Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are just three examples of the hundreds of social media outlets which big brands are using as marketing tools, advertising platforms, and a means of being in contact with a large sampling of their clientele in a quick, simple, and hip manner.
In the United Kingdom, there are some powerful examples of how the successful utilization of various social media platforms are taking advantage of these relatively new outlets as a means to further their businesses and expand their client base.
Penguin Books is a publishing house native to the United Kingdom that has displayed exceptional mastery in utilizing Twitter in order to communicate with tech savvy clients, create buzz, and impart information on upcoming events. Though limited to a meagre one hundred and forty characters per “tweet,” there are vast opportunities to use Twitter to plug new and exciting products, announce breaking company news, and drive customer engagement.
One example of Penguin’s utilization of the tool is a tweet from July 8th, 2013, which read, “Going away? Let Penguin help you find your next #holiday read (p.s. ‘staycations’ are covered too!) http://po.st/SummerReads.” In a brief snippet, they drive outbound clicks to their website, garner the attention of Twitter followers, and successfully use the “hashtag” (the pound symbol), which allows users to search the entire Twitter database by keyword.
An additional advantage of this is the direct communication it allows users to have with the company, as they can direct complaints, questions, or kudos to the company by tweeting to the company’s Twitter handle, @PenguinUKBooks. This allows for the personal touch which is crucial in maintaining client loyalty; however, since no face-to-face contact is necessitated, it allows this personal contact to take place on a global scale. Also, Twitter tends to represent a younger cross-section of consumers, so it has the added advantage of maintaining a cool, young, technologically savvy appeal.
Everybody and their dog has a Facebook account these days, and businesses are quickly jumping aboard this powerful platform as a means to be easily accessible to hundreds of thousands of consumers who are on Facebook daily. ASOS demonstrates a fantastic knowledge of how to use the platform to its full advantage in terms of customer service, support, and satisfaction.
They recently pioneered an application which allows customers to make purchases from their online store without ever leaving the social networking site itself. Also, they demonstrate masterful response to customer complaints made on their profile page. For example, at 09:38 on July 2, 2013, a customer posted, “So not impressed with ASOS today. Ordered a pair of sandals yesterday, got email today saying dispatched. Then get email saying 70% off – sandals reduced to half what I paid yesterday. Feel cheated.” At 09:42 on the same day (an impressive and meagre five minute lapse), ASOS replied, “Hey —-, super sorry about this. Drop us a PM with your order deets to see if anything can be done for you. ASOS”.
The capacity for big brands to reply directly to complaints almost instantaneously makes the client feel important and well-cared for, meaning that even in cases of a frustrated customer, brands like ASOS can remedy solutions promptly and maintain a happy, brand-loyal customer base.
Finally, a brief look at the photo-sharing application, Instagram. Users of this platform typically access it through their smartphones, meaning that they are apt to be online and utilizing the application often and consistently throughout the day. UK-based giant Selfridges is one of the more active brands on Instagram. They are known to post photos of store displays frequently, as well as encouraging customers to post photos of themselves in fashions they have concocted with pieces purchased at the store.
While Instagram tends to be geared more towards driving engagement, there is also the distinct advantage of having communication through customer complaints and comments regarding specific items in the comment section linked to photos of the article(s) in question – an advantage for customer support teams who may not be in the same region as the client making the complaint.
Though the use of social media as a marketing and customer service tool is still in a stage of infancy, the advantages of its utilization for brands of all sizes and niches is of limitless and boundless potential. Creativity, prompt replies, and awareness of the age brackets of those customers apt to be using these tools will all drive engagement, customer satisfaction, and in turn, more business opportunities for your brand.
Author: Richard McMunn is the founder of How2become.com and the author of this post. Richard spent 17 years in the Fire Service and now provides specialist recruitment training for those looking embark on a public sector career. You can also connect with How2become on Twitter