By Sean Hawkins
Who should be in charge of your company's social media, Customer Service, Marketing, or perhaps Sales? For organizations wanting a positive and meaningful presence on social media, this question must be answered with thoughtful consideration. There are varying opinions among experts, and I must confess, I find relevancy in most of them. However, I think each business must look at a few factors when determining who will ultimately be responsible for social media.
What is the purpose?
In the quest to “become social”, this question is often overlooked. However, this should be the first step in planning process. The rush to become a social media adopter, often comes at the expense of failing to define why a presence is needed. So, ask your teams, “Why do we need to be on social media?”
Each team will have a different response. The sales team will obviously want to increase sale opportunities, while the support team will want to assist and engage customers. From a marketing perspective, social media is a gift form the gods! All of these teams have a valid reason to manage social media. However, the social message would be different for each.
Simply put, the social message is what you are tweeting, posting or blogging. Numerous messages, has the potential to confuse your audience. This confusion will lead to bad experiences and a bad reputation.
Who is the intended audience?
Every social communication should be made with an audience in mind. Furthermore, it should lead to a call to action or, cause a reaction. Your presence can lead to customer retention, increased sales, or a greater visibility. Most importantly, your communications will find a target. As the saying goes, “the odds of hitting your target go up dramatically when you aim at it.” Defining who you want to reach, increases your chances of connecting with them.
Defining your audience will lead you closer to determining who will handle social media.
Rather than having one team manage social media, a multi-presence approach may work best. Each team will have their own presence in the social spaces. Collaboration, communication and cross training, will ensure each team’s message and audience connects.
All teams should communicate internally regarding their external message. What is the benefit? Consider a customer who reached the Sales team via Twitter regarding a service related issue. With prior feedback from the support team, there is a greater chance of first contact resolution. This leads to a better overall experience for the customer. What is the alternative?
Have you ever received a response via social, to call or email support? That alone can be a bother. This is compounded by internal communication failures in which you must repeat your problem again, to someone who had no idea you made previous contact with the organization. I don't suggest that a channel pivot from social is never warranted, but I am suggesting it be done as a necessity, and not due to poor processes.
It’s all about the customer
Social media has taught us much about the customer relationship. Most importantly, we understand it has given customers the ability to instantly shape a brand's perception. What brands are doing social media well? Ask their customers! The same can be said for the brands that are failing. A quick visit to social media, is all it takes.
We owe it to our customers, as well as our organization, to provide the best service. We must be willing to meet them where they are (yes, that means social) and remove any barriers.
I have over 15 years of progressive customer service leadership experience in the public, private and government sectors. I have led or consulted contact centers of various sizes across numerous industries. Additionally, I’ve implemented new technology and products, while maintaining award-winning contact centers.
Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.