You’ve embraced social media, you’ve implemented your steps to turn complaints into opportunities …and your stakeholders are asking you that heavy, inevitable question: “What’s next?”
You know that the holy grail of social service channels is an engaged community, where customers help one another as much as you help them. You know that this has immediate value for your brand, your business, and the customers themselves…and you don’t know where to start.
Fear not – we’ve slogged through this terrain, and found that a few simple guidelines can get you firing in the right direction.
What IS a community?
Why do I want to build my social community?
Customers now expect to be offered the same levels of service via social media as they would over the phone, if not more. And for business, social customer care offers amazing possibilities to interact with your customers in exciting new ways, to increase advocacy and to reduce your customer service costs. A large community allows you to spread your message further, it allows you to interact with a large group of people for relatively little cost, increasing your marketing reach and reducing your cost to service.
However, the key to achieving these outcomes is by having an active, passionate community that are willing to interact with you via your social platforms. There are a number of key steps you can take to build this.
1. Educate your community
2. Match your response times to your service
3. Provide information that is valuable to your customer base
4. Provide outcomes back to the community
5. Look for content within your organisation
Often companies do not provide enough engaging content to their community, which results not only in slow growth but customers getting bored and moving on. In every organisation there is a mass of interesting information, which can be turned into engaging content to be shared. This can include positive stories of the work being done by the company, plans for the future and human interest stories. This can increase engagement with the brand and creates a more human face to your organisation… which is what social media is all about. The Public Sector has had great success in creating more personalised and interesting content to previously robotic and sterile brands. Just look at the ATO, ABS or regional police Twitter feeds to see the amazing content being produced. In our social services we create content frameworks where the people living and breathing in our clients’ social spaces provide ideas and content that they know the community will respond well to. These are the people on the frontline who have the best view of what is going on… use the skills and experience of these teams for best results.
6. Trust your community members
Once established your community often become your champions, answering and making recommendations for each other. Once this starts you want to encourage these interactions and set up processes to allow community support, which only requires moderation and less time crafting responses to customer enquiries. This is when your social community becomes a living, breathing part of your organisation and this should be fostered and nurtured as part of your strategy.
Watching your community grow is hugely satisfying, and you can tangibly trace the growth back to the actions above. We have had amazing success building communities for our customers following this process; for one customer we have increased the size of their social community by 250% by simply offering an engaging, consistent service and providing real time information that is relevant and useful to its members. It’s easy, requires little investment and the results create a loyal, engaged community, promoting your brand in a very public arena.