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Can A Strong Social Media Strategy Strengthen Your Brand?

October 1, 2013BY AMS Editor

Businesses need to use an engaged social media strategy integrated with their distribution ERP system to protect their reputation.

An article on the Aberdeen Group website highlights the growth of social media as a key measure of customer service. On Sept. 2, the article reports, a British Airways customer took to Twitter to complain about his lost luggage. Using the “promoted tweet” function, he was able to spread his message far and wide, tarnishing British Airways’ brand for current and prospective customers.

It took British Airways four hours to respond, saying in part that the company’s “Twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT.” This is unacceptable. The rate at which both positive and negative sentiment can replicate means that companies must be able to recognize and respond to all comments as soon as they hit these social networks.

The British Airways example shows how most companies struggle to listen and respond to social media comments. Waiting four hours to respond in today’s environment can mean disaster in terms of public opinion.

There are new breeds of social listening tools on the market that can be set to listen for tweets and other social media postings about a company’s brand. Furthermore, the tools are able to recognize whether those comments are negative or positive using advanced business intelligence capable of semantic understanding.

Tie this listening into customer service and a distribution ERP system and you have a very capable tool to ensure that your brand is protected. Of course, the “social customer service” department needs to be open beyond 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Today, social channels are just another customer-service medium, and they’re as important, if not more important, than email and the phone.

Furthermore, organizations must have an underlying strategy for social customer service. For example, the plan might be to tweet back to the customer, and then reach out directly to the customer via email or a phone call. In addition, all of the various communication channels need to be integrated into the same set of applications, providing a holistic view of the customer. For example, the social listening tool must be tightly integrated with CRM and ERP so that the customer service agent can have all of the salient details for that customer when responding to an issue. It must also be easy to initiate corrective action, such as enabling customer service agents to create a rush replacement order for a customer who has received a damaged product.

Pay attention to your customers and reap the benefits of positive brand sentiment. As shown in the article, this is a nascent area, meaning early adopters have a very real opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Source: Aberdeen Group, September 2013

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