Social media advanced rapidly as a communication channel in 2011, yet 2012 looks set to be a year for maturity.
Different company departments have flirted with a closer relationship when it comes to corporate social media. But going forward, closer integration will cement social networks’ place throughout B2C businesses, with the customer at the centre. Rather than ‘doing social media’, companies will focus on delivering a complete and consistent customer experience. 2012 will see to see the breakdown of isolated social media initiatives, from campaigns to teams.
Marketing will absorb customer loyalty initiatives
Gartner has predicted that the marketing budget dedicated to customer loyalty and retention will double by 2015. Two-way conversation is new for this department, and to make an impact in social media it will be necessary to redefine its role – taking notice of the long-held principles of Customer Service. Everyone will need to become conscious of a new brand exercise: creating and delivering quality experience and service. Customers’ opinions are already a company-wide issue, and more companies will begin to take stock of that fact this year. Marketing and customer service will no longer so aptly describe the collaborative efforts towards better customer satisfaction.
Marketing will still lead the way, for now, but Customer Service will become an equal partner.
Disjointed programmes for customers’ experience of a company will no longer cut it. Gartner sees marketing departments retaining their position as leader of integrated social initiatives, which will continue to be funded from marketing budgets. However customer service will have a highly active role to play in the development, execution and measurement of cross-departmental strategy. Gartner recommends the organised cooperation of heads of marketing, IT and Customer Services. Ad hoc and informal connections between different departments will have to be replaced by clearly defined and structured relationships.
This year, rather than dedicated social media marketing campaigns and compartmentalised customer service programmes, business activities will become naturally part social. The breaking down of departmental barriers will introduce completely new rules of play. This is the dream and continual focus of Conversocial; to allow companies to transcend social media novelty and deliver real business value through another, albeit game-changing, channel. Allowing social channels to grow up and become a part of mainstream business means true integration, something we’re witnessing gradually evolve in an exciting way.
Thanks to Gartner, and Social Media Ink
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