By MIKE GINGERICH
Social media use by persons of all ages continues to grow. It’s not a fad, it’s penetrated to become part of our fabric as a society. As businesses have seen this change, they have responded to incorporate social media as part of their business strategy.
Many use social media as part of a sales and marketing strategy but increasingly we are now seeing social media used by businesses as a fast and efficient support and customer service tool. Here’s how social media can be used as a support channel for a business:
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can all be used as a announcement tool for service issues. For example, if there is a weather emergency, an organization can post a message on its social media accounts to let users know there is a delay or that they are closing early, etc. This is a pro-active way to get a message out quickly where customers, fans and followers can see it and potentially share or re-tweet it so the reach goes out farther and faster.
Many social media software services like HootSuite, PlanYourPost and Sendible allow users to setup searches and monitor terms. You could monitor terms for your business name so that you catch “social chatter” related to your company and can respond to comments, questions and complaints. This is sometimes called “social listening.” Listening and monitoring can help a company offer assistance, which can help boost sales and solve customer issues. Cable giant Comcast is noted for this as they have staff monitoring terms on Twitter, for example, so that they can review and respond if someone is tweeting about a Comcast cable service issue.
Quick response mechanism
Sometimes the best response is a quick response! If a customer is having trouble setting up your product, purchasing your product online, or wanting to know something, a quick response can make all the difference in the world in terms of their overall satisfaction. Allowing users to send your company a tweet or post on your Facebook page News Feed allows your company the opportunity to publicly respond. This can solve the issue for the requester but also answer that same question for others who were getting ready to inquire! This public answering can help elevate your company and be a differentiator between your company and a competitor.
Real world example
A utility provider in Arkansas, Entergy Arkansas, recently used its Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/EntergyARK) as a key support tool during weather-related power outages in its service area. While the company Facebook page notes that it is primarily monitored during business hours, the page offers key resources using TabSite’s tools to add resource tabs to the fan page so that users can view information on Facebook about service outages and getting power back. By posting updates on its Facebook page and using tabs on its page, fans of the page are kept abreast of the latest information and can share this with others.
Ultimately, the more options for getting information out quickly and effectively to customers, the better. So, like many businesses, it may be time to take a deeper look at social media not only as a marketing opportunity but also as a support channel.
Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing. For more information on Tabsite, visit www.tabsite.com.