Social Media: a customer service channel?

It’s becoming increasingly evident that social media can be an aeffective tool for everything from customer service to business research. As many businesses are finding out, and as Brightfire discussed in our GoGetters presentation yesterday – social media can improve your bottom line.

There is, however, a worry: employees sitting in front of computers with access to Facebook, twitter and all the other social networks out there. 

How do you avoid social media use in the workplace becoming a distraction? 

It’s tough to see how interrupting operational work for your business with tweets or browsing the Facebook news feed can be productive to business. In reality, though, social media is like any other tool: it can make a major positive impact to your business if used properly. Your goal should not to dismiss social media but discover how you can use it to your advantage.

1. Make a plan.

2. Set your goals.

3. Execute.

4. Monitor.

5. Make changes accordingly.

The key to making social media work for you rather than against is to understand how to use it properly. Many small companies don’t enter the social media realm with a plan, but instead expect tweets and YouTube videos to equate to more traffic and more sales. That just isn’t how social media works.

Instead you need to understand your needs:

Do you need more traffic? 

Do you need more brand awareness? 

Do you want to control your reputation? 

Always pick your goal first.

Once you have a clear goal in place it’s time to create your plan. Make sure you set up metrics to measure success and implement tools that will help you measure ROI. That means tracking clicks with a tool like bit.ly or checking your Facebook Page’s analytics every week.

Don’t be afraid to reach out, make mistakes, and be vulnerable. Even if you make a mistake, customers will forgive you if you’re transparent. Just ask Facebook, which has made many blunders, but has overcome them and continues to grow.

[Blog post originally on Brightfire Blog: Dec 7th ’09]

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