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Arkansas State University

Learn About Social Media for Marketing and Customer Service

Social media marketing is an essential component of an omni-channel marketing strategy. It offers opportunities to engage with customers rather than communicate in monologues, to improve brand awareness and loyalty, become more credible and authoritative, and improve customer service — all cost effectively!

Take a few key steps as you incorporate social media into your marketing and customer service plans:

Use the Principles of Human Behavior

Social media marketing is particularly effective because it enables businesses to harness principles of human behavior that can drive marketing success. These include:

  • Social proof: The theory that people will adopt the beliefs or actions of a group they trust. This herd mentality drives buying behaviors, positive associations with brands, and brand loyalty.
  • Clustering: Grouping similar pieces of information to increase memory retention. Facebook and other social platforms let advertisers do this in several ways. Your marketing messages are more readily understood and retained longer when consumed as part of a cluster.
  • Priming: Using associations in target consumers’ subconscious to influence buying decisions. When you have the opportunity to engage gradually over time, you can develop the subconscious associations consumers will have with your brand.

Establish SMART Goals and the Right Metrics

The popular S.M.A.R.T. mnemonic is essential to creating goals against which your eventual return on investment (ROI) can be measured. Your goals must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Goals that fit this framework enable you to take the next steps of determining which metrics you want to track, to link goals to strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs), and to customize analytics reports to track performance against those goals. You will want to use metrics for each of the key customer journey stages: awareness, engagement, conversion and consumption. Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals might include achieving 12% online revenue contribution within one year or acquiring 25,000 new online customers at an average cost per acquisition of $40.

Get to Know Your Audience by Segment

Social media platforms not only allow you to engage your audiences but also to learn more about them. Use incentives to drive social media followers to your website, where you can learn about their demographics and psychographics, including age, location, income, industry and interests. Ask how customers discovered your products or services, what they like about them, and how they use them.

The more information you have about each customer in your database, the better you can segment your marketing communications based on specific data points. Beyond marketing, you can use this information to drive research and development, and customer service.

Determine Which Platforms Work Best for Specific Purposes

For every industry and business, there is an optimum blend of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Google Reviews and Pinterest. Each has specific strengths and weaknesses, relative to your marketing needs.

Yelp and Google Reviews are excellent for generating user opinions when people search for businesses of your type in their areas, or directly by your business name. YouTube is the all-important audiovisual search engine, and the videos you create for this platform can be used elsewhere. Tweeting and using hashtags in clever ways can empower your followers, and not just on Twitter.

Imagine Social Media as a Customer Service Channel

It is becoming increasingly important to make customer service available across all channels of communication, including your website, email, phone and social media. Earning a reputation for serving customers through social media will increase the likelihood of positive brand experiences that lead to likes, referrals and new followers. Consider that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals and that 45% of consumers share bad customer service experiences through social media.

Depending on the size of your company, you may have employees dedicated to customer service through social media channels on the whole, or one for each major platform. Use LinkedIn to answer queries about employment and to direct strong candidates to the resources they need to learn about you as an employer. Use Facebook and Twitter to address customer complaints. Sometimes you will want to do this publicly, to demonstrate your commitment to customer service; other times you’ll do it individually through email or direct messaging to resolve specific problems.

Customers now expect a response, no matter how they communicate with you. Given that your brand’s reputation rests partly on social performance, it makes sense to invest in optimizing social media as a customer service channel.

In much the same way, best-of-breed companies are setting the tone on using social media for customer service. Marketing audiences have now come to expect that the companies they support will engage with them on mutual terms. As brands continue to evolve, and service and support get ever more entrenched in social media, it likely will become the most important marketing and customer service channel you have.

Learn more about A-State’s Master of Science in Media Management, Social Media Management Track online program.


Hootsuite: How to Create a Social Media Strategy in 8 Easy Steps

DMIBlog: Social Media Is a Customer Service Channel – Whether You Like It or Not

Smart Insights: How to Define SMART Marketing Objectives

Hootsuite: 19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter—And How to Track Them

Digital Doughnut: 7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Is Important for Your Business

Einstein Marketer: Priming in Marketing: An Advertising Psychology Tactic

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