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The Rise Of Remote Working And How It’s Affecting Social Media Customer Experience 

New Social Media Roll Outs To Provide Cost-Effective Marketing Campaigns

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Matt Wujciak

social media

New standards for the remote worker

With most of us working from home, believe it or not, the average American’s workday has increased by 40%, roughly 3 hours a day, the largest increase in the world. While millions of workers across the country continue to file for unemployment benefits each week, many remaining managers and front-line employees are trading early quarantine hobbies for late quarantine responsibilities. 

Even in remote working conditions, there’s a widespread reverence for the “ideal worker.” We commonly define the ideal worker as someone who starts working in early adulthood and continues, full-time and full force, for 40 years straight. The concept reflects a breadwinner-homemaker model that dates back to the Industrial Revolution and functioned fairly well through the 1960s. Disclaimer: although you might feel like you are right now, you’re not working in the Industrial Revolution. 

As a result of the shifting changes by customer-centric businesses, we’re seeing the erosion of the ideal employee whose family responsibilities are kept tastefully out of sight, values repetition over innovation, and reliance on supply and demand over customer value and marketability. 

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At a deeper level, companies are beginning to get analytical about the optimal role of remote work. Remote work makes people more engaged, satisfied and less likely to quit. Remote workers also often work longer hours – not surprising since the average American spends 54 minutes a day commuting. While there are undoubtedly operational challenges for most, if not all businesses during the pandemic, it makes you wonder, are there more takeaways to complement our previous business practices after one? 

Don’t assume that telework is an all-or-nothing proposition. For many jobs and companies, the challenge will be to find the right balance of telework and on-site work post pandmeic. What many knowledge workers need is spurts of unstructured interaction, followed by hours of quiet time to execute - time that’s often more productive done away from the office to remain engaged and creative. Whether you work in a contact center or marketing agency, finding the optimal combination of telework and on-site work will vary from department to department, job to job, and person to person after a pandemic.

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As we’ve adjusted to remote work and digital environments, we’ve done away with the ideal structures of working, as we’re working more hours on new tasks (as opposed to traditional mundane ones) finding digital alternatives to customer-retention challenges, and readjusting the way we communicate with employees and customers. At this point, you may even be welcoming your toddler or dog into the company zoom meeting instead of pondering “do I feed my toddler or ignore the meeting?” Whatever you need to do to remain efficient, your boss now understands. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, many of us had more time on our hands, time that’s now oxymoronically being filled with new responsibilities and innovative operational changes in an attempt to remain customer-centric and redefine our Business Continuity Plans (BCP), hence the 3-hour work increase. After all, when it comes to the aftermath of our BCP, size doesn’t matter. And customers don’t discriminate – as long as you’re providing them with services they’re asking for through a frictionless, marketable customer experience. Now, you’re probably wondering, Matt, that’s great, but how do I do that? More importantly, what does social media have to do with feeding my toddler? 

Facebook and Instagram creating a win-win approach for small businesses 

Well I’m glad you’re wondering, because you’re already beating out half of your competitors (and daycares). 

For many organizations, regardless of how big we are (or were), it starts with how we convey messages to customers, and what cost-effective marketing campaigns we’re relying on. 

Read More: How-to Guide: How to Improve Your Customer Experience ROI with Better Conversational AI

Along with much of our personal information that we would rather they not (such as our location), social media titans such as Facebook and Instagram are beginning to take notice. Only this time, it might work out in our businesses’ (and customers’) favor, not just Zuckerburg’s. 

Facebook is taking yet another move to help businesses in the digital era of customer centricity and experiential marketing. On Wednesday the company announced that Instagram is making it easier for customer service oriented businesses to feature gift cards, online food orders and fundraisers in their profiles or stories, geo-locally targeted at restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses. No, I don’t expect your toddler to get a gift card to feed itself.

Starting Wednesday in the U.S. and Canada, Instagram users can tap on a gift card or food order to make a purchase through a company’s site. Fundraisers created by a business or its supporter will now be opening on Facebook as well. 

Users can spread the word by resharing the stickers in Stories, to encourage their friends and followers to also support small businesses (and ramp up sales for local ones) if they have had (or anticipate) a good customer experience.

While bad customer experiences cost companies revenue, great experiences drive spiraling advocacy. In fact, a good customer experience makes a person five times more likely to recommend a company and more likely to purchase from that brand in the future. Social media outlets have recognized this trend years ago and are now paying particularly close attention to it. 

(Unless you want to be a worker during the Industrial Revolution or get used to “tireless innovation” and 40% increased work days, I suggest you find ways like these to make money while you sleep). 

Some 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of permanently closing over the next five months, should the pandemic and economic shutdown continue, according to a survey published last week by Main Street America, a network of 300,000+ small businesses.

Small businesses are at the center of Facebook’s targeted audience, and profit margins for that matter. The social giant reports that there are 140 million businesses across the Facebook apps and 8 million of them are advertisers.

As seen in CNBC, the majority of them are small and medium-size businesses. On Instagram, 90% of accounts follow at least one business, according to the company. And consumers like having those brands there. A Facebook survey found 76% of Instagram users say brands on the platform are “entertaining” and 77% say the Instagram profiles are “creative.”

The bottom line: small businesses generate crucial revenue for Instagram parent Facebook – at a time when larger brands in the travel and retail space are halting spending. (They also provide valuable content for consumers, exemplifying why social media traffic is surging, and what you’re saying on it matters now more than ever). The goal of B2C social media is not merely an omnichannel approach to communication (which is and should be a surging trend in customer service departments as well), but a tool for spiraling customer advocacy and marketable communication. 

Instagram’s new tools for small businesses aren’t necessarily offered out of altruism or selflessness, of course. Instagram and Facebook need these companies for the health and vibrancy of its own platform to survive. But like any customer-centric service, it provides value for consumers, in this case, small businesses looking to expand marketing campaigns through a cost-effective strategy and organic digital advocacy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and restaurants are the soul of neighborhoods,” says Instagram COO Justin Osofsky. Like any advertisement you’ve seen in the past two months, Instagram “want[s] to do our [their] part in helping them stay open, keep in touch with customers, and be informed on how to navigate this crisis.” 

Social media in the contact center

Now back to the omnichannel thing. According to CCW Digital research: consumers view phone, in-person, live chat and email as the most reliable engagement options, all platforms that were key to quality customer service before the pandemic. Make no mistake, those platforms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, in digital marketing or in customer service. However, SMS, social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, and public customer advocacy and complaint forums will continue to gain popularity for instantaneous inquiries, feedback, and targeted brand reputation in 2025 (especially as personalized traffic and geolocation technologies exponentially advance).

As Lyft social media leader, Chris Vetrano recently told me, there are over 65 social media channels and applications today.

And nearly 84% of consumers are open to sharing positive experiences on social networks, according to a 2019 CCW Digital Market Study. That number is growing during the pandemic’s positive correlation on social media traffic, and will continue as such practices become more standard after one, as seen in Instagram and Facebook’s new design roll outs.

No one’s safe from the behavioral economic consequences brought upon by the coronavirus. But adapting to cost-effective marketing strategies will give you the best chance at being on the favorable side of financial Darwinism. 

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And remember to feed your toddler.