3 minute read
By Jon Allen
Posted in Customer Engagement
Social media has been adopted as a channel to sell products and services for a range of businesses, from subject matter experts to global giants, for more than a decade now. But as we head into 2022, we’re seeing how an over-reliance on these public online communities can leave brands exposed to negative consequences.
To be sure, there’s obvious benefit to maintaining public social media pages for your brand—especially when it comes to engaging in those platforms’ messaging channels. When it comes to building a place for customers to engage with a brand, however, companies are moving increasingly toward private online communities, such as Verint Community, to provide a more customized customer experience that’s in line with their brand and meets customer expectations.
Here are a few points companies should consider when developing their social media strategy this year:
Being in control of your own brand is difficult when you’re left wondering if the platform itself is going to go offline or maybe even cease to exist.
Facebook’s outages in October were an example of the issues that can arise when your business relies on a public platform. Not only was Facebook gone for six hours, but everything Facebook runs disappeared too, including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
The impact has left businesses questioning how much they should be relying on the likes of Facebook as Lucy Jeffrey, founder of Bare Kind, explained in a recent article:
“The platforms were down for ages, and it was really a whole day out for sales,” she says. “I don’t want another day where this happens. My sales were one-fourth of what they normally are yesterday due to the outage. I am left feeling nervous at how reliant I am on the platform to do business,” said Jeffrey in the article.
Although you can control which content your brand chooses to share on the platform, you can’t control the wider newsfeed. There is nothing to stop your brand’s content appearing alongside problematic content, extremism, or negative narratives, leading to a negative association or an off-putting read.
The online forums provided by the well-known public social networks are a great place for communities to form, so it’s no surprise that the brands are reluctant to limit customer discussion.
However, it is wise to choose a platform that offers a reliable level of moderation, which is offered on private online communities such as Verint Community. Without it, misinformation can be spread, and spam comments can obstruct customers from accessing helpful insights.
Neil Johnson, who studies misinformation at George Washington University, explains: “People pick nuggets of fact and stitch them together into a false or misleading narrative that fits their own worldview. These narratives then become reinforced in online communities that foster trust and thus lend credibility to misinformation.”
Obviously, your brand doesn’t want to be associated with leading people astray.
When your customers are encouraged to access support using a platform such as Twitter, their grievances are being aired in a public sphere, which also opens the floor to additional input and spam comments.
A study from Research Now found that 61 percent of Twitter’s UK users admit that the public nature of Twitter affects what they Tweet about brands. While Twitter argues that customers are happy with this process, this could encourage publicly shaming brands for a faster resolution.
By focusing on directing your customers to a private community where you can more easily monitor feedback, your company can provide better customer service.
When your business is at the mercy of a third-party platform, you must unfortunately expect that there will be changes in data, privacy, and security that you may not be comfortable with.
This can damage your customer relationships and wider business results, as you have handed data to a platform that isn’t able to have your company’s—or your customers’—best interests at heart.
Businesses that invest in a private online community have access to a level of customer detail and insight that isn’t available on a public platform. This data is vital to understanding customer needs, expectations, and uncovering areas of potential growth for your company.
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