The social media opportunities that most businesses overlook

Posted by Vlad Rascanu on 27 Apr, 2016
View comments Social Media
Social media has evolved so much in so little time that it’s very hard for brands to keep up with changes and stay abreast of new challenges and opportunities as they emerge, let alone take advantage of them.

There are a few general rules of thumb that anyone with minimal social media experience will identify with: engage with your customers, pay attention to what they post and share valuable content regularly. These practices have become something that every user expects by default. If a user encounters a post with little value it will be overlooked or considered spam. If this happens regularly, the page might be unliked or the Twitter account unfollowed. If a user posts a question on a company’s Facebook or Twitter page, the expectation is that it is answered in a timely fashion.

Why is this important? Social commerce is growing in popularity and peer recommendations play an important role in the buyer journey. Some consumers go a stage further, with many reports citing social media as an important factor in the decision making and purchase process. This means staying on the right side ofthe social media population could have positive financial implications. 
With social media wielding a clear influence, opportunities are plentiful for brands willing to invest time, effort and creativity into their social media presence. If you’re not sure how to tap into this potential, here are 3 social media opportunities that most businesses overlook.

Customer Support

One of the biggest advantages of social media is that it can be used by businesses to provide direct, real time, cheap and satisfying customer support. 

  • In its 2015 Customer Service on Twitter playbook, Twitter says, “Interactions on Twitter improve your ability to deliver exceptional customer service efficiently; agents can respond more quickly and cheaply, often at a cost that’s 80 percent less than by phone”
  • Research collated by author Jay Baer suggests 42% of consumers using social media to complain expect to receive a response in no more than 60 minutes - giving a very short time frame in which to get things right.

Given those facts and the low cost of service, it only makes me wonder why so many businesses overlook this excellent opportunity. Using social media for customer support requires a fast response time and a can-do attitude to solve problems for consumers. An organized, switched on team or a dedicated hire should make this possible. If you’re worried about having complaints on your main social media profiles, some brands such as the online clothing retailer, ASOS have dedicated profiles for customer service.

In case you are wondering what to do if your customers don’t use social media for support naturally, the answer is simple – encourage it. A 24/7 always open approach will be too much for most brands but, it should be feasible to monitor during your standard operating hours. It’s much more convenient for both sides than a telephone waiting game so why not give it a try?

Hot tip: If a customer shares his or her problem on your wall publicly, be professional and polite in your response. Respond publicly but offer to take a more detailed response offline or to a private message and show everyone that you have nothing to hide.

Check out those examples of well-known brands that accept responsibility and are not afraid to admit they messed up publicly (source).


Looking for new opportunities to reach your target audience

Consumer habits and preferences shift very fast nowadays, including social media platform preferences. Businesses need to be mindful of new opportunities to reach the target audience.  Using social media for market research is a good way to get started.

Snapchat has recently gained a lot of momentum with its customer engagement, video consumption and concentration of Millennials. Despite its relatively small active user base (there are around 100 million daily active users according to VentureBeat), it still rivals the amount of videos viewed on Facebook so is worth considering if you are a retailer.

Additionally, Snapchat users are considered to be more engaged with the platform, treating it like an extension of their own personal brand, rather than a social network, that they regularly visit to keep on top of the latest news. Chief executive Evan Spiegel says 65% of Snapchat users upload content regularly. He cautions that the platform is built for people not brands so a softly softly approach is needed.

A study by ComScore found that Snapchat has the sixth highest concentration of Millennials, putting it on a par with BuzzFeed and Tinder which ranked fourth and fifth respectively. If this demographic matches with your own, don’t be afraid to embrace this new opportunity to connect with your target audience outside of your comfort zone. 

Recruit top talent

In today’s highly competitive and very fluid landscape, it’s hard to find qualified talent, and even when you do, it’s rather costly to hire these people. Social media can be effectively used to find highly skilled professionals in virtually any industry, while avoiding high headhunting fees. 

In addition, you are more likely to find people who are already engaged with your brand on social media, which makes them even better candidates.

Here are three effective ways companies can attract qualified talent using resources such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter:

  • Promote your vision – by promoting your company vision, you are more likely to find potential hires that share the same values you do.
  • Involve your employees – using the social networks of existing employees will help extend social reach. It also improves your chances of recruiting the right person for each job position.
  • Share the positive experiences of your company culture – by showcasing your company culture in real life via social media, you will not only get free PR, but also get potential applicants excited about joining your team.

Those are just three opportunities that can (and should) be used by businesses going social. Depending on your industry, engagement level, fan base and your preferred social media tools, other opportunities should regularly present themselves. 

How proactive are you about maximizing social media opportunities for your brand? Have you tried these three approaches or do you favor others? Let us know in the comments.


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