There is no doubt that the biggest trend that we are seeing among our customers and prospects is the desire to manage social media more effectively. This means more efficiently and effectively internally, and more effectively in being able to build audiences and target customers with the more relevant information which enhances the customer experience.
Turning away from point solutions
The leading social media management platforms have been providing excellent integrated solutions for some years e.g. Adobe, Percolate, Spredfast, Sprinklr. However there have been some specific social media functions which have been well-served by very popular point-solutions. Up to now these point solutions have been hard to displace in many organisations. The main reasons for this resistance are firstly, the lack of a coherent data-driven enterprise-wide approach to social media and the customer experience, and secondly because individuals don’t like to change from their personal preferences.
Now, at this time in 2018, this has changed, for a number of reasons.
The drivers are costs but the expectations are better outcomes
Many firms have invested, and continue to spend, significant amounts of on a range of social media activities – usually disconnected activities. There is a questioning of the value being received, along with a questioning of how to scale up as things get more complicated. In most organisations social has developed more as a “me too” activity – lacking coherent business cases and holistic strategy even within one function e.g. marketing, let alone across the enterprise. For example:
- How do you discern key messages in social media related to a current “brand incident” and use that to adjust the tone of marketing, executive engagement and social customer support?
- Is your “aspirational” “feel good” TV campaign generating a backlash due to operational and trust failures in managing your core business, and how does the organisation best engage in those discussions?
To be able to monitor these types of questions, and to draw insights, and to then plan organisational responses requires an enterprise-wide approach to social media management. There is no doubt that businesses with a holistic organisational-wide approach to social media management are able to deploy social data into their business decisions in a more agile, efficient and innovate way.
Microsoft, for example, uses social listening to process 150 million digital conversations a year. It uses these insights to inform not just its content strategy, but its business strategy and customer experience more broadly.
Social data integrates and informs the customer experience
A customer-first strategy requires firms to collect actionable data about individual customers about their characteristics, their past behaviour and their likely behaviour. This includes data derived from profiles and interactions in social channels. That seems kind of obvious, and yet most organisations have not equipped themselves with the systems capability to layer unstructured social data on top of customer data e.g. purchase history or website footprint history.
The leading companies are deploying enterprise-grade social management systems into their enterprise architecture. They are connecting critical components of the marketing technology stack – like CMS, CRM, and analytics – with their content marketing and customer care solutions to ensure a seamless flow of actionable information.
Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest companies in the world, does exactly that, managing content creation, approvals, publication, paid amplification and marketing automation in a seamless, efficient way.
With this kind of integration between social data and other enterprise data, organisations can build workflows which:
- Analyse sales and social data in the same report to uncover & understand trends, leverage all enterprise data to drive more effective social advertising, and identify and engage brand advocates to increase campaign awareness and success;
- Connect social insights with other marketing efforts. By monitoring key trends and sentiment across social channels develop a clear understanding of real-time customer experience and perception of their brand and engage with audiences in their preferred channel with targeted outbound content including via marketing automation;
- Enable their teams to create customer service tickets directly from engagement on social channels and manage them from within the social engagement interface. Teams use detailed social insights, as well as data from the CRM, to inform personalised engagement and care to better serve the brand experience;
- Support consistent standards and governance policies for posting to social – avoiding the all-too-common disjointed campaigns and inconsistent brand voice; and,
- Enable their employees to work together in real time across departments, markets, and silos, to manage customer experience at scale.
Deploying point solutions ultimately creates more barriers in between the brand and the customers it’s meant to serve. Customer experience is poised to replace marketing automation or similar labels as the key description of what brands do when they interact with customers. This requires data-integration across all points of customer contact and all customer-related records.
Enterprise social media management platforms which integrate with the enterprise architecture and provide social marketing, advertising, research, care and commerce are the only effective way to build leverage and manage complexity at scale.