Social media channels have taken over as the main platforms for your customers to express their views on a particular product or service. Any experience, be it good or bad, gets shared on social media almost instantly. As such, you may have to deal with that experience being publicized to many of your customers or you may be hit by a deluge of complaints from other disaffected customers. All that can lead to a sudden, outsized hit to your brand image.

On a more positive note, social media-based customer service has become a popular and cost effective channel for both businesses and customers, which can enhance your reputation and brand.

To be able to manage your online reputation more effectively, it is very important to have a dedicated team to execute all your activities related to social media monitoring and social media customer service. Here are a few ways in which social media monitoring and customer service impact your business.

Feedback regarding new products or services

Social media monitoring helps you get essential feedback on how user experience relates to your products and services. The most important type of feedback is customers’ perception of newly introduced products or services. Be it bouquets or brickbats, customers freely express themselves online. This kind of information can be invaluable in making changes to your marketing campaigns. It can also help by quickly pointing you to manufacturing defects, so you can call a pause to a launch if needed.

A more approachable and humane voice

A business with a sincere approach to monitoring, beyond narrowly looking at it from the marketing point of view, can gain tremendous benefit from social media diligence. A social media page or handle is often seen by customers as more friendly and approachable, as opposed to a call from a representative or an email with a survey.

When done the right way and in compliance with customer privacy norms, approaching customers on social media pages is not seen by customers as something intrusive at all. This gives you a wonderful opportunity to initiate a one to one conversation with your customers and gain deep insights about your product or service.

Gather competitor intelligence

Being an open channel, social media offers you a brilliant avenue to snoop on your competitors. There are two dimensions to this:

  1. Knowing how products and services from your competitors are doing in the market and
  2. Knowing what kind of social media marketing strategies are being adopted by them.

And it doesn’t stop with knowing about the strategies being adopted by your competitors; you can even judge the effectiveness of their strategies independently.

Target local customers

There are several location-based social media tools which can help you target customers in a specific geographical area. For instance, if your company is planning to organize a wine tasting tour near San Diego, you can tap such tools to reach out to prospects in the San Diego area and get a good handle on what kind of interest you might attract. Twitter and Facebook also offer geo location-based targeting.

Hiring by spotting prospects on LinkedIn

Given that LinkedIn is focused on business networking, there is enormous potential for you to target profiles on LinkedIn for business hiring. And bear in mind, it is not that targeting has to be confined to senior level executive profiles only. There are many mid-level prospects you can spot and connect with on LinkedIn, from group discussions, blog updates, status updates and stand-alone profile data.

Cost effective customer service

Social media represents an extremely cost-effective channel for customer service, given that many of the services are available for free. Add in the fact that social media access is quick, easy, ubiquitous and extremely convenient through smartphones, and you clearly have social media as the channel with possibly the highest effectiveness of all. All a customer has to do is post a short message, and closing the request after handling is also equally easy.