can increase by 70%, and new accounts can increase by 40%.[vii] Social media interactions let you understand customer identities, and use this data to build empathetic customer relationships, which can improve the customer journey across all touchpoints.
- Expand customer service
While only about a quarter of individuals follow brands on social media, a whopping 90% of consumers interact in some fashion with a brand online[viii] and a third of these individuals prefer to use social media over traditional communication methods like telephone and email. Customer complaints and questions can be addressed quickly through social media, which improves access to your service offerings and provides a channel that users prefer.
- Illustrate your company’s culture
A company’s culture, including its values, ethics, and mission, are increasingly important to consumers, especially for younger demographics – and their expanding purchasing power. Social media provides a chance for your customers to get a behind-the-scenes look at your brand in action. This may include employee highlights, employee-generated content and advocacy efforts that are made by the company. These actions serve to enhance the customer’s understanding of the brand, as well as inspire deeper emotional connections to the brand.
- Measure ROI
When combined with other business data, social media data can help you to understand which efforts are working and which ones are not, allowing you to focus on the ones that resonate with your audience. While ROI has long been recognized as a vital business metric, it also provides insight into your customer experience management strategy because it lets you know directly what content and channels your customers enjoy most.
Ultimately, all of these actions can improve your overall engagement strategy by creating a clear customer experience vision. The responsiveness of social media interactions can empower organizations to understand customers on a deeper level than ever before, making it easier to deliver exactly what the customer wants, exactly how they want it. As renowned business writer Ken Blanchard said prior to the advent of social media, “Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.[ix]” This insight is proving more crucial than ever.
- Smith, K. (2017, January 11). How social media can boost customer experience management. Brandwatch. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/social-media-customer-experience-management/
- McCue, T. (2018, June 26). Social media is increasing brand engagement and sales. Forbes. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2018/06/26/social-media-is-increasing-brand-engagement-and-sales/#122199567cb3
- Morrison, K. (2016, November 14). More than one-half of consumers prefer social customer service (report). Adweek. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://www.adweek.com/digital/more-than-one-half-of-consumers-prefer-social-customer-service-report
- Huang, W. (2016, October 5). Study: Twitter customer care increases willingness to pay. Twitter [press release]. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://blog.twitter.com/marketing/en_us/topics/research/2016/study-twitter-customer-care-increases-willingness-to-pay-across-industries.html
- Waldron, B. (2017, June 28). 3 companies that masterfully integrate social media and customer experience. Sprinklr. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://blog.sprinklr.com/3-companies-integrate-social-media-customer-experience/
- Magids, S., Zorfas, A., & Leemon, D. (2015, November). The new science of customer emotions. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://hbr.org/2015/11/the-new-science-of-customer-emotions
- Zendesk library. (n.d.). Providing great social media customer service. Retrieved April 11, 2019 from https://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-through-social-media
- Blanchard, K. & Bowles, S. (1993). Raving fans: A revolutionary approach to customer service. New York: William Monroe and Company, Inc.