Key Insights: Leaders harness social media for digital transformation and customer service
- Our Marketing Intelligence September report ‘Search & Social Advertising’ as the front runner in this technology segment.
- Deloitte states that 77% of CEOs report that digital transformation efforts have significantly accelerated.
- Social media helped 69% of brands prepare for the COVID-19 impact on business and maintain customer/audience relationships.
- 66% agreed that social media programs have helped their business prepare for a broader digital transformation.
- Gartner benchmarked 118 brands on their digital customer service strategies. The sectors included Big Box retailers, department stores, fashion, specialty retail, grocery, financial services, watches & jewelry, and hotels.
- Customer service ‘leaders’ included H&M, Sephora, and a few more names.
- While Nike, Vans, Saks Fifth Avenue, Big Box retailers like Whole Foods fell into the ‘laggards’ category.
- Surprised? Dive in to find out more.
As per our ClickZ and Search Engine Watch pulse survey’s latest insights, ‘Advertising & Promotion’ is the top marketing technology that piqued senior marketers’ interest in September. Our Marketing Intelligence September report shares a deep dive analysis of seven-day rolling averages and shows ‘Search & Social Advertising’ as the front runner in this technology segment. This week we help you establish how social media strategy can catalyze digital transformation and help across business verticals like sales, customer relationships, customer service, and how matured brands are harnessing the power of social media.
Deloitte states that 77% of CEOs report that digital transformation efforts have significantly accelerated and 70% of CEOs are prioritizing changes to customer behavior as the most important factor setting their future direction. To help you understand social media’s instrumental role in digital transformation, we’ve chosen data-backed paths by Gartner and Hootsuite.
How is social media enabling business transformation?
Hootsuite highlights different business outcomes that were achieved in marketing and sales functions. Hootsuite’s and Altimeter Group’s survey of 2,162 marketers that conducted in-depth interviews with leaders working in large enterprises using complex social media strategies, to find answers to these critical questions:
- What do organizations achieve when they broaden their use of social media beyond marketing and communications departments?
- How does social media impact customer, employee, partner, shareholder, and community relationships?
- As organizations expand their use of social media to influence these relationships, how does it prepare them to meet broader transformation goals?
Some key findings from the survey were:
- 72% of Hootsuite’s respondents agreed that social media helps improve the efficiency of their other media
- 78% agreed that social media empowered them to reach prospective customers more efficiently vs other media
- Social media helped 69% of brands prepare for the COVID-19 impact on business and maintain customer/audience relationships
- 66% agreed that social media programs have helped their business prepare for a broader digital transformation
How prepared are businesses for customer service 2020?
Gartner benchmarked 118 brands across based on their digital customer service strategies. The sectors included Big Box retailers, department stores, fashion, specialty retail, grocery, financial services, watches & jewelry, and hotels.
Gartner’s magic quadrant categorized these market players based on ‘Self-service features’ (such as FAQ pages and chatbots) vs ‘Assisted channels’ (live chat and Twitter usage).
These 118 brands were then plotted on a two-dimensional grid into one of four distinct quadrants: ‘Leaders’, ‘Hand Holders’, ‘Set It and Forget It’ or ‘Laggards’.
Leaders and laggards of technology adaption for customer service
Surprisingly, there are just five customer service leaders in 2020.
Specialty retail rules the top five leaders’ list who are great technology adaptors for customer service:
- MAC Cosmetics (Beauty)
- Victoria’s Secret (Specialty retail)
- H&M (Specialty retail)
- REI (Activewear)
- Sephora (Specialty retail)
Laggards comprised 53% of the total showing an assortment of many sectors that have a relatively immature approach to digital customer service strategies. The list shows:
- Hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, Sofitel, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and more
- Fashion brands like Gucci and more
- Grocery stores like Whole Foods and more
- Big box retailers like PetSmart, Bit Lots, and more
- Department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Kohl’s, and more
- Activewear brands like Nike, Vans, and Athleta as well
Surprising? You can see their scores and more on how all the other industry players are placed on Gartner’s customer service magic quadrant 2020.
What are mature brands achieving from social media strategies? Does it include customer service?
Mature social media practitioners increased their social advertising investment, saw increases in brand sentiment, and remain connected to a diverse set of constituents through social media.
These were some key findings from Hootsuite’s and Altimeter Group’s survey which spanned over 1K respondents across 12 industries:
- Mature organizations were 1.4 times more likely to build such strong relationships.
- 84% of mature organizations saw significant success in improving key brand health metrics, such as relevancy and positive sentiment.
- Mature social media practitioners were 2.3 times more likely to report that their employee advocacy program showed improvement in brand health, making it a cost-effective complement to other brand-building measures.
- B2C organizations were more likely to attribute value to relationships developed via social media, with 51% of B2C respondents agreeing versus 37% of B2B respondents only 28% of all respondents believe they have mature social media practices in attributing value to business outcomes driven by social media.
- Only 10% feel they have mature practices around integrating social data into enterprise systems like Adobe, Marketo, or Salesforce.
In addition to the above, the study also found that from a sales perspective, the use of social media increased both brand differentiation and lead quality while reducing customer acquisition costs.
Here’s how mature brands have extended their social media strategy beyond marketing and communications.
Adapting an employee advocacy program
Making your employees a voice to generate positive exposure for your brand and its offerings through digital platforms has served great results with reduced social media advertising spends being the biggest benefit, followed by better brand health, more customer satisfaction, and improved sales efficiency.
SODEXO’s employee advocacy program included 250 senior executives which drove substantial traffic, doubling the monthly average of new followers to the company’s LinkedIn page.
Kim Beddard-Fontaine, SVP of digital and employee communications at SODEXO, explained,
“The less frequent sharers were getting stronger engagement and therefore generating more trust versus just showing a lot of content on their social networks.”
Social media practitioners should create incentives that encourage quality engagement over quantity, keeping in mind the relationships each person wants to develop.
Using social media to track leads
Overall, while 28% of all respondents reported that they can attribute value to business outcomes driven by social media (such as leads, sign-ups, donations, downloads, and purchases). Mature brands were 1.5x as likely to report they have tracked sales partially attributed to social media.
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