Social media marketing can no longer be looked upon as a trend. It is revolutionizing the business world and being integrated into marketing strategies of most companies. For example, the financial technology industry (Fintech), is leveraging social media to transform the way banks and newer technology-oriented competitors communicate and interact with their customers. Social media can improve customer service by allowing users to access general information, or to seek specific questions or express unique concerns. Social media, like other marketing tactics, must be managed through a plan.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
The realm of social media has expanded so far beyond a place to connect with customers. Fintech firms use social media to spread news through links to articles, press releases, and other content, and engage with their customer base to influence additional sharing on social media channels. Social media is a key part of most firms' marketing communications strategy.
Fintech and other organizations manage communications through social media in a number of ways. Social media management includes tasks such as:
- Posting news, updates, and other industry information in order to generate attention and gain followers
- Determining the best time to post to maximize visibility
- Responding and interacting with fans and followers (including private messaging)
- Interacting with customers, influencers, industry specific pages, and discussion groups to increase visibility
- Creating a blog for the business overall, as well as individual products and services, and sharing them on social media channels
- Using targeted SEO keywords applicable to the firm’s industry on all posts and in blogs
Proactive marketing through social media is an important ongoing marketing tactic to spread good news. But, what about unforeseen crises that may occur?
A CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLAN IS KEY
Most people aren’t worried about sending a tweet when a crisis arises, but for many companies this can be an effective and immediate form of communication. Times have changed with regard to how companies deal with crisis management. Firms can take action more quickly if they have a plan ready to implement.
After all, the public will be quick to demand not only answers, but also timely response. Social media channels facilitate direct and open dialogue between the company and its stakeholders.
For starters, it’s best to come right out and inform your audience about the situation instead of waiting for pressure from traditional media. This kind of response says, “We are loyal to our customers and want to keep you updated.” A quick and direct response through social media not only strengthens brand identity, but can also generate supportive feedback from customers. Keep in mind, the longer you wait to deliver any news, the greater the risk that rumors will take over, which can create confusion and misinformation.
CREATING AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE
It’s important to listen and analyze comments from the public during these times. You want to understand the emotions and feelings being expressed to better prepare a more focused and appropriate response to address customer concerns.
Of course, it’s difficult to connect with an entire customer base with one message on one social media channel. One strategy is to create unique messages that speak to different groups of people influenced by the crisis. With one refresh of your newsfeed, you can assess how you should respond and where you should respond to different groups of customers based on “the buzz.”
For example, maybe one customer is especially provoked and exhibits his or her anger in the form of one or more tweets directed at your organization. You have the customer’s username right at your fingertips, allowing you to send a personal direct tweet with an apology and request for more information. If a large part of your audience expresses a similar concern, you’ll need a response to the masses that addresses that concern and communicates the company’s care and understanding.
For example, SunTrust does a great job of updating its customer base through social media. The firm has a separate Twitter page called @AskSunTrust that is used to respond to any client questions, comments, or concerns. In one instance a customer stated, “This bank commits fraud, I hope you are investigated like Wells Fargo #shameonyou #stayaway.” SunTrust then responded, “We're sorry for the negative perception. Could you share additional details so we can better understand what occurred?” The message also assured the customer that her feedback would be shared internally.
STAY ON TOP OF TRENDS
In both good times and times of crisis, it is important to communicate openly, directly, and clearly. Strong social media management keeps all communication channels accessible to receive and send critical information. The various channels, user-level controls of streaming, and real-time delivery make social media more flexible and timely than press releases and conferences.
Social media allows your firm to connect with customers and stakeholders during and after a crisis, so you can maintain awareness of the current status as well as what actions are underway to resolve the issue. More consumers are using these outlets as a news source, so it's imperative to stay on top of trends and issues to stay current and engaged with stakeholders.
How does your organization promote their efforts through social media?
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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