How do you know if you are living up to your customers' expectations? For 51% of brands, real-time social media engagement is their biggest challenge on social media. Always on, always connected customers demand quick and easy solutions, on the fly, to the issues they're dealing with on a daily basis. However, brands are struggling to meet those expectations and are quickly losing customers, money, and time.
Being able to engage in real-time with your customers won't be an overnight success. The challenges brands face are, however, easy to overcome with this 7-step program. The path to real-time social media engagement starts with acknowledging the challenges brands face and identifying which steps your company needs to take.
Based on brands' current pain points, here's a straightforward 7-step program to master real-time social media engagement:
Step 1: Monitor & Measure the Inflow of Your Brand's Mentions
Listen to your audience on social media and develop an understanding of your brand's reputation. Monitor everything that's being said about your brand, and track all relevant conversations. Don't take immediate action, and listen before even thinking about structuring the way you are going to reply in real-time. Measure who, what, when, where, and how people are talking about your brand.
Step 2: Manage All Incoming Mentions From Just One Place
Keep track of your brand across ALL channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and sources (blogs, forums, news sites, etc.) in a unified, simplified way - from just one place. If you are using several tools and managing multiple social media channels at once, messages often slip through the cracks. Make real-time social media engagement less of a daunting chore, and pull all your messages into just one place with one single tool and a centralized inbox.
From that point on, cut down on inefficiencies and create separate mailboxes to make sure every social media team member or departement replies to the right messages. With separate mailboxes organized in just one place, every team member is up to date on what's being sent from all your accounts.
Step 3: Detect Trends & Top Sources With Social Media Analytics
Once brands have an overview of the data they are pulling, determine the main social media channels you need to be active on. Right after Step 2, turn to the analytics to make sense of the pool of information. Track which questions and complaints you get on a frequent basis.
Deep-diving into the data allows brands to grasp a complete, comprehensive overview of the questions and channels that are most important to their brand. By filtering on the correct keywords (your brand name, products, campaigns, etc.) right from the start, brands will be able to filter through the social media noise.
Step 4: Divide The Workload With Strong Filtering & Separate Mailboxes
As brands see an increase in volume of incoming messages through social, there's a huge need to divide the workload amongst all of the social media team members. In this step, you will have to structure the way you are going to reply to incoming messages. Assign individual tasks to the people working in your team to prevent them from duplicating their efforts when responding to customers.
With personalized mailboxes and special user roles, you can grant your social media team members access to a specific number of messages. Structure incoming messages that are only relevant to a certain amount of people in the company. For example, Customer Support, Marketing, and PR can have their own mailbox. By using automated tags, you can send certain mentions to the right mailbox both manually and automatically.
Step 5: Create A Social Engagement Strategy & Empower Your Team
Without a long-term engagement strategy, there's no value, and the customer is left with a meaningless experience. Create a social engagement strategy that involves all departments. Developing policies isn't a one-man job: compile input from all departments/parties in a company (Sales, HR, Customer Support, Marketing, etc.)
After finalizing your engagement strategy, empower your "frontline" employees to finally put it into practice. Teach the basics, step back, and trust your employees that they will execute it. Understand that you can't control everything, but educating and empowering your employees is already a huge leap forward.
Step 6: Develop One Central, Self-Service Knowledge Hub
Leverage any type of valuable customer feedback to further optimize a central, well-stacked online knowledge hub you can easily direct your customers to for info. Help them find a solution in just one click. By structuring all of this valuable information and tailoring it to your customers' needs, brands can reply within instants, increase efficiency, and further develop their product and service.
From a customer's perspective you only have one relationship with a brand, so storing your information in just one place is essential. Adopt the self-service principle: turn your online support hub into a self-service center which is continuously updated with information to proactively manage customer complaints.
Step 7: Integrate With Other Software to Provide Context for Conversations
Collect as much contextual information about your cross-channel customers as possible. To deliver on an exceptional, unified customer experience, instead of using multiple tools at once, integrate software into one, single social media tool. Develop a well-rounded profile and bundle all of the information you have gathered (through mobile, web, phone, in-store contact, etc.) to complete the digital experience. Integrating other, valuable software adds context to real-time conversations and enables quicker and better solutions.
Curious to see which concrete actions you need to take and which people from your company you should involve? Take a look at this overview to easily grasp the challenges brands face and understand which actions you need to take.