It has been noted—by pundits and regular folks, alike—that social-media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are feeling increasingly less personal these days. It’s true. Algorithms and automation have changed the user experience.
However, with hundreds of millions of users interacting with each other on social media every day, places like Facebook and Twitter are still much sought after, with 74% of Internet users looking to connect and share. And not only are they looking to connect and share with friends, family, and peers, they are looking for a personalized connection with brands and companies.
When it comes to social-media marketing, some brands fall into the same algorithm and automation wormhole that the social-media sites do. It’s easy to see why. The sheer scale of social media can be daunting, and, at first glance, it seems like you’d see a higher ROI from automated social-media messaging than from one with a human touch. After all, if one can get the same results with automation-driven lower costs, that's better ROI, right?
But social media is based on the marketing fundamentals of building relationships among and with customers who drive sustainable business growth. This human interaction is why social media is so successful. When people are able to share ideas, connect emotionally, and champion values, they tell their friends. They contribute to the discussion fostered by the brand. Contribution is a commitment that leads to loyalty, which leads to sales.
Smart marketers create an environment that fosters dialogue and builds relationships to drive better results for a better ROI. Those who try to manage the scale of social media with automation lose the human engagement—powerful personal interactions—that ultimately defines an experience and drives brand loyalty. The problem with algorithms is they miss a lot. They don’t pick up nuance and context. And they rest on the assumptions of the people who wrote them, which may not be the assumptions and views of the people who interact with your brand.
So what’s a brand marketer to do? How is it even possible to connect with your customers on a personal level in a way that’s affordable with a solid ROI?
First, you need to develop your social brand identity. This starts with business goals and understanding how to use social media to create an environment that attracts and involves customers through dialogue and relationships—as opposed to shoving canned messages through social-media channels at customers.
Next, tools are available that combine technology with human moderation, engagement, and insight. They are organized in a way that make it easier for humans to spot what’s important. They understand content in context (including the nuances), what needs to be addressed, and what need to be escalated. This combination of technology and human touch provides a way to manage the scale—and the personalization and socialization that ultimately make a difference.
ROI statistics bear out this assumption that adding the human touch to social-media marketing makes good business sense. For example:
- 42: Average number of people social customers tell about a good customer support experience.
- 53: Average number of people social customers tell about a bad customer support experience.
- 16 million: Extra sales from a 1% increase in word of mouth.
- 21%: Revenue lift from customers who have a good customer support.
In short, if you bring the human touch to your social-media marketing, you’ll see better results. By creating a stimulating dynamic among your customers, you’ll build relationships, which builds loyalty. This puts you in their minds and hearts on a day-to-day basis, which ultimately brings them to your store or website and boosts sales. It’s a sales model that has worked for thousands of years—and one that still works today.