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June 2015

Using Social Media for Customer Service is Now Mandatory

customer service_Focal_PointDo You Use Social Media for Customer Service?

Utilizing social media for customer service is no longer optional, it’s mandatory.  While many digital marketers have heard stories about large companies who are using social media effectively as a customer support channel, there are a lot of small to medium size businesses who are missing the boat.  Many businesses still see handling customer requests and complaints via social media as a burden rather than the incredible opportunity it really is.  These businesses see it as an area that requires time and resources, instead of an area that can create die-hard brand advocates.  But as I look at the social media marketing landscape as a whole, I see not having an online customer service plan as an Achilles heel.

The reason why I say this confidently is that the two social media giants – Facebook and Twitter have continued to take big steps toward making customer service a priority.  First it was back in April when Twitter allowed direct messages to be sent to users that are not following you.  Then, most recently, Facebook added a feature allowing business pages to manage saved replies making it easier than ever to answer FAQ’s.  Both of these moves indicate to me that there’s more to come and plenty of opportunity for businesses to start taking advantage of these features right now.  Let’s take a closer look…

Direct Messages on Twitter

twitter-direct-message

If you remember, it used to be that in order to direct message someone on Twitter, they first had to be following you.  This created another layer of friction when dealing with customer service online.  Let’s say I had a complaint about a cold cup of coffee I received at a Starbucks.  I would be forced to post that complaint publicly on Twitter as a regular @ reply unless Starbucks was already following me on Twitter (highly unlikely).  Then, in order for them to respond to me via a direct message, I would have to be following their account.  Kind of messy, right?  Not only did it mean more complaints posted publicly, it meant additional steps just to get something resolved.  This often added frustration to these type of communications online.

Now Twitter has done away with these added steps.  On the downside, it means anyone can direct message you which could be a little strange, but on the plus side it means customer service on Twitter is easier and faster than ever.  And when you really stop to think about it, that’s the way it should be.  Customers expect to get response and get them fast using social media.  In fact, often times they’ll use social media when unable to get through to someone using other traditional types of communication such as a phone call or email.  Twitter has made it easier and faster than ever by rolling out this update to make it the preferred social network for customer service.  Why?  Because you are limited to just 140 characters, so you know it’s going to be fast!

Need help using Twitter for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Replies on Facebook

facebook-saved-replies

Facebook is driving more attention than ever to its messages.  Each time a message is received by a brand page, there are additional notifications (beyond the standard number icon) showing how long the average response time is and how many messages have not been responded to.  Facebook is urging brands to respond to all messages as fast as possible.  In fact, if you average less than 5 minutes responding to 90% of your messages, a special green icon and notice can be adding to your Facebook page letting fans know you have extremely fast response times.

Further, Facebook recently made it possible to save replies; even creating pre-populated messages that can be used to answer FAQ’s.  There’s personalization that can be added to the messages such as a greeting which automatically pulls in the Facebook user’s first name and email signature style closings which can even use saved photos and emoticons.  This makes it easy to build up a library of answers which can be reused over and over again further speeding up response time.  I think there’s plenty more to come from Facebook yet in 2015 on the customer service front, but this was a great start.

Need help using Facebook for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Strategic Planning

Moving forward, it’s clear there will be even more of an emphasis on using social media for customer service than ever before.  This gives businesses who “get it” a distinct advantage over those who show up late for the party, or don’t show up at all.  It’s going to be expected more and more that companies of all sizes are staffed and prepared to respond to requests via social media in a timely manner.  That’s just the bottom line.  And those who fail to do so, will risk gaining a poor reputation by getting blasted in online reviews and comments.   It must be a part of any social media marketing strategic plan moving forward.

Need help understanding how to use social media for customer service?  Please contact us today to talk.

Periscope Makes All Marketers Live Broadcasters…Now What?

Periscope

A hot topic lately in the digital marketing/social media space has been some major updates in the way of live mobile streaming.  First we had Meerkat, an app which allows you to stream live video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once.  And then along came Twitter owned Periscope, which many are predicting will make Meerkat quickly obsolete.  While they both essentially allow you to do the same thing, the fact that Periscope is Twitter owned has propelled its success and peaked the interest of marketers everywhere.  But when it comes to online marketing strategy, the big questions with new technology is always – what happens next and does it make sense to jump in?  I’m not sure I have definitive answers to either of those questions at the moment, but here are some things to consider.

Periscope Has Big Potential
Social media, along with the continuing worldwide adoption of smartphones, has essentially given all of us the ability to broadcast news in real time.  It’s no longer uncommon for the traditional morning or nightly news on TV to simply be repeating stories we’ve already seen and heard throughout the day via social media.  Now, with the introduction of Periscope and Meerkat the news game has definitely changed again.

To be able to broadcast live video of events even before or at the same time as traditional media means huge potential to capture an audience…especially if that broadcaster is able to cover that same event better.   Think about it for a minute. Well known sites like TechCrunch that traditionally live blog Apple events via photos, and text will now be fighting with others for the best position for a live broadcast of the event.  While it means more competition, it also means way more potential to interact with viewers live and add some on-air personality to the event.

News Is Important To Every Marketer
Being in the know about news and the first to break big stories isn’t just important for big sites like TechCrunch.  It’s important to the every day marketer as well.  Let’s say you work for an auto dealership and part of your job is attending trade shows where new product announcements are made.  With Periscope, you can essentially become a news reporter broadcasting live to your followers from the event as the announcements are being made.  Now you’re the go-to source, not the other big names/traditional outlets out there.

How Else Is It Being Used?


The biggest advantage Periscope and other live video streaming apps bring to the table for marketers is the ability to get feedback in real time and interact with an audience instantly.  As I was looking through some Periscope feeds, I saw Ellen DeGeneres live streaming on Periscope as she was filming her show.  Using her phone, she was able to go into the audience and interact LIVE while also being recorded.  She was also able to read feedback she was getting in the chat and respond to viewers.

Ready to talk online marketing strategy?  Contact me here!

Who Owns The Content?
A huge question has to do with the ownership of the content being broadcasted…specifically in sporting events.  Here’s what was found in this Huffington Post article

“Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. — Richard A. Denmon ”

As the author of the Huntington Post article, Kevin Siskar, indicates this would suggest that capturing video from your own viewpoint during a sporting event via your iPhone would mean that you own the content.  Fair enough…

But what happens when someone attempts to live stream via Periscope the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight in May when it’s a pay per view ticket going for $90?  Then do the lines get a little blurry?

Mayweather- Pacquia Poster

Also, what happens the first time someone attempts to Periscope a movie live from the theater?  I’m sure that’s already happening as I write this, but what are the consequences these people will face once the need to police it becomes real?

Will The Quality Be Good Enough?

Another huge question/concern when it comes to streaming video is always: will the quality be good enough?  Yes, the app is very new, but there are a lot of things left to be desired when it comes to the quality of some of the video I have seen.  Granted Internet connection and device will always play into this, but the service must prove that it’s reliable if mainstream adoption is going to happen.

What Should You Do Next?

If you are in the online marketing world, you should be keeping an eye on Periscope and Meerkat.  But should you jump in and start using if for yourself?  I’d say unless you have already built a sizeable audience elsewhere and just want to connect on a new level, the answer is no.  Focus on growing your audience other places first before you ask them to adopt someone so new.  Now, if you’ve already got 41 million followers on Twitter like Ellen, then by all means go ahead.  But either way, keep an eye on this trend and keep notes.  The continued live broadcasting breakthroughs aren’t just a fad.

Ready to talk online marketing strategy?  Contact me here!

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