Earlier today, the BBC News website posted an article entitled Are Twitter and Facebook changing the way we complain?, focussing on how, in a digital age, the way in which we contact big companies has shifted away from the stern letter or phone call and instead to public messages via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
It's definitely an interesting topic, and one which rings very true. Over the last year or two, as a fairly active user of social media, I've certainly seen a shift in brands using social media sites as customer service. Complaints will generally be sorted promptly (brands want to avoid 'public humiliation' as much as possible) but it also provides a great platform for companies to engage and interact with their customers too.
Take HMV for instance, who, alongside their main Twitter account, also have several social media co-ordinators each with their own account. They will deal with any problems customers have had, but also ask questions, recommend films and music, and post images from their offices.
Much in the same way, the team who manage the Tesco Customer Care Twitter account will help resolve any complaints and respond to positive comments too. Back last year I myself tweeted that I was tucking into a Tesco BLT sandwich, only to receive a direct response back moments later complimenting my choice.
Social media is a great way to help a serious-fronted corporate brand be personal and connect to the customer base they rely on. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, but simple messages that show an understanding of where the customers are coming from can create a stronger connection or loyalty to the brand, which can only help sales in the long term.
An important point in the article comes from Richard Dodd, of the British Retail Consortium, who says that "If you are actively engaging in social media you are setting up an expectation amongst customers that they will receive a response, so you have to be geared up to fulfil those expectations." You need to be able to manage a social media strategy effectively so as not to unintentionally damage your brand.
Of course, it's absolutely fine to have a social media presence and not be too heavily involved in it, but it's an area of communication which is only going to grow and so it is something that companies need to seriously think about.
Whether you've just dabbled and would like to improve your social media presence, or have no experience at all, Real Point can help. We can plan an ongoing social media strategy for your business or even take on managing campaigns for you. See what we can offer by calling us on 01676 521 444 with your requirements.