By now everyone knows about social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and with over 100 million registered Twitter and Facebook accounts, it’s worth looking at as an advertising medium for your business. However, social media isn’t for every company. We’ve compiled some of the most important questions to ask yourself if your company is considering a social media presence.
Do you have the resources to commit to social media?
Social media is exactly as its name implies, social. If you don’t have the employees or time to spend being social online, you probably aren’t ready to make the move. And that’s ok! You don’t want to create social media profiles that will go unused. Assuming you have the time and are willing to dedicate the resources required, find employees that are passionate about social media, these are the folks you want on the front line of your social media program!
When you’re ready to launch your social media plan, make sure employees in every division or department have access! Each area will bring a different perspective to your social interactions.
What are your customers expecting from you?
While being on social media is supposed to be important, what is going to make it important for your business or more appropriately for your customers? The expectations of your customers can be discovered as part of your next customer survey. With these answers in hand, set customer-centric goals for your social media program. How quickly will you respond to customer questions/complaints? What approach will you use? Will you refer customers and/or prospects to email support, telephone support, blog postings, free-form Q&A, or a combination? You can design the program goals only after you understand expectations by directly asking a representative sample of your customers. How do your customers want to be supported, interacted with? Valid data is important here!
What are your marketing goals?
What do you want to achieve by providing excellent customer service via your social media program? Depending on your business, this could be: increased visits to your website, increased hits on your blog, phones calls, nearly anything. It all adds up to increased sales in the end and how you use social media to get there.
Can you handle customer service issues on social media?
A growing number of people are using social media, specifically Twitter, to express their displeasure with companies, products, and services. Some companies, such as Jet Blue Airlines, have aggressively implemented Twitter into their mainstream customer service with great success. Which leads us to the question, can you handle customer service issues on social media? You simply cannot pick and choose which issues to respond to. Everything is public, followers will notice if you’re only responding to the positive interaction. You’ll need to be prepared to engage anyone, regardless of what they’re saying.
If you’ve compiled your customer survey data, agreed upon program goals and metrics, and identified the social media leaders within your organization, you’re ready to get social! A strong commitment to social media will provide you with another avenue to interact with your current customers and ways to gain new customers.