February 5, 2013 | Comments | Tags: Lino Di Julio, Sales, Service, Social Media
You’ve finally decided that it’s time to launch a social media campaign, you’ve convinced the senior management and have approval for funding and you’re geared up and ready to go. You setup the training for your shiny new Social Media Agents, you can feel the buzz in the air, and everything seems perfect. You roll out your campaign and…now what?
Sadly, rolling out a social media campaign is not as simple as just saying “GO!” and if you mess it up you can actually do more harm than good. Below are the five big reasons why your social media campaign might fail, read and learn from the mistakes of others.
1. You got the wrong people: You went through the screening process, interviewed all the candidates personally and they seemed to be a good fit, but were you looking for the right things? Remember when screening your potential social media candidates that you need to consider the other things these individuals will be doing. A Social Media agent whose job it is to provider customer service is not the same as a sales based social media agent. It’s not the same skillset when hiring for a call centre so why would you assume it’s the same on social media?. Remember folks that Social Media is a new tool for us to do jobs we’ve done before so when you’re hiring for agents to do this work please make sure that you consider the whole skillset. As I find myself saying a lot, social media is not magic, it’s a tool. You need people with the right core skillset for the job, and then you can teach them the tools.
2. You bought the hype and forgot your past: There are a lot of things about social media that, admittedly, are not common sense. The internet is a weird and wonderful place and it has, over time, developed its own sub-culture and even language and it is incredibly important that you understand those nuances. That said, don’t forget the things you already know about your business. People are people and they don’t change just because they picked up a smart phone or a tablet or logged into Twitter, or Facebook. Do you need a different interaction flow than you have in a traditional call center? Absolutely. Do you need to abandon the engagement strategies that are successful in your traditional channels? Absolutely not, and don’t listen to so called experts that will tell you different. Sure it’s a two way conversation versus a one way advert blast…but so is a phone call. The differences are subtle, not drastic.
3. Your expectations were wrong: “So all we need to do is get these agents putting out 5 tweets per minute per agent and that will not us the leads we need for a profitable conversion rate” you said knowingly, and the Social Media guys, eager to prove they can perform just nodded and set to work. Your expectations were mismanaged. Before you begin any social media campaign, be it sales or service or marketing, you need to have all parties sit down and be clear about what the expectations are. What problem are you trying to solve and is Social Media actually able to provide the answer? That’s a legitimate question that too few people ask at the get go and if it’s not answered thoroughly then the expectations that are set will be flawed. Things to consider when setting expectations:
- Engagement in social media requires credibility and credibility takes time to establish.
- Communication style on social media is designed to encourage conversation. One and done styles of service, sales, and support communications will not be successful.
- Scripting is not a viable solution in a social media campaign.
- SM has different KPI’s that should be measured.
4. You lack patience: “It’s been 2 weeks! Why aren’t we seeing a huge volume of sales!!” you said, as your social media team looked at you like you had just grown a second head. I know this is a tough one to swallow but you must absolutely be patient with your social media campaigns, the potential is high for success in most social media endeavours but there are a good series of items that will make it take time for you to see solid results. If you’re not patient you’ll fail, you’ll kill the project just as people are getting comfortable engaging with your brand in this way. Here’s some items you need to keep in mind:
- Credibility. I mentioned it earlier but until your audience grows you will not have the credibility that is expected by your customers. All twitter accounts come online with no followers. All Facebook pages start with no likes and the growth of those things are exponential (Think of it like word of mouth advertising)
- Planting the seeds. Not all your engagements are likely to be responded to right away, but the more quality posts you put out, the greater the likeliness that someone will see it and respond. The longer you stay at it, the better your results will be.
- Refining the dialogue. So you can’t script, but you can’t go hog wild saying whatever you want (No one wants service from reps that are all WTF!! And STFU!) so what do you do? You have to lay out guidelines and rules of engagement and then refine down as your brands customers dictate. Some brands can, will, and should use edgy lingo, others shouldn’t. Finding the type of engagement that works takes time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can or should have no expectations on a social media campaign right out the gate, what I AM saying is that you need to understand the medium when setting expectations. It’s a new way to engage and a new way to do business, so as exciting as it is you can very easily demotivate Social Media Agents and teams by expecting their process to be as refined as a call centre process without the 40 years of experience that backs call center industries.
5. You ignored the limitations of the technology: “What do you mean the SMA’s aren’t doing anything!?!” you asked “Well Sir, we tried to push out those 5 tweets a minute, and now our accounts are suspended.” Responds the SM team. Frustrating. Very Frustrating. There are limits and protocols that have to be observed when engaging in these channels and sometimes they are not easy to identify. Post too frequently and the Twitter police will shut you down, aggressively follow and let your follower/following ratio get out of whack and you will get shutdown. Post on peoples FB pages without them liking your page and you will creep them out. There are logistical items that simply need to be considered and understood, and you need to understand that some of these things will change as time goes on. If you do not have a plan for how to deal with these setbacks your campaign will fail. Again. Social Media is not magic, it’s a tool, and just like you wouldn’t expect a chainsaw to last very long when used to cut through metal, don’t expect your accounts (And by extension your campaigns) to survive when abused in ways they weren’t meant to be used.
Lino Di Julio, Creative Officer at S&P Data LLC