For a long time, marketers doubted the value of social media, unsure of its ROI. That’s part of the reason Tuesday’s headline in the Harvard Business Review is so jarring: “Social Media Is Too Important to Be Left to the Marketing Department.”
The rest of the reason is that Keith A. Quesenberry may be right. Right, that is, if we consider his example of what companies do with social media to be true.
“When customers need help,” he writes, “they expect companies to offer it quickly and through multiple social media channels — but most companies aren’t set up to do that. Some companies increase their social media staff to offer live responses during big events like the Super Bowl or the Grammys, but then they return to predominately one-way social media or content marketing.”
In the scenario provided by Quesenberry, an assistant professor at Messiah College and a social media marketing book author, seven out of eight consumer messages to companies go without responses for 72 hours. That, he says, is due to marketers not being trained to deal with customer complaints or customer care, in general.
So here’s what Quesenberry suggests marketers and other company departments do about the social media situation he posits:
- Step 1: Create a ‘Social Care’ Team. This team needs to cover all aspects of the company’s social media presence, from marketing to customer service and beyond. “Identify policies and software systems needed for implementation,” he says.
- Step 2: Define Roles. Who’s responsible for what? Professionals from marketing, customer service, public relations, sales, corporate communications, human resources and more need to know what they have to do. Or a dedicated team needs to be cross-trained and assigned duties. “Set up social media accounts and give employees access to social media systems,” Quesenberry writes. [Author’s note: Hopefully, marketers work on company accounts already and can skip the “set up” suggestion.]
- Step 3: ‘Create Brand Guidelines for standards, tone and style of social media communication,” he says. “Ask legal and human resources [departments] to provide a list of dos and don’ts for real-time consumer engagement.”
- Step 4: Define Goals. Base them on KPIs, “such as response time, sentiment analysis, engagement, views and shares, and other important metrics,” Quesenberry suggests. [Author’s note: Ahem. Marketing wants ROI.]
- Step 5: Test and Measure. [Author’s note: This is my insertion into Quesenberry’s hypothesis. If he’s right, marketers should see improved performance and areas for improvement.]
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Facebook Messenger Gets Better for Business