The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Social Media


Here’s the nub of the challenge: How do you turn Twitter followers and Facebook friends into customers and influencers? The answer is that you can’t. There’s no magic formula that makes it happen. Social media is not direct marketing, its much closer to PR in my opinion.

In the old days (puts on slippers and gazes into the middle distance with a slight smile), the stereotypical business social networking was on the golf course, through the Freemasons or gentlemen’s clubs. I witnessed plenty of sales wining and dining but all this activity was about getting under the skin, understanding a bit more about what makes someone tick, finding out who else they know – not predominantly about getting a signature on a contract. People buy from people – importantly from people they like and trust and so it figures that your Social Media activity should be about being likeable and trustworthy.

Likeability in the Social world is about participation. If all you do is advertise the latest offer it doesn’t really add to the crowd. Imagine you walked into a crowded conference networking session, picked up a glass of complementary champagne and proceeded to tap people on the shoulder and sell to them. The conversion rate would be very low and there would be a string of people around the room discussing your behaviour. The social world is very similar – you build a meaningful network and get to know them better. The rule of thumb is that your contributions are a third interaction, a third adding content and only a third promotion. This isn’t a lot different than the crowded room. You’d walk up to a stranger and try and understand a bit more about them (where do they work, what do they do, are they enjoying the event…) before then giving some of the same information to them. You would then use the information you’ve shared to find common ground or to explore an area that interests you in more detail (“so you worked in Dubai for a while..what was that like” or “are you affected by the Euro problem at the moment?”). The point is that you have to work at it to find a foothold and then you need to listen and learn before you have permission to lead. LinkedIn is growing in stature as far as this is concerned – join groups and participate.

And this is where trust comes in. You’ve spent time getting a foothold but you can lose it in a moment. Remember, the objective of any networking activity is more about PR and help than it is about selling. If you are able to sell it is a surprising by-product rather than the reason for being there. What you do have is an enormous focus group, on-hand expertise, access to other contacts, suppliers if you need to find them. Be honest, be genuine and be personal.

The final point in my view is to try and turn the virtual into the real. If you meet someone, try and find their presence in the social world and follow or friend. Similarly, if you follow or friend someone in the social world, take the opportunity to introduce yourself if you find yourself in the traditional world – social media is not an alternative.

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Written by greencontact

April 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Opinion

Tagged with , , ,

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