The use of social media is one way to stay in touch with clients. But I would categorize it as a small piece of the engagement puzzle. I caution integrators all the time that social media isn’t a replacement for face-to-face, one-on-one conversations. Yet we see this happen all the time.
In an effort to utilize social media, we run the risk of becoming less social and, in turn, having fewer social skills. We have to manage this accordingly.
In my opinion, social media is an add-on to the sales strategy – not a substitute for making contact with a client. Especially in our millennial workforce, we see a group of people who, for whatever reason, are far more comfortable typing a message than speaking on the phone. They would rather make a YouTube video on their iPad than give a presentation to a room full of people.
To me, customer engagement is about a blend of media, technology, and personal interaction. As business owners and leaders, we have to start with how this fits into an overall company culture perspective and clearly communicate with the sales team on how the company expects social media to be a part of the engagement picture.
Some companies pull this off really well – others don’t.
Being adaptable on an individual client basis is increasingly important. Many clients are requesting the usage of social technologies to stay more current and updated on what’s new and exciting. That really opens up the door to possibilities, and the well-prepared integrators have the advantage. On the other hand, I’ve seen the overuse of social media create exposure that quickly eroded the relationship.
One question I often hear is: “When a sales associate quits, do their social media contacts leave with them?”
They sure do … and where does that leave the business owner? I advise our members to assume that this is going to happen at some point, and to build in safeguards to back up those contacts and have more than one person involved in the social strategy of your company.
If you put all your time and energy into a social media marketing campaign, it can walk out the door. If you do nothing, you get left behind. Like most things, doing social media in moderation is likely the best answer. I also wouldn’t expect an immediate ROI on your social media investment as measured in sales.
Can social media improve customer engagement?
Yes. Especially effective are short video clips when announcing new people, new products, new services, etc. A message from the CEO is an outstanding way to convey the value proposition, the vision, mission, and ethics of your company.
I wouldn’t bombard the customers with these, but perhaps a monthly video announcement would be a great way to make sure they keep up with any changes happening at your business.
Balance is the key: use social media, but don’t become overly dependent on it. If you rely solely on social media exclusively to launch a new product or service, be prepared for disappointing results. If you use it to supplement the primary marketing strategy, you will be much better off.
It’s just one important tool in the toolkit – not the only one. -Chuck Wilson, Executive Director, NSCA (excerpt from The New Rules of Customer Engagement by Daniel Newman)