It’s the question of the ages, or at least the last few years: Is it possible for brands on Twitter to get positive user responses from unprompted engagements? Can brands evolve to the point where human interaction is not only tolerated, but welcome, on social media? As it turns out – absolutely. David Tull, JackThreads’ Customer Engagement Manager, recently found that less than 1% of Twitter users responded negatively to unprompted engagement or “surprise conversations” from @JackThreads.
In a recently conducted webinar, David and Twitter’s Product Marketing Manager for Customer Service Jeff Lesser, sat down to dig into what social maturity means for a brand and how to maximize it. The mission was to explore how brands can effectively utilize Twitter to proactively engage consumers and grow their business, focusing on the tactics that JackThreads has been utilizing to build a uniquely powerful rapport with users and drive their own Social Maturity.
Brands are increasingly recognizing that Social Maturity goes far beyond marketing and delves directly into core business functionality alike. A company’s Social Maturity is not defined by incoming volume, the size of the operation, or household name status. It is defined by how your brand, big or small, engages over social channels. Is customer experience a priority? Are responses coming in a timely manner with a human touch? Is the brand limited to reactive responses or do they proactively engage their customers over Twitter? These are the questions that can help a company mature their social presence, and learning from an industry leader like JackThreads can help many companies refine their social game plan.
“We've had a lot of success with social engagement as a marketing and acquisition strategy, historically. It's just in our DNA to be social. We had a presence on Twitter in customer service before we even had an 800-number.” – David Tull, JackThreads
Founded in 2008, JackThreads was born in the age of the internet and the rapidly-growing popularity of social media. A mobile-first brand with over half its customer traffic and revenue coming from mobile devices, the company recognized early on that it needed to maintain a social presence in order to connect with its clientele. As the company grew and Twitter volumes increased, they realized they needed to implement a more formal social care structure to cope with the influx of users. At first, this came in the form of utilizing employees’ talent effectively – employees who showed stronger aptitude in responding to social media queries were assigned to that division. From there, they were able to build out their care structure strategically.The Next Level: Building Formal Social Care Structures
“How do you staff this? How do you put numbers around this? How do you operationalize this wildly different contact channel into traditional customer care? The benefits were there.” - David Tull, JackThreads
JackThreads quickly realized they’d need to evolve their technology solutions with a social customer engagement platform like Conversocial in order to meet the demands of a large-scale retail enterprise. To do so, the company took a blended approach. Out of those employees working customer service, about one third are cross-trained on social. The operation is designed so that a customer agent can resolve an issue over webchat and respond to a Tweet immediately after. The emphasis on scale and flexibility fostered a team that was uniquely positioned to drive innovation in customer care.
“Over the course of the past two years of talking to customers and working our search channels to address relevant trends, it's grown into almost a mini social agency within our customer service operation.” - David Tull, JackThreadsTaking it Further: Putting a Structure to Work
“All these people are out there talking about things that they're passionate about, that they care about. As a brand, you can jump into that conversation and help them.” - Jeff Lesser, Twitter
Once they had a structure in place to manage the volumes seen on Twitter, JackThreads wasted no time putting it to work. Using Conversocial, the company was able to bring in content relevant not only to its customer support team but also to the brand itself, allowing them to engage with users beyond those who were just talking about “JackThreads.” The result was a real and tangible capacity to relate personally to customers, dramatically improving the way they interacted on these channels. JackThreads now possessed a team that not only understood how to provide impeccable service, but how to engage on social channels so effectively that they could actually bring in new customers.The Customer Convergence: Sales, Marketing and Social Care
“It is clear that social media has a positive business impact in both ROI and brand loyalty when enabled as an effortless service channel for consumers. As social channels continue to add new capabilities, their use case also evolves for core business functions such as sales and marketing—and socially mature brands stand to benefit by using them in unique and proactive ways.” – Joshua March, CEO and Founder of Conversocial
The shift from just social customer service to integrating sales and marketing tactics came out of the company’s “end-gaming for ROI” and trying to find opportunities to use Twitter as an outbound sales operation. The benefit came from executing it, testing it, seeing how people reacted, and then asking what worked. The conversations that succeeded were the ones where the social care agent didn't try to come out swinging and make a sale on the initial point of contact. Instead, they took little moments to get to know the person on the other end in small but meaningful ways. They channeled the deep social knowledge they had gained to refine their engagement, not only in customer service, but in other core business functions. By effectively recognizing the value of these channels, and investing the necessary resources to engage them at scale, they were able to create a unique voice that could drive demonstrable business growth.
The team analyzed these proactive interactions to find out how many new users and new orders they generated, and to really see what the gross return on investment was—and it was real. They discovered that they could acquire a customer or an order at a fraction of the cost of their acquisitions team. They found social care to be absolutely complementary to dedicated sales and marketing operations.
JackThreads is a model brand in social maturity, but that doesn’t mean it’s done evolving. One of the areas in which they continue to add value is moving past sales into market analysis. They are looking ahead to understand what people are saying about relevant trends in the marketplace, how they feel about the brand itself, and what’s generally trending among consumers. Social, over Twitter, provides a health check on the industry and consumer preferences. These insights are among the most valuable byproducts of social conversations that can be brought back to the business as actionable business insight.