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Social media: your brand, your reputation and how to safeguard them

Social media has emerged as a new marketing arena, forcing its way into the marketing mix for companies in all industries.  In order to not fall behind, companies should incorporate social media into their media strategy (and do it well!).

Social media has emerged as a new marketing arena, forcing its way into the marketing mix for companies in all industries.  In order to not fall behind, companies should incorporate social media into their media strategy (and do it well!).

Consumers expect personalized advertising that speaks their language, understands what is important to them, and understands their experiences. Ads that satisfy their needs.

At the same time, social media can provide companies with insight on how different groups or market segments experience their products, their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Combining information pulled from customers’ social media activities and combining it with data from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can give companies a better insight to who is consuming their products and services and find ways to open segments of similar prospects and gain market share.

Gathering individual account interactions online can bring insight to sales engineers visiting accounts and prospects. But figuring out how much social influence individual messages carry helps sales engineers focus on ‘megaphones’ in the massive amount of social media data being generated 24/7.

Ideally, engaging with customers directly whenever possible gives the best result in attracting and keeping customers. Social media is today one of the main platforms used to discuss companies, prices, the way these companies deal with their customers, what kind of experiences can be expected with the back office or the service engineers and about warranty or complaint cases.

It is equally important to monitor what people (customers, prospects, journalists, students, employees and even competitors) are saying about your brand and to adapt and react quickly to protect the brand’s reputation.

In the Atlas Copco group, we have a relatively long history of working with CRM tools.  Having started this journey more than 15 years ago, we found ourselves confronted with a scattered landscape of many different CRM solutions (due to both our culture of “think global, act local” and our growth strategy of acquisitions).  5 years ago, the Group made a decision to go for a single CRM solution, which we are now rolling out globally across business areas, with a management model of “ownership with steered autonomy”. The CRM program is now adapted by over 100 sales organizations worldwide, the global roll out is to be completed by the end of 2018, aiming at over 7000 users on board.

With a solid base of close to 1 million accounts and 800 000 contacts in the CRM solution already, management can now start to harvest by defining granulated segmented strategies (e.g. which competitors are strong in which geographical area and what their most successful strategies are (price or product offering).

We are now extending the solution by integrating customer service.  Customer service organizations can thus gather and share information to further optimize support processes and exceed the customer expectations.  The sales organizations also benefit from this extension by getting a full 360-degree view of all interactions with the customer.

The next obvious step is to use social media monitoring tools to:

  • Get a prioritized list of important messages
  • Detect sentiments and keywords
  • Understand and steer brand trends and buzz
  • Build a social knowledge base to respond quickly and consistently
  • Prepare approved templates to deliver brand-consistent responses in case crises arise

SAP Customer Relationship Management system as a means of analysing social media feeds from customers

By using social media as a two-way communication channel, the organization as a whole can benefit from:

  • Provide internal employees the opportunity to engage with social media followers
  • Build an overview of social media interactions to identity the biggest influencers
  • Understand who your customers are and the context of their posts and comments
  • Use customer feedback to improve the product development process
  • Track trends and plan social media interactions

Currently the social media interactions from the business area marketing departments include

To conclude this blog episode, one important remark: don’t forget to listen.

Brand owners must not only be great storytellers, but also excellent listeners.

By following the online discussions about your brand, you can improve communications and the actual products to meet your customers’ needs.

An example that goes beyond story telling is KLM, Swiss and Austrian airways, who let crew members share tips for destinations like good restaurants, places to visit etc.

 

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1 Reply
  • Ruben Diez

    March 19, 2018 at 14:07 CET

    Very interesting and useful post!

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