social engagementIn The Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy gives sage advice to Katniss Everdeen, “You really wanna know how to stay alive? You get people to like you.” That same advice applies to every company that ever existed. Companies hear how people like them from social media where Likes, Follows, Friends, Shares, and Retweets are a form of social currency that consumers value and trust. Beyond direct sales, social media has a measurable value in determining your brand’s reputation – especially in where word of mouth can increase (or decrease) your company’s sales! Marketing is typically tasked with priming the pump by executing strategies designed to promote awareness and create interest in your brand and offerings. Sophisticated digital marketers are not just targeting to a given audience, they include the audience in the marketing campaign via social, getting them to Engage about the product, Like it, and Share with friends. This engagement adds up to a form of ‘social’ capital. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube all have analytics tools that measure the impact and value of social capital. The area that is the most vulnerable to negative social engagement is when you convert prospects to customers, as the dynamics of the relationship change with the handoff to service delivery. When it’s been done properly, with closed-loop feedback processes, the relationship continues to build. But if it’s done poorly, negative service is posted all over social media, driving down brand value, and wasting the marketing budget. So ask yourself:  When the hand-off between marketing and service delivery happens at your company, is the value of your social capital operating at a profit or at a loss? If it’s the latter, here are 3 tips to help you fix it.

  1. Focus on the journey, not just individual interactions – No customer interaction happens in a vacuum; a set of interactions represents the path taken by the customer to have a purchase, service or care need met. Journey maps are helpful to understand the drivers and goals customers have when engaging with your company. Map out major operational functions and apply social listening tools at key interaction points to develop a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t – and then fix those that have a negative impact on the brand.
  2. Time is of the essence – Strategic marketing campaigns can take months to plan, prepare, and execute. But when there is a problem with service delivery, it can all be lost in a matter of minutes. Part of an effective marketing campaign involves user testing—where “user” includes the customer and the service delivery team. What action is the campaign meant to drive, and how should service delivery fulfill the need? Thorough testing before launch is critical, as well as the use of effective monitoring tools to quickly identify and resolve service delivery issues.
  3. Solicit feedback, but act on it – It’s no longer a one-way conversation with customers. Customers want to be part of the process, and they are happy to provide input—but only aslong as they feel valued. Properly done, surveys can be an excellent way to give customers a voice. Then, analyze the findings, prioritize actions, and keep customers updated on the progress.

Successful companies need to manage their capital—financial and social! For more information check out the white paper Bridging the Great Divide: Best Practices for Integrating Social Media and Customer Service for Bottom Line Results.