I’ve often said the term social media birthed when Twitter went mainstream. I remember years back when social media wasn’t even a word and yet sites like Facebook, MySpace and niched community sites and forums existed. It was as though someone woke up one day and realised they could use these platforms to market their business or even their clients’ businesses.
Repeatedly, thought leaders have emphasized that it is not a channel to spam your customers with your self promoted ads – and I agree of course. Most of our thought leaders have been savvy internet users for years and not from big marketing agencies – and this is why it is so easy for most big marketing agencies to get it wrong.
Why do most marketing agencies get it wrong with social media?
Because they think like marketers and not PR or hospitality managers! Marketing agencies are focused on first-time customers and generating leads and not on customer loyalty or retention. What everyone, including business owners, fail to see is that both are equally important. Everyone is so focused on generating new leads and customers that they fail to see the value of building customer loyalty. I guess it is largely due to the fact that we’ve not always had the communication tools in place to be able to do this – but now there is a powerful tool in place – and it is social media.
Social Media in my opinion ideally should be managed by a PR and/or hospitality managers because social media is about people and about being social. The marketing department has always had its focus on generating leads and bringing in new customers and this is why they don’t ‘get’ social media. Yes, the big brands and their big agencies may have the numbers but more often than not those conversations are one-sided. Hospitality managers and PR departments however is very customer-focused, focused on making every customer feel like a VIP and not just a number.
Let me explain it this way:
I worked in the casino industry for many years and one of the things I noticed was how the casino industry treated their customers once they walked through the door. This wasn’t done by a marketing agency, because the marketing agency’s job was to advertise and bring in the people, they had nothing to do with the personal interaction of guests; thereafter the PR/Hospitality manager would be responsible for ensuring guests were taken care of. They would spend time talking to guests, ensuring they had everything they needed. They would also be responsible for the implementation of customer service standards and are trained to deal with customer complaints and unhappy customers. Other responsibilties included managing databases, run promotions, competitions and manage newsletters updating guest. They made guests feel at home.
Let’s translate this now into marketing and social media:
The marketing department/ad agency is responsible for making sure that new customers know about your business. They will put together promotion campaigns, ad campaigns, brochures, television ads, radio ads. They would supply advertising material to the social media management team and also make use of online advertising. – whatever they need to do to advertise your business to help you get noticed and deliver return on investment.
Ideally you want to find well trained social media managers but there are not many who are trained to handle customer care. I would then suggestion looking at The PR/Hospitality managers and their creative team should be the ones to ideally manage your social media presence. You see these guys are responsible for retaining brand loyalty, trained to deal with customer complaints and unhappy customers and trained in ensuring that your customers are having a great experience with your business. They are there to listen to your customers and talk to them and build a relationship with your customers – and social media is the perfect tool with which to do exactly that.