In our world today, social media is a constant aspect of most of our lives. For millennials, social media is a way of staying connected with the world in the way that previous generations would watch the news or flip through magazines. The business world has seen this rising trend and sees the benefit that it has to growing their business.
When this rising trend began, many businessmen and women were not familiar with social media in the way that millennials were. In order to create a connection between these two worlds, social media management companies began forming across the globe.
One such company, Sprinklr, began in September 2009, works with companies to manage consumer experience by utilizing social media. Devin Zimmerman, a solutions consultant with Sprinklr, is a panelist at the 2015 Media Day held by the Department of Mass Communications.
The business world has progressed well in terms of catching up with millennials in social media.
Zimmerman said, “I think there are several brands—the Nestle, Nike, Microsoft and P&Gs of the world─who have truly committed to building social businesses that serve as models for the industry. These companies have committed to breaking down internal silos to deliver the best experiences possible for their customers. I will say, though, that every brand I talk to understands that social is important. Gartner recently reported that 89 percent of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience, and the only way for brands to win that battle is by staying ahead of the curve and putting the customer first. Some brands are still playing catch-up, while others are committed to providing consistent customer service and creating unique customer experiences across social.”
Zimmerman also said there are specific companies who were using social media the best.
“The brands who have committed to creating valuable, consistent customer experiences across every touch point are the ones who are laying the foundation to build the strongest relationships with their consumers. And that is what I consider successful. Brands like Starwood Hotels have committed to consistent experiences at every point of the customer journey – from consideration, to reservation, to in-person surprise and delight moments that make the customer feel special.”
In today’s day and age, social media is a part of a company’s identity and marketing strategies. A company should aim to use social media to improve customer experience.
“Each company I talk to has individual goals, in general, to prove success for the business, and those larger goals often trickle down to social media. Each company should aim to create and manage consistent customer experiences across all touch points – social and offline. That’s what provides value to customers, increases retention, and builds stronger relationships.” said Zimmerman.
Because social media is ever changing and new forms are rising consistently, Zimmerman believes that companies should research up and coming forms of social media before committing resources to them.
“PR, marketing, and social media teams are typically bootstrapped for budget. So they can most strategically leverage their money for the biggest ROI, I’m of the opinion that brands should do their homework to see where their consumers are in the social landscape before committing resources to any new channel. Also, often new social channels are still trying to figure out their own strategy and may look for brand partners to help guide their offerings. That’s how CNN, ESPN, and Comedy Central got to experiment with channels in Snapchat,” said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman made a prediction about future trends in social media.
“I see the rise of social media as a trend across industries. These days, brands are increasing the number of publishers they have by, for example, building employee advocacy programs to expand reach and encouraging social participation from the C-Suite to increase enterprise credibility and transparency,” said Zimmerman. “Brands are also trying to increase their visibility into the online conversation to take advantage of real-time opportunities while getting their arms around governance to reduce risk.”
Social media has become a very important part of business interaction and consumer experience. She explained how effective social media is for businesses and any variations in terms of different industries and business types.
“I think most businesses can find value in social media if, again, that is truly where their consumers are engaging and interacting. When it comes to servicing communities – questions, complaints, reviews, etc. – it’s essential for enterprise brands. Most brands find value in some kind of community they cultivate through targeted content and real-time engagement for building customer loyalty. Loyalty equals stronger relationships which equals greater lifetime value of customer.”