In the past two days we’ve looked at how to become a CSI hero by turning to content as your major game changer, and how we can use digital marketing tools to do so. Today we will look at why customer communication is so important in today’s digital age, and what brands are doing it effectively.
Lesson 3 – Communicate
The pressure is on. Gone are the days when advertisers could rely on bombarding their consumers with one-way sales messages that were crafted for the masses. These agencies can no longer afford to separate their advertising and public relations departments if they want to survive the cold calculating stare of the savvy patron on the other side of the screen. We’re talking about a whole new breed of consumer, whose voice and opinion has been given a powerful platform by social media.
Where people have become enthusiastically vocal about their personal opinions, reviews, and ratings of products and services on the public online platforms at their fingertips, companies are being forced to interact with their clients like never before. Instead of cringing at the prospect, you may as well leverage your new found accountability as a brand. The way to do this? Listen to you clients. Publish your content on the relevant marketing mediums of the 21st century. And most importantly, communicate with your customers on a personal level.
Brands that Utilise Social Media to Communicate with Customers
The most social company in the restaurant business, Forbes recently published an article detailing how Macdonald’s managed to topple Starbucks from the social top spot. During the second half of 2012, the king of fast food launched a transparency campaign that invited customers to ask questions on any aspect of Macdonald’s food chain, as well as ran behind-the-scenes videos from some of Macdonald’s restaurants. The brand’s opening up to the public had an impressive affect on its social consumer engagement.
Primary tool: Integrated social marketing
To facilitate their transparency campaign, Macdonald’s launched a website called “Our Food. Your Questions.” The site has collectively received 5,000 questions and has a 10-member “social media response team” to answer the questions through text, photos and videos. In a word – brilliant!
Procter and Gamble
Sales of P&G’s Pepto-Bismal had been declining for several years when in 2010, the brand’s marketers noted that social media chatter about the product was mostly occurring on a Friday and Saturday after people had overindulged the night before.
Primary tool: Facebook
P&G decided to lure potential customers before their drinking and eating binges by touting the product on Facebook with the upbeat slogan “Celebrate Life.” The outcome was an 11 percent market share gain in 12 months through fall 2011. P&G has attributed their products new lease on sales to listening. “For us, the real aha! was an incredible ability to listen to consumers much better, much faster, more broadly,” said head of P&G’s e-business Alex Tosolini.
FNB is changing the face of banking customer service in South Africa with their effective use of social media tools to communicate with their customers.
Users who tweet complaints about the bank promptly receive feedback from the brand’s twitter persona RB Jacobs (the FNB Guy), who is very attentive to the needs of FNB’s patrons. Aggressively targeting potential customers, as well as promoting switching over from their competitors (for which they have generated the catch phrase “beep bank”), FNB has grown by 2 million customers in a year due to their stellar social campaigns and innovations.
Are you starting to realise where I’m heading with this?
Now Make it Happen
From becoming a digital CSI hero; to using digital marketing mediums; and crafting powerful content to communicate with consumers, these ideas can be implemented incrementally. The brilliant thing about web-based social strategies is that you can test them quickly, measure their results, and make changes on the fly. The key is how much you want to put yourself out there. Be daring, be creative and above all, be content-driven.