Just as no two brands are created equal, the way in which different brands use social media can vary quite significantly, too. From “post and pray” social media newbies to seasoned marketers who have truly cracked the code for driving long-term business value through social media efforts – and, of course, everyone else in between – there are a lot of places where brands can sit on the social media maturity spectrum. This is underscored by the fact that only a mere 13 percent of major brands in the U.S. say they have implemented sufficient social media tools, platforms, and systems to scale and grow their digital footprint.
So, after having worked with a number of brands of all shapes and sizes, we thought it was about time to get a handle on social media marketing maturity . How did we do it? We put our heads together and thought about the commonalities that exist from one brand to another and throughout their respective journeys with social media marketing. When all was said and done, it was pretty clear that the majority of brands roughly fit into three buckets – or, rather, three incremental stages of social media marketing maturity.
To learn more about what those stages of social media marketing maturity are, check out our amazing eBook, “Social Media Has Grown Up. Have You?” Here are a just a few things that you’ll learn by downloading :
Learn about the three stages of social media marketing maturity
Understand the ins and outs of each stage along the spectrum
Assess where your brand sits within each stage of maturity
Get tips on how to move up through or make the most of the various stages
Learn how technology can be your instant catalyst for raising your social media game
That’s just a sneak peek. Now, I'll invite you to download the eBook and learn more about the stages of social media maturity as well as how you can work your way up to the top.
While you’re at it, learn more about how Lithium can help today.
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Creating stellar digital customer experiences is a massive priority for many brands today. In fact, about 90 percent have said they plan to compete this year primarily on the basis of digital customer experience alone. And while those experiences can take many shapes and forms, there’s one thing we know to be true: a great digital customer experience is one that closes the gap between brand and customer, making transactions, information-finding, and all other kinds of service and support as simple and streamlined as possible.
For many brands, the ability to chat one-on-one with customers instantly (aka, “live chat”) has become a game-changer. Facebook knows this, and has made it even easier for brands to talk to customers without any barriers standing in the way with the beta release of Facebook Messenger Customer Chat , a plugin that lets brands host Facebook Messenger conversations directly on their own websites.
Lithium supports Facebook Messenger Customer Chat. To start taking advantage of this plugin within the Lithium Social Media Management platform , just reach out to your customer success team or leave us a note in the comments section of this post. We’ll get back to you right away with details
Benefits of Customer Chat for brands are as follows:
It’s seamless across both desktop and mobile, enabling the brand to have a continuous conversation with the same agent across devices and platforms – whether customers choose to engage on Facebook Messenger on a brand’s website, on the Facebook website, or via the Facebook Messenger app. Customers now have an easier way to communicate instantly with brands within an environment (Facebook) they are familiar with.
Brands will now have access to the full conversation history on Facebook Messenger with any given customer, regardless of agent or service inquiry.
And thanks to the information that customers choose to share via their Facebook profiles, agents will be able to personalize their interactions. Unlike typical “live chat” conversations that are almost entirely anonymous, Facebook Customer Chat will make it possible for customer service agents to know a little bit more about who they are talking to and better understand more of the relationship that a specific customer has with their brand.
And for Lithium customers, you can manage all of this within Lithium SMM.
Almost one-third of consumers say they will visit a brand’s website, blog, or social channels first to engage with a brand, ask questions, learn more, or research specific products and services (vs. 17 percent who say they prefer to do this in-store). This number will only increase as more and more people become digital-first in their habits. And as this happens, it’ll be your responsibility to deliver the best digital customer experiences imaginable, regardless of the channel. The time to get ahead of the curve is now. After all, your customers expect it.
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The Growing Trend of Social Customer Care The future of social customer care is now – and brands know it.
Truth be told, the entire team at Lithium saw this trend coming a long time ago. Because social is an effective conversational medium, it was only a matter of time until brands started catching on – or rather, had no choice but to catch on because their consumers were already reaching out to them via social platforms to ask questions, get help, and voice all sorts of concerns.
We’ve even found in our own research that roughly one-third of consumers will flock to social media – from major social networks to a brand’s community – as a first line of defense to do research or get additional information before they’ll even consider picking up the phone. They know that, more often than not, they can find answers a lot more quickly and easily by taking more of a self-service route. When that doesn’t work, however, they know that connecting with customer service representatives is as easy as a chat or direct message away on most platforms.
I found this Rise of Social Media Customer Care infographic (also pasted below) very interesting. The basic premise is that when it comes to social care, it’s clear that there’s no turning back. Already 90 percent of consumers have used social media to communicate with brands and 63 percent expect them to offer some sort of social customer service support. Today’s consumers are all about instant gratification – and it’s this sense of instant gratification that can make social customer care so appealing to them.
But here’s why this matters to brands. When consumers get an immediate response, they are much more inclined to feel as though brands care about them. This creates a good amount of brand loyalty and advocacy. In fact, when a complaint gets answered on social media, customer advocacy can get a boost by 25 percent. Same goes for overall customer satisfaction – great customer care on social can improve that by 26 percent. Not to mention, 71 percent of consumers who have had positive social customer care experiences are more than likely to recommend that brand to others. Just getting a response raises the chances of getting a positive recommendation by 30 percent!
What’s synonymous with this era of instant gratification is a heightened sense of customer expectations. This is why many brands are seeing an influx of social customer care inquiries flowing in more rapidly every day. Customer care interactions on Twitter alone have skyrocketed 250 percent since 2014. The only issue is that brands are having a hard time keeping up. 42 percent of consumers expect a response in one hour, 32 percent expect a response in 30 minutes, and a whopping 11 percent of consumers expect an immediate response. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it, right?
The unfortunate reality about this situation is that the average response time today is about five hours and, even worse, around one-third of customer complaints on social media are ignored entirely. And even though 80 percent of brands believe they’re delivering exceptional social media customer service, a meager eight percent of consumers actually agree. The ray of light: social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, for example, are 44 percent faster and 48 percent more accurate at delivering responses than via email. It’s just a matter of time until that same level of customer service starts to permeate other popular social media platforms.
Now, here’s the kicker – not keeping up can actually hurt brands in the long run. Poor response times – or no response at all – can lead to 15 percent churn and up to a 50 percent decrease in customer advocacy. Plus, it’s been shown that 30 percent of consumers will very quickly start courting a competitor if they don’t receive a response while 31 percent will post a negative review online if they’ve had a bad experience. All of this can impact a business’s bottom line in a massive way – from customer retention to revenue growth. And then don’t forget another big perk: social customer care is a lot more efficient (by about 167 percent) and way more cost-effective (63 percent cheaper, on average) than phone support. The upside of weaving social customer care into your overall digital customer experience strategy should be a no-brainer at this point.
Fortunately, this is where Lithium can come to the rescue. Whether you’re just dabbling in social customer care for the first time or are ready to scale your operations in a big way, we’re here to help. (Not to toot our own horn, but we do it pretty darn well, too – just take a look below!)
Long story short: the future isn’t social customer care. It’s already here – and consumers are already demanding it from brands. If you haven’t made it a priority yet, then it’s about time you did. By providing a customer care offering where the majority of today’s consumers spend a good chunk of their time (hint: online and mobile), you eliminate the barriers between your brand and your target customers – and, in doing so, create a better overall customer experience for them every step of the way. If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s definitely a win-win scenario.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What does great customer service in action look like?” Glad you asked. Check out what our amazing customers have done to transform customer service into the cornerstone of their digital customer experience strategy . After all, if you’re ready take your social customer care efforts to the next level, why not learn from the best?
While you’re at it, take a few moment to learn more about Lithium’s Social Customer Service solutions today. You (and your customers) will be glad you did!
Check out the infographic here.
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At Lithium, we know the importance that technology plays in amplifying a brand’s social media efforts. However, we were curious to understand exactly to what extent technology can be the catalyst for enabling social media marketing to drive real and measurable business results. So, to answer this question, we partnered with Forrester to see if one of our biggest assumptions was true: that brands investing in social media marketing platform technology ultimately have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
The results are in - d ownload the Mature Your Social Media Strategy with Technology report today and be one of the first people to see the unique correlation that exists between the adoption of social media marketing platform technology and a brand’s ability to drive increased value to both consumers and the business as a whole.
(Hint: brands that have invested in technology definitely have a competitive advantage!)
Of over 100 social media marketing experts surveyed, representing brands that generate $100M or more in annual revenue, many agreed that an investment in a more comprehensive social media marketing platform helped achieve the following results for their brands:
Improved customer retention (57 percent)
Acquired new customers (60 percent)
Increased conversion rates (57 percent)
Boosted customer loyalty (50 percent)
Also, as many as 75 percent of the marketers surveyed said that these platforms helped synchronize, streamline, and simplify their social media marketing efforts as well as improve overall collaboration across multiple teams – further underscoring the positive impact that this kind of technology can make both internally and externally for brands.
The message is clear: if your brand is serious about social, it’s absolutely critical that you invest in the right technology to scale your social media marketing efforts. This doesn’t mean cobbling together a variety of free, paid, or add-on solutions from multiple vendors, but rather implementing the right end-to-end platform solution to do the heavy lifting. And if your brand is part of the 87 percent of brands in the U.S. that has yet to invest in a social media marketing platform, it’s not too late to get started.
Asides from the report itself, you can download our infographic and watch this quick video to get a look at the research results so you can start upping your social media game immediately.
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Last week our CEO Rob Tarkoff participated in a panel at DLD New York on operationalizing digital transformation, and I wanted to share some insights from his session.
Before I get into that, a bit of background. DLD (Digital-Life-Design) is a series of events that aim to connect business leaders, creatives and industry opinion leaders. Originating in Munich in 2005, DLD has featured an array of speakers over the years including Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Eric Schmidt and Alanis Morissette (isn’t that ironic, don’t you think?). What I love about it is that it’s not about pushing products – it’s about sharing ideas and furthering disciplines, all around the theme of how digital is changing our lives.
Now to the panel. Titled “Digital Transformation: From the why to the how” and featuring execs from Lufthansa, Wirecard and Kellogg Innovation Network, its aim was to explore what challenges exist for brands trying to accelerate their digital transformation, and how to actually implement digital successfully.
Three major themes emerged in the discussion:
Using digital and data to develop empathy and better connect with customers. Panelist Brad Garfield (Wirecard VP of product development) outlined how Wirecard has been “working to optimize the entire customer journey on digital,” which involves identifying where breaks in continuity could occur and ensuring that doesn’t happen. To achieve this, businesses must focus as much on the back-end infrastructure as the front-end user experience.
Finding the right balance between monetizing and building trust on digital, two goals that can often be at odds with each other. Rob cited T-Mobile as a great example of this, “They are using digital to fundamentally transform the brand. During Superbowl, CEO John Legere was on social building personal relationships with people and articulating the personality of T-Mobile’s brand, not talking about wireless plans and T-Mobile products/services.”
How brands can use digital to become better corporate citizens. On that topic, Lufthansa VP of marketing Alexander Schlaubitz said his company was “working to become the custodians of digital innovation” and helping make a legacy organization digital first, through tactics such as arming flight staff with digital devices so they can resolve customer issues in real-time. Alex also noted that Lufthansa is looking past just digital, to help consumers see travel as a way to actually reconnect physically (something that has become less frequent in the digital age).
Moderator Robert Wolcott, co-founder of the Kellogg Innovation Network, finished the panel by predicting that in the next five years computers will have access to such huge troves of data that they will actually be able to begin developing empathy. It’s a brave new world indeed.
Lithium also provided a Monitor Wall for DLD, which was prominently displayed in the main event hall. According to our tracking, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence were the two leading themes being discussed on social around the event.
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