Social Media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enable their users to communicate and interact online by creating and sharing content and messaging. Whilst social platforms such as forums have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web, in the last ten years or so, we have seen a surge in both the number and popularity of social media sites.
Social media sites make it easy to publish any content and share it online, either with a select group of ‘friends’ or broadcast more widely. They have also removed all the technical requirements for publishing content (e.g., learning HTML), making publishing so trivial that many users do it several times a day.
Social Media and traditional media differ in that traditional media is ‘one-to-many’ (think of a TV news bulletin), whereas Social Media is ‘Many-to-Many.’
Social media is an opportunity to form closer bonds with customers and differentiate yourself from the competition. However, social media does require careful management and monitoring, as many company social media ‘gaffs’ have shown.
Social media platforms have grown explosively in the last few years. The figures are astonishing:
- 3.8 billion social media users across all platforms in 2020 (total world population is 7.7 billion) (Source: We Are Social)
- Facebook has over 2.8 Billion active monthly users (Source: Statista)
- Social Commerce is predicted to rise to $600 by 2027 (Source: Research & Markets)
Should my company be on Social Media?
Simply because all your customers are on social media. They interact on social channels with their friends, colleagues and brands, looking for entertainment, inspiration, information and recommendations. If your business is not part of the conversation, one of your competitors will be. Social Media should be fully integrated into your marketing efforts and your customer service to promote your brand and serve your customers. Social Media can be used for communicating with customers, building your brand and driving sales in the following ways:
- Customer service. Customers expect to be able to contact businesses through their social media presence, particularly Facebook messenger.
- Sharing content. Share content related to your business and fun stuff that you think your audience will enjoy.
- Sharing offers. Sharing selected offer with you customer can help drive sales.
- Shopping. Facebook and Instagram now offer a shopfront that links through to an eCommerce website. Soon, this will develop into a fully-fledged marketplace.
- Advertising. All the significant platforms offer advertising programme, which enables businesses to create super-targeted adverts.
The Major Social Networks
The biggest social networks have billions of users all over the world.
These users are not just using the platform once a day but visiting multiple times:
Source: Our Social Times
Social Customer Service
Social customer service provides consumer support through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to quickly answer questions. 69% of customers believe the problem’s fast resolution is vital to good service, making social consumer support necessary as this is the first port of call for many consumers (source: Zendesk).
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have developed into vital communication channels for brands. They are also channels through which consumers request and receive customer service. 90% of consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand (source: Sprout Social). Over one third said they preferred social media over traditional contact methods such as phone and email.
The best practice is to frequently monitor your Social Media channels for messages and integrate them with your customer service system.