The connections social marketers have with customers in social channels enable them to deliver content and engage in ways that help shape and deliver the customer experience. This is valuable information for marketing executives to gain critical insights for their customer experience initiatives according to Julie Hopkins, managing vice president for Gartner for Marketing Leaders. Every question answered, every handoff to the right resource, every dialogue facilitated between customers and advocates serves as a bridge between the customer and other parts of the company. These interactions shape a customer’s experience with a brand or organization.
Social marketers can inform and optimize the customer experience by asking and answering five focused questions:
- What personas are we supporting?
In setting their strategy, planning and execution, social marketers should leverage a company’s personas (3-8 fictional characters created as a proxy for a target audience incorporating behavioral and goal information). Doing so can connect social marketing content, campaigns, channels and tactics to customer experience design and initiatives. For example, after refocusing its work around the teen and 20-something personas, Taco Bell’s social marketing team switched gears to use emerging social networking sites such as Snapchat for engagement, tailored their content and campaigns, and even helped them understand when, how and with whom to interact.
- What moments are we supporting?
The first step after clarifying personas is to understand the critical moments where a buyer interacts with a brand along the journey. For example, one persona might start pre-purchase research and evaluation by asking friends and family on Facebook for product or service recommendations. Savvy social marketers can identify how social marketing fits into that moment in the shopping process, and will create and deploy content to address those needs. For the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, social marketing is part of the team’s connection to the community, and builds the fan experience. As the customer’s experience also includes ticket sales, tracking of social content, links and engagement to ticket sales allows the team to connect how those elements of the customer experience connect to revenue.
- How will social marketing support those moments?
Once you’ve identified or validated the moments that social marketing can support across the various buyer personas, determine the resources needed to support the customer experience in those moments. For instance, if social marketing is responsible for supporting the prepurchase research and evaluation phase for a particular persona, then social marketers need access to systems, people, processes and data to support this moment and measure performance against the customer experience goal.
- What data drives customer experience improvements?
Social marketing can leverage its unique insights into the customer experience to drive improvements. Through social insight data, Hallmark learned about a flaw in one of its most popular products which had generated a surge in customer service calls and negative customer experiences. The Hallmark social manager used quantitative data and insights, as well as real customer stories to drive a cross-functional, cross-channel initiative to identify the root cause of the issue and improve customer experience.
- How will success be measured?
It is important for social marketers to work with customer experience leaders to identify both strategic and operational success metrics. A team might set a strategic metric of customer experience scores and roll up tactical metrics such as time to complete transactions or use of click-to-chat feature to resolve issues. The social marketing team could share and measure the impact of content, such as a video, that illustrates a streamlined customer experience, then target and amplify the content with social advertising to reach a particular buyer persona.