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Who Leads Your Social Activities? Does It Matter?

As organisations evolve engagement with customers through social and mobile channels, customers are responding and engaging with both organisations and each other and there are new disciplines emerging across organisations whose role it is to lead and manage these engagements.

To date, social engagement is generally led by either the marketing or customer service teams and in many large organisations these activities remain in their own silos and this can have an impact on the sentiment and key topics being discussed.

Looking at the online sentiment of a range of brands between January and June 2013, using the Crimson Hexagon Forsight platform, there is a clear distinction between organisations whose customer service teams are leading the conversation and other brands whose marketing teams are running the show.

The chart below shows; the volume of conversations and the percentage of positive, neutral and negative comments, for Sky, Virginmedia and giffgaff, organisations whose social customer engagement is primarily driven by the customer service teams.


 Service Led Social


It is clear that there is a general bias towards negative sentiment for all 3 brands, which makes sense if you look at the level of interaction each of these brands have with their customers in their own help communities, other social channels and also within independently owned and managed online forums and communities like moneysaving expert, digital spy and mumsnet.

Looking at the chart it makes sense that if your social engagement strategy is driven by a business model based on call deflection from the call centre to a peer to peer community, where solutions are retained and reused, customers work with each other and employees to solve customer issues and complaints, then those conversation are likely to be more negative in their nature. 

On the other hand organisations whose social customer engagement is driven by the marketing teams have a much more positive bias as can be seen in the chart below:


Organisations that have a multiple teams involved in their social strategy, like Starbucks, where they engage their customers across multiple social and mobile channels, and involve teams from across the business in both defining the conversation topics and in engaging with customers. 

So, what does this tell us…

In my view, this shows that organisations need to be looking at how they form partnerships not only with their customers but also with other teams within their own organisations and to look at where customers are engaging online line and how they can identify key conversation topics, which are relevant to both customers and the organisation.

…what can you do about it in your organisation?

Once again using Crimson Hexagon Forsight platform, or similar social insight platform with extensive historical social data, you can

  • map where your customer conversations are taking place across different social channels,  
  • identify different consumer groups engaged in conversation about you and your competitors
  • identify key conversation topics of interest to the different consumer groups
  • map key conversation topics to your internal interests
  • develop a valuable community and content strategy which encompasses both employee & customer interests 

In order to map this data in one area, I have developed the employee customer conversation matrix, which enables an organisation to map, the conversations and identify key areas and topics where customer communities can be created and leveraged by the organisation, see example below:



It is important to engage multiple teams within your organisation with multiple external customer groups, allows organisations to be able to leverage engaged customers in

  • marketing and campaign planning and execution
  • customer service and experience
  • production innovation, development and launch

Today, your social activities may be led by one area of your business and this may be skewing the conversation taking place about your organisation online, it is important to see social not just as a silo within another silo, your customers don’t see your silos when they deal with you, they just see you as one entity and want to buy your products, get help with servicing them or help you improve and test them.

Don’t dismiss your interested and engaged customers’ partner with them and GROW!

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