Social media represents the next great shift in how customers and organizations view, handle, react to and build customer experiences. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages related to social media on both sides of the relationship coin. For example, Qaalfa Dibeehi discusses some of social media’s potential drawbacks for CE in “Social Media: Friend or Foe of Brand Loyalty?”
More recently we’ve chosen to focus on the advantages of social media, in our book Customer Experience: Future Trends and Insights. In this work, we pinpoint the key advantage social media offers the customer experience field – namely, a privileged glimpse into your customers’ inner workings on a previously unthinkable scale.
An example of how trends in social media translate into real-world scenarios for CEM stems from an interesting finding in a 2011 Pew Internet & American Life Project report. Based on data from telephone interviews conducted between April 26 and May 22, 2011 among a sample of 2,277 adults age 18 and older, young adult women utilize social media the most of any other demographic. Of young adult women online, 89% of them use social media and 69% do so on an average day. The report also indicates that in the past two years, social networking site use among internet users age 65 and older has grown an astounding 150%, and 50-64 year-old internet users more than doubled – from 25% to 51%. Unsurprisingly, young adults engage in social media the most, with 83% of online 18-29 year-old Americans using social media, and 61% doing so every day.
With these findings in mind, embracing transparency is key. In the past, I’ve questioned programs like “Promoted Tweets” (Paying for Promoted Tweets on Twitter to create a customer experience) for their lack of transparency. In the social media space, trust remains a critical foundation to build customer loyalty.
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In our book, we provide techniques to gauge the emotions your social media presence evokes in visitors, including perception of your brand as genuine. In short, the goal of social media for CE purposes is to enter into a real dialogue with customers, where greater honesty is made possible through greater disclosure of information – on both parts.