Getting multiple teams to co-ordinate on social media isn't easy. Here are three great examples of integrated social media strategies, each of which offers a different insight into how to succeed.
AO.com - innovation
AO.com sells white goods to UK households and, by all accounts, does a pretty good job of it. The company uses social media a lot and had a well developed social media strategy. AO.com's primary human interaction with customers occurs via their delivery teams, so that many of the compliments or negative posts they receive on social media relate to the professionalism and friendliness, or otherwise, of their delivery teams.
Most companies would see this as a customer experience challenge: how can we ensure customers have a great delivery experience?
But as Social Media Manager, Yossi Erdman, explains in the video above (scroll to 15 mins 15 seconds), AO.com has an integrated social media strategy, which means their customer service team understands and works closely with Marketing. As a result, they saw this both as a challenge and an opportunity, asking instead a broader question: 'How can we ensure that our customers have a great deliver experience and how can we amplify this to attract more customers?'
As a direct result they created a hard-copy Drivers Feedback Book, to be published every two weeks by the Customer Service team, containing positive and negative comments posted to the AO.com Facebook page. It's a collection of verbatim customer comments, with diver names included, if they're mentioned.
This has led drivers to be both hyper-aware of their behaviour with customers and, crucially, to actively ask customers to post about their positive experiences on Facebook. This has driven a wave of Facebook testimonials and, inevitably, a flow of new customer enquiries. From a service challenge, emerges a marketing result.
General Motors - co-location
Until 2013 GM's social media channels were managed by multiple teams across Marketing, Sales and Customer Service - a fragmentation that almost every large brand will be familiar with. As a result, the company struggled to maintain a seamless customer experience on social media.
According to Whitney Drake, Manager of Social Strategy and Care for GM North America: "One of the things we found early on is that we were constantly stepping on each other's toes. In order to be successful, we needed to define what we now call 'swim lanes' of clearly defined responsibilities."
Then, in April 2013, led by Social Media COE, Dr Rebecca Harris, GM co-located their Marketing, Communications and Service teams into a single building in Detroit. This move proved the catalyst for a radical improvement in their social media performance - including reducing response rates (previously over 24 hours) to less than 90 minutes on Facebook and Twitter and 3 hours on specialist forums.
They now have a team of 500 employees engaging with customers across 400 different social media channels, including 20 Facebook pages for the US alone. The core team sits facing a bank of 16 monitors, which they use to identify customer enquiries, marketing opportunities and other opportunities before channeling them out to the wider team.
Interestingly, when asked, Dr Harris cites one of the primary outcomes of the centralization of the social media team being the shift towards a more collaborative culture. This has, in turn, made it clear that other teams (finance, IT, legal...) needed to be in the room to expedite certain decisions, putting GM firmly on the road - if you'll excuse the pun - to becoming a social business.
KLM - strategic alignment
Long vaunted as an example of corporate social media success, most people don't know that KLM's success was triggered by necessity. During the Icelandic volcano eruption in April 2010 the company had so many social enquiries, they had to temporarily draft in 150 staff to manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The lessons of that crisis were quickly learned. In 2010 KLM combined the social media teams from Corporate Communications and E-commerce to form a centralized Social Media Hub that could manage marketing, sales and service enquiries. A year later, the company was among the first airlines to launch 24/7 social media coverage across multiple channels.
KLM has continued to innovate in social media - but always with services that combine service, sales and marketing to positive effect for customers. In 2014 they launched a scheme, initiated by a customer service agent, where customers can pay for tickets by receiving a simple payment link in a private Facebook message or DM on Twitter.
This fluid co-ordination between often silo'd teams reflects the approach of Martijn van der Zee, VP Ecommerce at Air France-KLM who is as passionate about developing a collaborative culture as Dr Harris of GM. Writing in a 2014 blog post he said: "I fully recognize the need for coherence in the services you develop as a company. But this coherence won't come from a strategy document or an aligned vision document, but from your gut".