Companies Can’t Afford to Let Social Media Just Happen

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Author: Sarah Grace McCandless, Director, Global Product Management, Digital Solutions

Smart social media management is a proactive endeavor, yet many companies are responding to social sites in a reactive way. They let social media evolve on its own with minimal direction so that Facebook and Twitter success seems to happen independently of other business activities. Companies can’t afford to fall into the trap of letting social media just happen, but instead, by taking control of this powerful medium they’re able to harness the outstanding benefits that it has to offer.

Approaching Social with the Right Skill Sets

Social media management is one part of a well-rounded marketing campaign, but social interactions don’t belong solely to the marketing realm. Social media management is best approached with a collaborative mindset and well-rounded skill set. Depending on industry and customer needs, organizations may want to incorporate IT in answering tech-focused tweets, or leverage marketing and communication skills for developing an engaging approach to Facebook posts. Engaging other parts of the company, and funneling the responses through consumer facing pipe, ensures a holistic and proactive response.

Social media allows businesses to connect directly with their consumer, giving buyers and potential buyers an open forum for asking questions or commenting on a brand. Businesses can experience a variety of queries on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites. Regardless of the topic, it’s important to ensure that a business be well-equipped to answer thoroughly and knowledgeably. This may mean broadening the scope and resources of the social media team in order to develop a well-rounded knowledge base and strategic and proactive approach to engaging in social media customer care.

Responding with Relevance

Taking a haphazard approach to social media efforts could ultimately result in missing out on some of the prime benefits of these platforms. Often times, disorganized interactions can do more harm than good. It’s important to understand the type of information customers are looking for on each individual social media platform. For example, customers on a community forum may not be interested in hearing about a company’s next marketing campaign, and may even be offended by this use of the medium.

Twitter users expect prompt, concise responses, and they won’t hesitate to escalate the discussion if they’re unhappy with the answer. Though it’s tempting to respond defensively to Twitter outcry, the best option is to communicate with care, managing the situation thoughtfully so as not to create more of an uproar with an insensitive reply. Every social site has its own strengths and distinctive quirks. Organizations can leverage these networks to their advantage when they’re strategically engaging with target audiences on social media.

Crafting an Organized Response

With a well-organized social media program, businesses can achieve higher levels of success and increase customer engagement and brand loyalty. The best way to accomplish this is by working with a customer interaction vendor who specializes in social media care, leveraging actionable analytics, consistent response strategies, and streamlined escalation paths in order to optimize channel performance.

Social media is a lasting phenomenon that no successful business can afford to ignore. The top contenders in every industry are vying hard for engaged followers and loyal fans. If a company’s approach is too laid-back or purely reactive, it will miss out on important opportunities for audience engagement. With the right tools and services, however, companies can make a positive impact on consumers in the social space.

SGM_headshotSarah Grace McCandless carries over a decade of experience in consumer marketing, with extensive work in digital and social media strategy, including community management and customer care support. As Director of Global Product Management, Digital Solutions for SYKES, Sarah Grace manages SM|Edge, the strategic SYKES solution providing comprehensive, cost-effective global social media customer care and support.

Prior to joining SYKES, Sarah Grace developed programs for a number global and national companies, including Nike, Starbucks, Nestlé, HTC, Microsoft, Animal Planet / Discovery Communications, the USO, NBC Universal, Bravo, FX, Dodge, Audi, Dark Horse Comics, and more. She has served as an instructor for Mediabistro and panelist at a number of social media thought leadership events, and is also the author of two novels.



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