Leverage Social Media as a Key Channel for Communicating to Customers in a New Era

Face-to-face communication has always been the preferred method of interacting with customers. However, as the pandemic quickly unfolded over the last several weeks, it became apparent that a shift needed to happen with organizations’ channel strategies, as well as mindsets around the powerful tool that is social media.
Before the pandemic, many organizations, especially in the B2B sector, were leery to incorporate social in their communication planning. Many were not sure of its value or, more importantly, if their target audiences leveraged the platforms as a research tool when looking to make purchases or engage with their preferred brands. Of course, our current state left both customers and brands clamoring to develop unique ways to interact and try to continue business as usual in the new norm.
This shift has catapulted the value of social as an important tool in customer communications. In fact, LinkedIn (LI) has reported an increase among its members in postings by 40% and a 30% increase in leveraging the channel as the preferred method for conducting research. Likewise, Harvard Business Review reported an increase in thought leadership, with sharing industry knowledge up 13% across social platforms, specifically LI. These are statistics that cannot be ignored when planning. Here are some key factors to keep top of mind as you navigate this new territory and shift your customer communications efforts:
Before You Start
An obvious internal audience to target when thinking about leveraging social in your channel planning is your sales team. They are your gateway to customers, and with the shift the pandemic has caused in terms of interaction, now is the time to get started. Education will be key.
Try planning a webinar to train the team and specifically start with LI. One thing to keep top of mind as you roll out is the importance of their profiles. Make sure they are clear and concise and communicate each team member’s expertise. Impress on the team the need to stay relevant by ensuring they are sharing their knowledge. Also, it should not be all about products and your brand, but rather a mixture that includes industry knowledge and best practices. And last, stress the value of including hashtags; this will be key as your customers leverage LI to research. You want your sales team members and your content to rank high.
Value of Immediate Metrics
Being able to understand the impact of your customer engagement initiatives has always been at the top of every executive’s must-have list. Arguably, the most valuable aspects of social media are its ability to provide immediate feedback and the luxury to quickly shift strategies as a result.
Customer comments, survey capabilities, click-through rates and overall content consumption time are insights that can be gathered quickly, easily and very cost effectively. These platforms can give new meaning to product launches, virtual education events and overall brand sentiment activities.
Real-Time Communication
Social media platforms give organizations the ability to communicate with customers in real time, opening doors for brands to control the narrative and be first to report not only new product launches, but also during crises. More people are now turning to these platforms for their news than ever before.
Society is craving up-to-the-minute updates from brands; it has become the new norm. Brands that are not leveraging this power risk opening the door to their competition or, worse, leaving it up to others to control the narratives.

Cast a Wider Net   
Brands are always clamoring to add more potential buyers into the ever-important sales funnel. These platforms provide organizations new ways to target industries they serve as well as job titles and new geographic regions. Companies can now not only reach new buyers, but also influence the masses by positioning themselves as thought leaders within the industries they serve.
Brands can use the insights they garner from this new selling approach to open up new selling avenues. Influencers can be identified, new product applications can be explored, and potentially new regions for products can be discovered. The possibilities are endless.
At akhia communications, we focus on working with our clients to develop strategies that make sense, ones that have positive impacts for the business long after the crises are over. These are just some of the valuable aspects of leveraging social as a key selling tool. Keep in mind, no two approaches are alike, and each company should customize their channel plans. We can help work through appropriate approaches; contact us to work through a plan today.