We’ve seen a real shift this year in the understanding of how social media can be integrated within consumer-facing organisations.

The conversation has moved on from ‘how do we get involved in social media’ to ‘which areas of the business do consumers expect to interact with us over social channels?’

Social marketing has evolved, brands have a clear focus on ROI, and the debate is altogether more sophisticated.

Consumers don’t care how a business is structured. If a customer
contacts a business on its website, Facebook page, Twitter feed or call
centre, it expects the same level of service and response, regardless of
the contact channel.

They want quick a response from the brand, whether
that’s approving a review, answering a customer query, providing
information or fulfilling a competition prize. 

As a result, social media agencies are changing the way they work with
brands. Brands are turning to agencies for help in two distinct areas:

Devising a social strategy and setting the approach which best supports
the business needs

This means defining the goals that social media can
support, what role social channels should play across the business, how
to use social channels to gain insight to your customers (and how to act
on this insight) and training on how to engage with the community; and
programmes for measuring success.


Create tailored campaigns to support the strategic approach.

These
might include game development, apps, community builds, bespoke
platform campaigns, Facebook engagement tactics, and social asset
development. Social commodities, if you will.

What’s crucial for brands though, is that any campaign activity, or
standalone social activity, must still fit into the wider marketing and
social engagement strategy, this is still the only way for any business
to successfully embrace social and to develop meaningful ROI from the
activity.  

You can’t outsource your customer service to a social agency; however
you can outsource the development of a bespoke customer community. As
the market develops, it’s not enough just to be a thinker in social
media.

You have to be a practitioner, across all relevant business
functions, in order to meet the needs of your customers, otherwise they
will go elsewhere.