Social Media: Just Another Marketing Platform?

Business Insider had an interesting article on the impact of social media on businesses.  According to Marco Pacelli, “There’s no denying that social media has revolutionized the way companies listen to and engage with their customers, but there is also no consensus about its true impact and ROI.  Many have claimed social media will eventually boil down to just another method for marketers to shove their agenda down consumers’ throats. Some say it’s the only way companies will do business in the future.
”  So, which is it?

Social media isn’t going anywhere; it’s continually evolving but it is a platform that will be around for the foreseeable future.  The problem for businesses is that there is no clear indication of the ROI because social media is in its infancy and early adapters are still feeling their way out.  Another problem is that they just don’t know what to do with it; social media is like a shiny new power tool.  It looks great – but how does it work?  About 75 percent of companies would like to use social media for customer service, but they simply do not know how best to do that.

It is becoming expected that businesses offer customer service, such as problem resolution, via social media.  There is a line that companies have to walk though: when customer service is effective, it not only creates a more positive experience but everyone is happy, too.  But 40 percent of the time, the problem or question is not resolved, and when that happens, social media suddenly becomes a lot more expensive.  The customer will typically call a live representative, and this costs about $15 per interaction.  Email tends to cost $3 per interaction, and online chat costs $5 per interaction.  Not using social media can be damaging but using it ineffectually can be equally costly.

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