8 Solutions for Social Media Enabled Contact Experiences



Keith Fiveson
12/03/2010

Twitter and Facebook, along with LinkedIn and a wide array of social media sites offer insights into the day to day, and minute to minute, in both important and trivial issues.

As seen through the eyes of the user, buyer or seller, a tweet out or post-to, can whisper, sing or scream; it can leverage or poorly impact the ROI and/or cost/benefit relationships between followers, searchers and communities.

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Whether you are an early adopter, a main streamer or a laggard that's just interested or "ready to go" you will want to ask and answer the following who, what, where, when, how and why questions to make the most of setting up a "Social Media Outpost (SMO)" in your call center. As you hit the keys to explore the web, deploy your message and net new interactions from users; knowing the answers to the following questions will help you leverage and address every tweet and post for your company or client brand.

1. Who is your audience?

This is the most important of questions to answer. If you do not know who your target audience is, what their preferences are, what they like or don’t like, what demographics they belong to and so on…you will not know what to give them. Without knowing your target audience, you do not have a purpose for your SMO. For instance, if you are selling electronic gadgets, knowing who visits your social media stream helps you weave your feeds accordingly. What you say to people from the corporate sector may not necessarily apply for teens. Once you have answered this all-important question, the answers to the other questions will materialize with ease. Setting up a brand ambassador, with community teams to address your audience will help you with the ongoing "what do I say" discussions.??

2. What do you say?

Monitoring the buzz on the social networking sites is only half the battle won. Once you know who your audience is, who is saying what and so on, the next step is to decide what you will share with your customers and potential customers through your social media streams. This is an opportunity to be a thought leader, a human being, by expressing your views and opinions, news, current events, and forecasts. This is a great way for you to establish yourself as a Guru of your industry/niche, show to your customers or prospects why you are a good fit for them. More than anything else, it’s an opportunity to directly interact with your clients and clear away their myths and doubts about you and yours services as well as answer their questions and complaints. With a brand management strategy you can chart the course of the conversation, for your company and your clients. But it is important to have a dedicated team to focus, focus, focus.

3. How do you engage?

Now that you have answered the basic questions of who and what, the next crucial question is "how to engage your SMO". First, you will need to set up a listening station, a dedicated "hunt group", to focus on what the social media channels are saying. This will help you monitor all the news, noise and chatter relating to your organization or your clients brand. Focus on listening to the heartbeat of the brand, and conversations (be they old or new), to understand the core message; analyze what they means to your client, or company brand and how you can make use of this information. Then, working with your brand management team, seed, feed and prune the growth of your market. There are several ways to do this – it all depends on your objective, need and resources that you want to deploy. Dedicated resources are key, if you are going to grow the brand and engage in the conversation. After all social media is about touch points and event management.

4. Who does this?

You have a dedicated team for every other process in your organization (email, phone, chat, back office processing). The same thing holds true for SMO – you must think of setting up a dedicated hub, or hunt group, that will take care of only the social angle for your organization. But why not ask your existing staff to take care of social media marketing as an additional task? Well, the chatter, the news and the events taking place on the virtual world is phenomenal and it may become quite daunting a task to keep track on a part time basis. Besides, there could be a dilution of focus. Hence, a dedicated social media outpost will help you keep a track on the happenings on an up to date basis. The dedicated support staff or the SMO hub will be able to instantly track and get a hold of any bad publicity related to your organization for example. So the advantages of a dedicated team are far more than the costs involved.?


5. Where do you do it?

You can set up an outpost, hub or hunt group in your existing operation or do it virtually. The talent involved requires both IQ and EQ to gauge the conversations and guide the brand. On the Internet there are multiple locations for multiple products and services. It all depends on the niche and the industry that you are in. Social media has evolved so much so that, it is possible to monitor the news and the chatter related to a specific industry. For example, twitter has something called hashtags. And if you search for your top keywords on twitter, you will get the stream of chatter related to that keyword or hashtag. Perhaps the hashtag could be your company name as well. Then there are social media sites for specific industries, where people (consumers and sellers) can meet, discuss and move forward from there.

6. Why do it?

Although this question comes at number 6, if you look at it, you must answer this question the earliest. Why would you want to have an SMO to start with? What do you miss if you don’t engage? If you don't, it’s you who lose. The drive and the demaind will continue to increase, as millennials use mobile and direct the interactions. You lead, follow or get out of the way, as an early innovator, adopter or laggard. But, those companies who do integrate social media into their contact center, as another channel may go on to become the market leaders and the new providers of contact and content. That’s the difference between doing and not doing it. You do it to have a voice, offer a choice, make some noise, and for hundred other reasons once you choose to engage.

7. When do you do it?

Social media has transformed the way people interact. There exist no barriers or borders on the virtual world. There is no other media driven business that is so "event driven" as social media. People from any where and at any time can interact, because when you are cozily sleeping there are citizens on the other part of the world where its day. So it's all up to you. If you have something to say you do it every day, or even every hour and so on. You drive the conversation based on your brand management team, the rules of engagement and the need to drive the conversation, based on strategy.

8. How do we measure the impact of social media?

To answer this question, consider how costly a bad press or word of mouth can become to your company’s reputation? On the other hand consider how much it costs to set up an SMO, monitor and analyze the chatter? The cost of medium and message is mostly free, except time, creative spark and insight. However, you definitely need structure to your content and the way you spread it. You need to define, design and shape the message in a way that will have the most positive impact on your company’s reputation and branding. That’s the impact of social media.

All said and done, no one can deny the fact that social media is here to stay, and the level of importance regarded to it is only going to increase. Social media can make or break your company’s reputation, which depends on how you handle it. It is a power machine that churns news, gossip, chatter, the good and the bad every micro second, and your organization’s destiny is hidden somewhere there if rightly handled. It can act as a ladder (or an escalator) that will elevate to your chosen destination with efficiency and efficacy at a speed unmatched by any other media platform to date.

This piece was originally posted on Get Customer Experience.

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