I agree with Mark Cridge’s final point in his article (NMA 5th March 2009) about agencies future role in the successful use of social media channels by clients. Digital agencies will be best placed to guide brands on the right social channels for them and the right tone of voice and type of content that will best inform, engage and entertain their customers.
As more and more people find that they can’t go more than a couple of hours without checking facebook or twittering, businesses who want to develop social network pages will need to be prepared to change the way they interact with their customers throughout their business. Staff will need to be dedicated to generating great content every day, answering twitter questions or comments as they come in and dealing with complaints or negative feedback as it happens.
The old ways of taking days to respond to customer letters, emails and calls will need to be replaced with daily postings that have great value and a real dialogue with customers to prevent people seeing the social network presence as a gimmick or cynical marketing ploy.
This change will need businesses to dedicate staff to the online channel and speed up their internal approval process to make sure content is current and relevant and issues are dealt with quickly.
For the companies who can change and are willing to indulge in real dialogues with their customers the social channel will provide them with an exciting way of communicating what they are doing and why, draw their customers in and build their brand values in a way that used to take years.
The flexibility of the channel will allow clients to tell customers not only about their trading ethics and the quality of their products and services, but their community and charity support, and anything else that shows how great they are. For charities the uses are endless and a wonderful way to show daily examples of how their supporters money is helping in real situations. Drawing in, informing and engaging with new supporters will become a daily conversation and only then will the true benefits of talking to people begin to be revealed.
Louise Burgess, Commercial Operations Director at Equi=Media
[Published NMA Letters 19th March 2009: www.nma.co.uk]