Messaging is where social media teams are headed says Hootsuite CMO. Source: Shutterstock

Messaging is where social media teams are headed says Hootsuite CMO. Source: Shutterstock

Customers expect personalization on social media says Hootsuite CMO

ASK any digital marketer or business leader about their company’s social media presence and they’ll talk about their content strategy, ideas to engage with customers, tactics to boost user-generated content, and more.

However, users have evolved, and it seems like the demand for good content continues to be high, but customers now also expect smarter, personalized, and more intelligence one-on-one communication via social channels.

“Audiences are rapidly shifting away from posting on public social media spaces, like the newsfeed in favor of private messaging spaces. So it’s no surprise that messaging is rapidly becoming a dominant social media channel, influencing how people communicate with businesses,” Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson told Tech Wire Asia.

“In fact, nine out of ten consumers globally want to speak with a business directly through a messaging app.”

To make things abundantly clear, Wilson and other social media evangelists point out that the platforms we currently use are critical to success for most businesses — but success comes to those that use data from these platforms to understand customers and personalize the experiences they offer to them.

“With more than 2 billion internet users across Asia Pacific (APAC), there’s a plethora of social data available. Understanding and then accurately leveraging this data is crucial to providing relevant personalized experiences. But to do this, brands need to turn social data into social intelligence.”

More insights on personalized communication

Facebook recently said that 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month.

The social media platform’s study of consumer behavior revealed that 53 percent of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly and 56 percent of people would rather message than call customer service.

It’s why Wilson wants to make sure that businesses she deals with understand the shift and are able to really sit down and think about the “experience” they provide on chat.

“it’s not enough just to have a presence via messaging – customers now have high expectations for these one-on-one experiences. Messaging provides an intimate space and has a profound impact on how corporate messages can be conveyed.”

Chat, or rather, “personalized communication” on social media platforms shouldn’t be treated as yet another advertising channel.

Instead, it should be used to connect with audiences in a meaningful way — engaging in high-value conversations that turn customers into fans, and fans into advocates of the brand.

Messaging is also the perfect platform to help streamline customer service queries that may be too sensitive to share via public social media channels, especially if they involve personal information.

Customers who’re upset with their bank, airline, or telecom company, for example, often voice out issues on social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. On these platforms, servicing those queries can be challenging since the communication is public.

In such cases, Wilson believes chat creates great opportunities to delight customers and tackle their problems quickly while also ensuring the privacy of their personal data.

Social intelligence can turbocharge your organization

Around 80 percent of the decisions people make each day are based on emotions, however, the data businesses use to drive products, and interactions often lack emotional context.

“Businesses need to keep in mind that emotion is data too – thinking of their customers from both an emotional quotient (EQ) and an intelligence quotient (IQ) can help them tap onto social intelligence more effectively.”

These quotients work in tandem with social data to develop customer relationships, while IQ leverages the same social data to inform and drive business outcomes.

Naturally, B2C industries such as retail, hospitality, and food & beverage industries are most susceptible to the emotional responses of their direct customers.

But as consumers are increasingly part of the business decision-making process, even B2B industries like manufacturing can no longer ignore the indirect influence emotional responses from end users have on their products or services.

“We are seeing greater investment in social across business functions, which goes to show how the value of social extends far beyond marketing. In APAC, 62 percent of businesses are using social across functions like customer service, human resources, and even product development.”

The next stage in social maturity, Wilson explains, is to effectively tap into social to improve business performance – from increasing revenue to improving relationships with customers.

“Now that social touches on so many different departments, bringing social media management in-house is not just a move of convenience, but one of strategy.”

With the bulk of the audience across the region on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube – as well as networks like WeChat and LINE – managing social media in-house grants businesses full visibility and control over their social media strategy across the region.