By Jeff Hall, president and founder of Second To None
This post originally appeared on Second To None.
Social media is the modern arena in which brands across different industries are battling to find and connect with both existing and new customers. It is such a revolutionary theater for customer interactions because of the instantaneous nature of information and publicity inherent within internet culture. The common approach to organizational social media accounts is to provide service via quick messaging, learn customer opinions about products or services, and gather an overall perception of the way customers interact with your brand. Primarily, however, these business social-media accounts serve as the front door of the customer journey, often serving as the first place someone will interact with a brand. Beyond being a place where customers can gain value and learn about brands, social media platforms can be a viable source of customer data that can be used to shape an organizational customer experience.
The proliferation of social media users among the United States population can be staggering when you consider the relatively short time most of these platforms have existed. More than half of the United States’ population is already using multiple different social media accounts, proving that this is a ripe opportunity for brands to learn more about their customers. The most popular social media site, Facebook, has a population greater than a lot of developed nations, measuring close to 70 percent of the entire US adult population. Not only is this huge population of eligible customers easily accessible, but each individual user is also volunteering extremely valuable information about themselves that can be used to form customer profiles and improve overall experiences.
Brands that take the time to toil through this well of biographical data will find that they are able to create a unique brand experience, specifically tailored to pique the interest of their target customers. Every minute on Facebook there is 510,000 comments, 293,000 status updates, and 136,000 photos uploaded. Some of the information available may seem irrelevant, but learning about what type of pages a potential customer likes or what TV shows, movies, books, etc, are currently being talked about can greatly impact the way brands reach out to and connect with customers. This is a massive amount of consumer data compared to what has been available in the last 50 years, and marketing teams that are not currently utilizing this source of information will find that they will struggle to connect with customers compared to those that are monitoring social media trends and topics.
People display more personal information via social media than we could have ever imagined 25 years ago. Even more striking, all this data is being released for public consumption absolutely free. On the surface, some may think it is just dog pictures and internet memes, but in reality, this is a vast canyon of useful information that can be utilized to paint a clearer picture about the interests of the customers a brand serves. Take advantage of this information and start learning more. In doing so, your organization’s marketing team will be able to more effectively reach out to customers, service employees will have more knowledge of how to correctly interact with customers, and brands will able to craft a better online reputation.
Jeff Hall is the president and founder of Second To None, a full-service customer experience research and insights firm, helping brands become galvanized around delivering consistent, intentional customer experiences that are an authentic reflection of their brand promise.