Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Has The Ability to Search Photos by Content

The term artificial intelligence was coined 60 year ago. But now its starting to deliver. Lumos’s computer vision platform was initially used to improve the experience for visually impaired members of the Facebook community. Lumos is now powering image content search for all users. What does this means to you? You can now search for images on Facebook with key words that describe the contents of a photo, rather than being limited by tags and captions.

How does this work? It starts with the huge task of computational training. For the object recognition used in Facebook’s image search, the artificial intelligence (AI) system started with a small set of 130,000 public photos shared on Facebook. Using the annotated photos the system could learn which pixel patterns correspond to particular subjects. It then went on to use the tens of millions of photos on Facebook. So what this means is that the caption-reading technology trained a deep neural network though public photos shared on Facebook. The model essentially matches search descriptors to features pulled from photos with some degree of probability. You can now search for photos based on Facebook AI’s assessment of their content, not just based on how humans happened to describe the photos with text when they posted them.

How could this be used? Say you were searching on a dress you really liked in a video. Using the search it could be related back to something on Marketplace or even connect you directly with an ad-partner to improve customer experiences while keeping revenue growth afloat. So it seems it can help both customers, customer experience and companies selling things as well as ad partners.

What else is new? Facebook released the text-to-speech tool last April for visually impaired users so they could use the tools to understand the contents of photos. Then, the system could tell you that a photo involved a stage and lights, but it wasn’t very good at relating actions to objects. But now the Facebook team has improved that painstakingly labeling 130,000 photos pulled from the platform. Facebook trained a computer vision model to identify 12 actions happening in the photos. So for instance, instead of just hearing it was “a stage,” the blind person would hear “people playing instruments” or “people dancing on a stage” or “people walking” or “people riding horses.” This provides contextually relevancy that was before not possible.

You could imagine one day being able to upload a photo of your morning bagel and this technology could identify the nutritional value of that bagel because we were able to detect, segment, and identify what was in the picture.

So it seems the race is on for services not just for image recognition, but speech recognition, machine-driven translation, natural language understanding, and more. What’s your favorite AI vendor?

@Drnatalie, VP, Program Executive, Salesforce ITC

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Facebook Video Ads: What’s the ROI?

With the variety of common products available, often customers want to learn how a product or service works before purchasing. With more and more buyers using mobile devices to shop, 4 out of 5 shoppers say a video showing how a product or service works is important in their decision to purchase or not purchase a product or service. In fact, shoppers report research on mobile devices with visual content helps inform their product selection. As a result, Marketers who use video grow revenue ~49% faster than non-video users. But if a brand is going to use video, understand that shoppers of shoppers expect a consistent set of visual content across desktop and mobile devices.

Where does Facebook come into this equation? Over 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Techcrunch) It is reported that shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers and more than half of the marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

With over 1.5 billion users, ~1 billion users visit Facebook on their mobile device, so brands considering must think mobile first. What sets Facebook apart from its competitors is its unique ability to harvest vast amounts of customer information to create custom audiences, generate leads and build brands. The advantage is that it’s all within a platform that is already known for its engagement opportunity.

Facebook also  rewards advertisers for shares with cheaper views, cheaper clicks, and more impressions. This combination leads to an overall better ROI. The net-net is that retailers & brands should be seriously considering video advertising because advertisers cite a 40 percent increase in purchases as a result of video – specifically in the categories of apparel, home goods, and electronics.

While there seem to be many advantages, some businesses are holding back on video advertising because they feel video is too hard to make, or doesn’t produce conversions the way other ads do. But video content does not need to be difficult to create. There are vendors that make it easy, like Animoto. And attribution to video ads is easier often than TV ads because of the digital footprint.

Brands should also use the analytics Facebook provides and make sure to not waste budget by not segmenting your audience. Segmenting audiences can be done by looking at jobs, life events, relationship status, purchasing behaviors and additional segmenting can be done beyond this, for example geo-location targeting. Without segmenting an audience, marketing risk wasting their ad budget on the wrong audience and not generate the conversions expected.

In addition, as in any advertising, it’s important to include a call-to-action. A call-to-action can be as simple as Book Now for travel, Learn More for addition features on a product, Contact us for more information or Shop Now to be taken to the actual online store or landing page or a click-to-call button. But be careful – a call-to-action without engagement can result in consumers feeling “pushed” vs “pulled” into taking action. Include special offers and time sensitive, last minute deal to motivate consumer to come to a store, call or click.

If Marketers use a click to call button, make sure the contact center is ready to take the calls and knows what the special offers are. Consumers seem to prefer to call than fill out a web form and call convert to revenue 10X more than web leads. That is only true if there is someone at the other end of the phone to take the call intelligently. This means Marketers must ensure the ad copy and landing pages are optimized to drive calls and that they can attribute calls and the outcome to the right ad campaign so you can do more of the right thing and optimize the video marketing.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Applications

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Guest Post: 5 Tech Solutions That Will Help You Exceed Customer Expectations

In a time where the world is more connected through technology and social media, providing excellent customer service is crucial. The reputation of your business is built on its effectiveness, including the customer experience.

Exceeding customer expectations creates loyal customers and it differentiates you from the competition. In addition, word of mouth is now more powerful than ever, as customers can easily share both positive and negative opinions online.

Here are 5 powerful tech solutions that will help you exceed customer expectations and provide exceptional customer service:

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  1. Vision Helpdesk 

Serving businesses of all sizes and levels, Vision Helpdesk is a leading customer support software that comes in 3 different products. There’s the Helpdesk software, which enables customer support agents to receive, process, and respond to service requests. On the other hand, the Satellite Helpdesk software provides a multi-company customer support management solutions.

Additionally, all features from Helpdesk and Satellite Helpdesk combined are provided by the Service Desk software which follows the discipline of IT service management.

Unique features of these software include task management, ticket billing, asset management, and release management. Vision Helpdesk allows you to stay on track as you serve clients, creating a client portal that is convenient for both customer and company.

There are multiple pricing plans offered, varying by the specific software and the hosting plan. Pricing starts at $7 per month to host Helpdesk on your server with a recurring license, or a one-time license for $150.

  1. TeamSupport

This customer support program allows teams to collaborate better by eliminating miscommunications and quickly addressing customer issues. Improving customer communication helps teams handle the customer service process better.

The program has some key unique features that help with the delivery of cohesive customer support. There is ticket automation, which allows support staff to flag messages by word or type. For example, a staff could add a flag for any support request that contains the word “upset” or “frustrated.” This allows the team to prioritize the more urgent requests that need attention.

Another key feature is the Knowledge Base tool. This allows clients to try to solve their own minor issues, which enables support staff to handle bigger challenges that may arise. With TeamSupport, customers can have their needs prioritized and met with efficient responses. Pricing starts from $40 per month.

  1. Office 365 

Another top solution that will help you exceed customer expectations is Office 365. This cloud-based service features a number of different tools that can be beneficial. One of the newly debuted services is Bookings, which allows customers to schedule appointments with a company using online software. This makes a convenient process for customers as it eliminates the need for a phone call.

Dynamics is another Office 365 software tool. The CRM package brings a line of integrated business management solutions that allow your staff to make important business decisions with a greater sense of confidence. Key features of Dynamics include lead management, contact management, and territory management.

Pricing for Office 365 starts from $5/month per user, for the Business Essentials plan. Microsoft Dynamics pricing plans start at $4 per user/month.

  1. Samanage

If your company is seeking a more advanced, user-friendly help desk solution then Samanage is the option for you. Making life easier for both your team and the customer, Samanage has comprehensive functionality that allows you to quickly respond to service requests. This results in improved support for your customers.

The intuitive service desk ensures that your team will deliver exemplary support. Clients use their email or the powerful self-service portal to submit service tickets. Users can even search for a solution independently by using the system’s Knowledge Base.

In addition to submitting a new service ticket, your customers can easily track the status of a pending issue.

Samanage allows for a desk data integration and can be used on the go from any smartphone or tablet with web browsing capabilities. You can experience the convenience and up-to-date reliability of Samanage for an affordable annual subscription based on your software needs.

  1. AmoCRM

AmoCRM allows you to manage your pipeline and sales team. The sales management service is a web-based platform enables businesses to manage customer relationships more effectively. You can directly link platforms such as Facebook, Dropbox, Xero, and Zendesk to AmoCRM.

Valuable features include sales analytics, lead scoring, and email integration. The software supports custom field creation and provides a user-friendly approach to managing your company’ interactions with current and potential customers.

AmoCrm allows you to upload existing customers from contact databases such as Gmail and Outlook. There are also follow-up tasks to keep you up-to-date on meetings and calls, and these are attached to the contact or lead cards.

AmoCRM is free to try and plans start from $15/month.

There are many excellent technological solutions available that help businesses thrive in managing their customer service by maximizing efficiency and enhancing communication. However, technology can only take you so far. In order to provide a stellar customer service, your entire business should be customer-service oriented. Strive to exceed customer expectations whenever you can and this will definitely take your business a long way in terms of longevity and reputation.

 

About the Author:

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Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer, coffee snob and a tech enthusiast from Aurora, Illinois. When she is not working, Heather enjoys swimming and hanging out with her friends. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

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Guest Post: Prospering in the E-Commerce Market

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There are many e-commerce stores popping up right, left and center. The online market is like “Perfect Competition” described in economic studies; in perfect competition, there are no barriers toand exit and no single player can influence price. It is very easy to set-up an e-commerce store but with thin margins and cut-throat margins it is very difficult to survive and prosper in this segment. Many e-commerce stores are closing down, and yet at the same time, new big players like Walmart are entering into the market by purchasing websites like Jet.com in multi-dollar deals! Amazon is continuously expanding and is now currently pushing to capture a greater market share in India. The market has potential but only for the most determined. For the small players right now, it is especially a daunting challenge, as the market is in consolidation stage and most of the big players are combing and pushing slower businesses out or buying them out.

So the point comes what can you do for success in the e-commerce world?

  • Digital advertising is the key to success

You need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in online advertising, for it may look easy but it is actually quite challenging. Thanks to the advent of traditional Google ads will no longer cut it. Also charging your credit card on Facebook is also quite the expensive option and you cannot just rely on Facebook alone. So what do you do? You keep abreast of latest trends, for example right now Video ads are one way of getting around ad blockers.

Besides ad-blockers, video ads make more sense. Video consumption across devices has increased thanks to falling data charges in most countries and increasing smartphone and internet penetration.

  • Look inwards

Right now the e-commerce market is cut-throat. You can only maximize margins to a certain level. To stay competitive against giants you need to cut every possible cost. You need to look inwards and see where you can save money. Find a cheaper toll-free number, a cheaper shipping service or find ways to save on packaging. Negotiate better credit periods and see your bank charges and negotiate for each and every cent you can. It is difficult but every cent saved helps to add towards the bottom line.

This is especially a must for start-ups, often being helmed by fresh graduates who also have to worry about paying off their student loans. Every strive and profit you make out of your business not only helps you scale but also helps to get your personal finances in order avoid problems like delayed student loans.

  • Keep track of customer satisfaction rates

Customer satisfaction rates are often treated like a fire putting exercise. They often come into the limelight once sales start to fall. By then, restoring customer satisfaction and restoring goodwill lost becomes an uphill task. All businesses heavily rely on customer satisfaction thus one should keep a constant track it. Monitor your total sales and then draw up a meaningful sample that represents the whole population. Follow up with this sample and understand the customer satisfaction levels. Also keep a good track on customer reviews. Pacify disgruntled customers fast because they are the ones who are more active at commenting on public pages.

 

About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates

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Guest Post: 1202 Social Media Alone is Not Enough. Your Small Business Needs a “Big” Website

Social Media has truly been a game changer in how businesses connect with their customers. What used to be a cumbersome and expensive activity has been made very easy, but at the same time it has also become a constant battle for customer attention.

Social media has also helped the customers. It is much easier for them to connect with businesses. No longer do they have to rely on the traditional 1-800 number, enduring long hold times. They can simply post a question and then the business can answer them (within the same day hopefully). On the flip side, angry customers can post their scathing reviews for the world to see. Over all social media has really become a necessity for business if they want to stay valid in this world. And many businesses have been milking social media for all its worth, some even going as far as using it as a substitute for having a professional website. While social media is necessary for achieving success, especially for small businesses it can in no way substitute a business website. In order to truly milk social media, you have to pair it with a website.

Why do you need a big website along an efficient social media presence?

Recently Facebook added the sell feature on to pages, in short turning business pages into small business online stores. This feature again raised a slew of questions that why do we need a website anymore? You can even have a proper e-store running on a Facebook page. This question is especially asked by small businesses or start-ups who have limited budgets. Why should they put a strain on what are often shoe-string budgets to make a website, when they get almost the same level of functionality from a social media presence alone?

The market is not what it was 15 years ago

15 years back you could do without a website till you got to a level of financial success. However the market dynamics have considerably changed since then. Internet penetration in first world countries is especially at levels we had never nearly considered. And the speed at which the online world is expanding puts it a level where we can say that the virtual online world is one that exists in parallel of real one. It is that vast.

So if your business does not have a concrete presence in the online world then you do not appear as a credible business. Before we go anywhere, we Google it. If I only get Facebook page results, that makes your business look like an amateur set-up and makes it lose its credibility. Just like it is expected for a store to have a billboard, consumers expect businesses to have their own websites, just for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.

Many years ago it used to be a shop front that served as the first impression of the establishment. Now it is the website that makes for the first impression. You need a good website to ensure you grab people’s interest and convert that interest into a sale.

A website is effectively your businesses own branch on the virtual world

You can put up your products up for sale on Facebook, but that is just like putting your products on some other store’s shelves. You cannot influence the environment of the store to shape customer experience. Your products are the mercy of someone else. You cannot control customer shopping experience on Facebook. Facebook even changes the themes when and as they wish. But a website is somewhere you are in full control and give the customer a shopping experience you feel would be the best way to market yourself. For example some e-stores do not opt for a traditional slider and go the “Tinder” way that is the customers view one product at a time.

Also a basic feature that having your own website gives you is recommending customers their next possible purchase, based on their present viewing history. This is something that you lose your products on social media.

Social media has also restrictions on photo sizes that you can upload. This may be a drawback as intricate details may be lost when you compress file size.

Also many people might not want to buy from Facebook, so not having a website means lost sales. And a website along with a brick and mortar store is the perfect combo. Your brick and mortar store gives the customers who want to “feel and buy” what they want and online customers get the feasibility of buying from wherever at whatever time they want.

A website is a business you control and shape

Unlike Facebook you are in complete control. How your business works in completely on you. Just like Facebook gives you a free “shelf” to display your products, businesses with successful e-commerce website have gone on to sell “shelves” on their websites. A website has a huge potential for revenue making and is only limited by your imagination. A small business gains by investing in a website as they gain the option of multiple income streams from one smart investment!

One last thing to mention is that it is very important you choose a professional company to do the development for you. This is because you might require after-sales services, and freelancers are not that reliable.

 

About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates

 

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Guest Post: How Social Media Has Changed Customer Service

The emergence of the 1-800 number changed the customer service game fifty years ago. It enabled customers to directly reach out to the companies they support with their hard-earned money. Back then, snail mail was the only other way to communicate.

Now, five decades later, the game has changed drastically. In 2014, brands were asked over 22 million questions on Twitter and Facebook alone. And statistics from Social Baker reflect that the majority of those questions are not being answered on Twitter.

Your customers want to interact with your brand, and you want to give them better customer service. Here’s how to tweet and deliver the customer service your customers want.

Taking Customer Service Public

Customers are attracted to the public nature of customer service tweets. They are not something a brand can erase. It’s not like calling customer service where you can be put on hold forever or be hung up on. It’s an upside that is no doubt responsible for the staggering rise in these types of tweets in the last few years. But while a public tweet can be very satisfying if you get a timely response, it can be equally frustrating if your tweet is ignored altogether.

In fact, fewer than 30 percent of questions to major brands were answered in the second quarter of 2015, according to Social Baker. Now that is a mind-boggling statistic. When a customer reaches out to you and you don’t answer the phone or respond to an email, it upsets that one customer, or maybe more if they write a bad Yelp review. But if a customer tweets to you publicly and you do nothing, it’s out there for the whole community to see. And you also open the floodgates for more tweets of a very negative nature. Remember, you can block a user but you can’t stop them from using a hashtag.

Making Marketing Magic

The best strategy to handle the public nature of customer service on Twitter is simple: answer every tweet. Every single one. This will not only show the customer tweeting that you’re on top of your game and present on your social media accounts, it will show anyone else looking at your account that you’re interactive and you stand behind your product or service. The best companies hope for complaints and turn them into content consumers. Look at every tweet, whether negative or positive, to show your customers and your prospective customers that you care.

Make Your Feed Extraordinary

If you’re a Twitter newbie, you might notice that a lot of Twitter users, even a lot of businesses, use duplicate content to populate their feeds. You’ll notice that many tweets don’t have pictures or even full-length descriptions, but are cut off in the middle of a caption and followed by an Instagram or Facebook link. Sounds like a great way to save time and build your Twitter following right? Wrong!

Duplicate content is a terrible way to build your brand’s Twitter presence. Your customers are not only looking for remedies to their problems or answers to their questions. Part of providing great customer service is providing information on your Twitter feed that your followers can’t find anywhere else. Why would they follow you on Twitter if they see the same content on your Facebook or Instagram accounts?

Add pictures and videos to your posts, and make them original, as well as useful, for your customers. Every sixth or tenth tweet should be an advertisement. Your other tweets should be relevant industry information, how-to guides, inspirational quotes and other non-advertorial content that helps define your brand, not just your product or service. Take Amway’s Twitter account for example. It’s not heavily recruiting new reps or pushing products. It’s informing its audience about its philanthropic ventures, posting pictures of its employees and sharing its ethos through photo quotations. This is how you engage your Twitter audience and inspire confidence in your customers to reach out to you and give you their valuable feedback.

 

About the Author

Stacy Eden is a Phoenix, Arizona native with a passion for art, power tools, and historical significance. She draws inspiration from classic cars, ancient mythological sculptures and jewelry designers such as Delfina Delettrez, Shaun Leane, and Dior Jewellery creative director Victoire de Castellane.

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Guest Post: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Customer Data Collection

Digital business is increasing the potential monetary value of data, but most companies aren’t leveraging this valuable resource. Smart devices, mobile technology and social media are increasing the volume and variety of customer data available at an accelerated rate, turning data brokering into a multibillion dollar business while simultaneously making data more affordable than ever. General information about consumers is now available for about $0.50 per 1,000 people, estimates the Financial Times. Read on for the trends that are transforming data collection and the tools that smart companies are using to turn data into profit.

Internet of Things

One of the biggest technology trends is the increasing presence of smart electronic devices, a trend known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Earlier stages of the Internet were centered around personal computers and then mobile phones, and now the Internet of Things includes all sorts of smart devices, from smart houses to smart TVs to smart cars, watches and clothes.

All these devices collect data that is centered around the consumers who use these devices. This enables businesses to organize their market research and advertising efforts around the totality of data as well as individual uses, a trend known as marketing personalization. The Internet of Things means that the data collected can conceivably be used to personalize ads they see in their car, at work and while shopping.

Location-Based Data

The Internet of Things forms a digital mesh that enables consumers and their data to be pinpointed by location. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note5 are GPS-enabled, allowing marketers to collect data on their location and deliver personalized messages that appeal to customers at specific locations.

One of the emerging applications of this is beacon marketing, which identifies when customers are entering stores to deliver customized coupons, discounts and other special offers. For instance, Hillshire Brands saw a 36 percent increase in brand awareness and a 20 percent increase in purchase intent by using beacon technology.

Context-Sensitive Data

Data collection is becoming more context-sensitive. For instance, a webpage that displays well on a desktop screen needs to adjust to be viewable on a smaller mobile device screen. This means that the site needs to collect context-sensitive data about the viewer’s device and screen size.

Another context-sensitive use of data is retargeted advertising, when information gathered on one device follows users as they use other devices. For instance, Yahoo recently added a feature to its Gemini ad marketplace that enables advertisers to send retargeted ads to customers on websites, apps and Yahoo interest categories based on their browsing behavior.

Social Media Data

One of the most important data collection sources is social media. CMS Wire reports that 90 percent of the data available today was collected over the past two years and 80 percent of it came from social media use.

Social sites are seeking to capitalize on this, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube all introducing buy button features last year. In 2016, social media brand engagement and buying will drive data collection, predicts Brandwatch.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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Salesforce Announces Salesforce for Messenger Platform

What’s The News? Salesforce announced Salesforce for Messenger Platform which will empower companies to create entirely new sales, service, marketing and app experiences for customers on Messenger. Salesforce for Messenger will enable companies to leverage existing business processes to make customer journeys even more relevant and personalized than ever before. This is the latest innovation in Salesforce’s ongoing strategic partnership with Facebook.

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Together, the companies are empowering companies to engage their customers through dynamic experiences around products, brands and moments—all connected to their business. Powered by Salesforce Lightning, this is a proven platform for more than 150,000 companies and millions of users, in which Salesforce for Messenger will deliver personalized engagement at scale with CRM data.

What’s Happening With Messenger Facebook: Messenger’s growth is skyrocketing with its monthly active users growing from 500 million in 2014 to 900 million today. Often Marketing “owns” the Facebook page and had not worked out what to do with Customer Service issues. Nothing worse than getting a #fail in the middle of marketing campaign. For those companies that do have good relationships between Customer Service and Marketing, this will only help them to do an even better job of serving customers. For companies that don’t have this relationship worked out, the connection with Facebook Messenger may be the missing piece they need to connect the dots between Customer Service and Marketing.

And this is perhaps why so many companies are so eager to embrace it as the new channel to extend customer engagement and create conversations. Salesforce extends its leadership in CRM with the launch of Salesforce for Messenger. Companies will be able to leverage Messenger as a customer engagement channel to deliver entirely new 1-to-1 experiences across sales, service, marketing and apps.

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Adding Facebook Messenger to the Checkout Flow in eCommerce: And because it is connected to the world’s #1 CRM platform, each Messenger interaction can be specifically tailored based on the context of the entire customer relationship. For example, a retailer will be able to embed a Messenger plugin on the checkout workflow on its website so a customer can ask any final questions before making a purchase.

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Since this Messenger exchange is also connected to the customer’s previous sales, service and marketing account records, the company can take a more personal approach to exceeding customer expectations. Companies will have an invaluable opportunity to use Messenger as a channel to build brand loyalty and deepen customer relationships by delivering seamless experiences across marketing, sales and service with Salesforce.

Comments from Salesforce Executive, Alex Dayon, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce: “Now with Messenger, Facebook is inviting companies to engage their customers in new ways on its platform at scale. With Salesforce for Messenger companies will be able to easily connect their businesses to Messenger, creating deeper, more personalized and 1-to-1 ​customer journeys within the chat experience.”

Salesforce has been on a continuous journey to completely re-imagine CRM for the digital era and the launch of Salesforce for Messenger is the latest example of how it is expanding the market. With Salesforce, companies can ensure that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to create a memorable experience. In a world where the customer wants to get personalized, seamless care, this is an interesting step in the right direction.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Service and Customer Experience

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Social Cloud Customer Service Has Dismantled the Old Marketing Funnel

Old Marketing Funnel Days: In the days before social media, marketers would target key customers and go through an awareness, desire, interest and then action (buying) process; essentially the old marketing function. The marketer would start with a large number of customers at the top of this so called “funnel” and as the customers in the “funnel” were approached, there would become fewer customers, narrowing down to those with the desire, interest and ending up with enough customers that would eventually take action and buy whatever was being offered.

The Way a Company Manages Their Social Media Can Destroy the “Old” Marketing Funnel. Today, we know that social media plays a significant role in the purchase decisions of potential buyers. That’s why the way a company manages their social media can turn consumers from brand advocates to troublesome trolls. And there’s an invisibility of social media that has completely destroyed the marketing funnel.

How Does Social Media #Fail Affect the “Old” Marketing Funnel? What do I mean by this? Let’s say I am a customer who is having issues and I post #fail and the brand’s name. And then let’s say there are 1, or 10 or 100 or 1,000 people who might have been interested in becoming aware of that company’s products and services. But because they saw my #fail, they make a mental note and a decision, unbeknownst to the brand, to never buy from that company. They saw the company didn’t have that customer back when they had a question or need help. And this is essentially why Social Cloud Customer Service is the New Marketing. How customers get treated in Customer Service and when they share that affects the future purchasing power of that pool of customers who might have been interested.

Customers Opt Out Without The Brand Even Knowing They’ve Lost a Customer Because those customers opted out, they will never be in the companies “old” marketing funnel. They may have had the potential to become part of a targeted segment that could have gone through the various stages of awareness, desire, interest and then action. However, because those customers saw the #fail post, they will never be a potential customers. Essentially the pool of customers that company might have drawn upon is now much smaller.

Loosing Customers You Didn’t Know You Lost. The company many not realize they lost those customers. They make still send out marketing messages. But it’s every likely that those customers who made mental note of how another customer was treated, will never respond to any marketing messages and never buy from that brand. And that’s what I mean about the customers disappearing or becoming invisible to a brand. They are no longer available to be marketed to. They will just ignore the marketing messages because they saw when I tried to get help, the company didn’t reach out in social media and try to help. And this is the invisibility that is affecting many companies and they don’t even realize that by poorly managing their social media, they have shrunk their customer base.

Managing Your Social Media Well Can Be a Customer Attractor. On the other hand, let’s say there is a customer who complains in social media and the company is paying attention. They are monitoring, listening and respond quickly and resolve the issue. 1 or 10 or 100 or 1,000 customers will have seen this and as a result, they make mental note of it. They might not be in the market for what the company is offering at that exact moment, but when they are and they have to choose a brand, they are going to choose a brand that has their back or a company that they have seen take care of another customer’s issue quickly and meet the customer expectations.

Not Responding To #Fail Is No Way To  Manage Your Current and Future Customers. The failure to meet or exceed those expectations can drive away new and existing customers. This is why I think the old “marketing funnel” has really been dismantled. With more and more companies turning to social media to communicate with consumers, it’s important to manage the channels in a way that builds brand loyalty and converts users into advocates. Today’s consumers turn to social media when they have a question about their purchase. The way your company manages customer service via social media can build brand loyalty & turn users into advocates.

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You can get the full infographic from IntelliResponse here.

Where do you stand? Are you monitoring, listening and responding? Or are you not even paying attention to social media?

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research, Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Create Awesome Customer Experiences

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