A smart social media management plan will focus on engaging and building relationships with current customers as well as finding new business. The best way to retain your customer base and attract new business is through engagement.

One on one chats with customers are necessary

Social media platforms have opened up a whole new world of communication in which businesses and their customers can engage in one on one conversations. These conversations are started in many different ways. A business looking to engage will share content and ask questions that call for a response from the public. A customer looking to engage can now simply post a question or a tweet and feel assured they’ll grab the attention of their service or product provider. Through the engagement that follows, a relationship begins to form. And, this is the true beauty of social media platforms and how they assist us (both businesses and people) every day.

Of course, more often than not a customer is looking to get in touch with your business because they have a query or complaint. Unfortunately, there’s a negative connotation involved but the brewing negativity is easily quashed by a quick response. Your customer wants to be heard, validated and provided with answers, now. Because social media channels are considered so immediate they’ve almost organically turned into customer support platforms. Understanding this from the very beginning means you can include customer support into your social media management plan and strategies going forward.

Customer support and social media strategies are key elements of your overall CRM strategy

They must integrate with the bigger picture and be used in conjunction with your CRM tools, as well as your customer support team’s procedures and your marketing team’s game plan. Most companies are well aware that their customers must have the means to contact them. Hence many invest in call centers, chat applications on their websites and help desks in their outlets. However, today’s customers don’t want to venture from their comfort zones to lay a complaint or make a query about a product. And, this means they’re more likely to bad mouth your company rather than seek out assistance. Unless, of course, they can quickly, easily and immediately sort out their concern.

There is only one supposed downside (and it’s not really negative) to customer support on social media

You’ll receive some bad press. But, bad press is okay if you’re handling it. And, the fact that it’s all happening on such a transparent platform means you’re going to walk away a winner. If you have a good social media management plan, you’ve implemented social media monitoring tools and have a team in place, then you can be confident that any complaint can be sorted out. This means dealing with a complaint in a public arena gives you the opportunity to showcase your customer service skills and it gives you more brand mentions. Every interaction you have with a customer publicly offers you an opportunity to redirect back to your brand.

A robust social media management plan will outline your company’s goals, identify your customer’s goals and strategically align the two of them. It’s through the inclusion of a customer support game plan in your social media strategy that you begin connecting with your customers in a way that matters to them. Your brand will become naturally more attuned to your reputation in the marketplace.

If you're in the process of setting up your social media management plan, check out these tips on getting it just right.

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