It’s true having an organisational Facebook page, for example, will mean assigning at least one person to managing the feedback on that page. In our experience, people complain on social media when they’ve had no satisfaction from other avenues.
However, not having an official Facebook page or Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re not being discussed on social media.
It’s just happening on your customers’ pages, their friends’ pages and possibly your competitors’ pages too. (The average Australian Facebook user has 338 friends, by the way, so bad news truly does travel fast these days.) Not being privy to these conversations means you’ll never have the opportunity to address the complaint or influence community perceptions.
Many leading brands now accept social media community management as an integral part of customer service: a mandatory price of doing business.
So, if your organisation is still holding out on social media as a risk mitigation strategy, make sure you’ve taken these other factors into account:
1. Social media contributes to consumer trust. Consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. A friend’s “Like” of your page or product is the most influential and credible endorsement you can get. (Nielsen; 2013)
2. Social media participation shows you’re listening to your customers which, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, is the most important driver of trust in a business. It’s also where most organisations, including those in the public sector, fall down in earning consumer trust. More than 81 percent of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints, according to an Oracle survey.
3. Listening gives you instant qualitative feedback, allowing smart businesses to improve their product and/or their messaging and promotions.
4. Social media provides a one-to-many platform when you need it most. When a Southwest Airlines Flight 345 experienced equipment failure and an uncontrolled landing at LaGuardia Airport on July 23, 2013, 10 passengers were hurt. Within 30 minutes the airline had deployed a social media strategy, updating the public and creating an official hashtag to aggregate information. Service failure for your business might not be life threatening, but leading the conversation and managing customer expectations helps stop an issue from developing into a brand-damaging crisis.
5. The best place to address an attack is on the medium where it first appears. If a dissatisfied customer or a disgruntled employee disparages your business on social media, that’s where the market (and journalists) will be watching for your response. Sure, you can always quickly create an account if it hits the fan, but is that really when you want to be dipping your toes into social for the first time?
6. You’re missing out on the chance to share your successes. Consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences (American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer) So when consumers start to research your business on social media (which they increasingly do), all they’re likely to find are a litany of unanswered complaints. On the other hand, if your competitors are visibly promoting their strengths and servicing their customers…
7. If you don’t claim your identity, someone else will. Ikea, Starbucks, Apple and Jetstar Australia are just some of the brands that have been impersonated in social media with potentially disastrous results. In all cases they had official accounts that gave them a platform and an established audience to expose the “imposter pages” and manage the situation. Anyone could create a Facebook page or Twitter account in your businesses’ name, but if you’ve already staked your claim and established a following, they’re less likely to cause confusion or damage. You can also apply to Twitter and Facebook to have your account “verified”, to further protect your brand.
Of course it’s not enough to simply “be on” social media. You need a strategy that includes governance, resourcing, community management processes, content and R.O.I measurement. Mediafriendly works with businesses of all sizes to develop their social media strategy and expertise. If you’d like to discuss how we can help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org