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This week I spoke at the 6th Annual Omni-Channel Retail Summit 2015 in London’s very nice Cavendish Conference Centre. There were some interesting speakers on the bill, including John Lewis, Snow and Rock and Virgin Media.

My session was included at short notice to cover another speaker who couldn’t attend (hence you won’t see my name on the website). However, I tried to use my 30 minutes to offer up 8 useful tips on keeping social media activity joined up across different channels (not just social platforms, but all channels a business might use).

Here’s a very brief summary:

#1 Keep your messages consistent: it’s not just about point of sale and print advertising looking the same as what’s on Facebook. Instead, think about broader themes that you’re trying to communicate and translate that into something socially shareable and engaging (etc. etc.).

#2 Be authentic in helping customers pre and post shop: at the start of the customer journey think about ways to be truly, authentically helpful. If you’re using platforms like Pinterest to inspire them make sure your content is up to date, links work, product is in stock etc.    And after purchase, make sure you build a customer review through into the process… BUT this needs to be based on an experience that the user wants to share. I referenced who do this so well.

 #3 Proactively look for emerging areas of dissatisfaction: I referenced some new(ish) trends in retail like Apple pay and the rapid growth of click and collect. We all know these are areas that can have teething problems for customer service… so make sure your social listing is tuned in. Even better, if you haven’t started yet you can get customer feedback from competitors’ efforts!


#4 Delight consumers during their customer journey: what social data can you act on a during a consumer’s shopping experience? Yes technology is a key requirement, but how are you empowering your customer service/community managers to act on what they find. At Sainsbury’s we had a lovely example of finding a tweet from a customer sitting in their car in the poring rain, with a sleeping baby, wishing for a coffee. We managed to get a coffee to them, because the social customer service team had to the autonomy to make it happen.

#5 Engage customer service early: customer service agents who manage social are the best people to get a sense check on what customers think. Use their wisdom!

#6 Get setup to incorporate insights: don’t keep social media activity, like insight generation, stuck in the social team. Empower people across the business to use social to do their job better. Don’t make the social team a bottle neck.

#7 Creatively answer audience questions: what are the 10 most frequently asked questions to your contact centre? Could they be turned in short videos? Could store colleagues have them to hand on an iPad or just tell customers to watch them? Sounds simple… but as we found in our 2015 report on big brands using YouTube, very few are doing this sort of thing.

#8 Always empathise with the customer: social platforms are making online purchases easier, with the launch of products like Twitter’s Buy Now button. But don’t forget, that doesn’t change the reason people like social platforms in the first place – still do all the good stuff, like empathising with the customer and thinking about what excites/ motivates them.

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