Social media is continuing to be a big deal in almost every aspect of life, and business is no exception. However, while there are general rules which can be applied to many industries, it never hurts to look at some of the nuances which can apply to specific fields such as telecoms. Social media use as a whole is increasing year on year, with the most recent data available showing 3.196 billion active users across all platforms, and 2.958 billion just on mobile. If you can’t see how this presents a fantastic marketing opportunity for your business, then it may be time for a trip to the opticians.
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Those numbers equate to a little under half of the entire planet’s population using social media in one way or another. Now, if you had that many people physically gathered in a handful of easily accessible locations, you wouldn’t hesitate to grab the chance to do a little promotion. The only difference with social media, is you may need to act a little differently in order to get noticed. Getting a grip on your social media marketing can help your business get a better understanding of your target audience through real interactions. As long as you avoid some toe-curling faux pas, you can improve your customer service. You can also build brand awareness through increased visibility and engagement, and build brand loyalty among your base. To top it all off, social media yields a fantastic ROI with very little (if any) buy-in cost, and the potential for big rewards in return. Social media and the telecoms industry may seem like strange bedfellows, but there are lots of unique opportunities for telcos to turn the various platforms to their advantage. And the best way to demonstrate this is to start by showing how one big industry player is doing it.
The Shorty Awards are a highly regarded and independent forum which recognises amazing achievements in many fields of social media-based business and entertainment. Our own much-missed founder, Kerry Butters, was a finalist in the business blogger category for the seventh Shorty Awards, so, needless to say, we’re very fond of them here at markITwrite.
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The 2017 10thAnnual Shorties saw Xfinity Mobile win the gong for the best location-based experience with a unique blend of Snapchat technology and crowdsourced art. Xfinity Mobile’s USP is that it boasts the largest and most reliable 4G LTE network in the United States and the most Wi-Fi hotspots, and this is what it wanted to demonstrate with its campaign. To demonstrate that you can get online almost anywhere with Xfinity Mobile, the telecoms company enlisted social media celebrity and Snapchat artist Shaun McBride to travel around Philadelphia collecting drawings from locals. Shaun took snaps for people to doodle on, and even extended the project to his own significant Snapchat audience from all over America.
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The best drawings were then sent back to a team of artists outside the newly-opened Xfinity Mobile store, who would then incorporate them into an enormous real-life composite mural. Fans were invited to the store to witness the big reveal of the completed artwork, and, of course, share it all over their own social media accounts. The campaign received over 10,000 submissions, garnered 2.5 million impressions, and resulted in a 423% increase in traffic at the Xfinity Mobile store. So far, so cool, you may be thinking. However, while the success of the campaign is in of itself very impressive, the lesson it teaches about one of the most important things to consider when using social media for business is even more useful.
You may think that when it comes to promoting your telco on social media, it’s just a matter of logging onto Facebook or Twitter and throwing up a few posts. However, today’s social media users have far more choice when it comes to the platforms they use, and each one lends itself to a different audience. Snapchat is incredibly popular with the 18-24-year-old age bracket, with 77% of internet users in this age bracket active on the platform. When designing its campaign, Xfinity Mobile knew this was the demographic they wanted to connect with, which is why it decided Snapchat was the best platform to use to achieve its goals. Of course, this doesn’t mean Snapchat will necessarily be the best choice for your telecoms business. The point is you should go to where your audience already is, rather than use any old network and expect them to come to you (hint: they won’t). Using social media for business is all about connections – if I wanted to meet some people who were into snooker, I’d go to a snooker club, not just stand in the street and hope I run into some other players. It may be that your telecoms company is a more serious B2B organisation. This is fine, but it means you’re not likely to find the potential customers you’re looking for on Snapchat. You’d be far better focussing your efforts on Linkedin and Twitter to target enterprise level clients.
Xfinity Mobile’s Snapchat campaign teaches us an important lesson about choosing your platform wisely, but it also teaches us something more about social media – engagement. Engagement is one of the most powerful functions social media can perform, and this (perhaps ironically) can be especially true for the telecoms industry. One of the biggest problems when it comes to customer experience in the telecoms industry is transparency. Customers can often become frustrated when there are problems with the network or service, and they find it difficult to get information about precisely what the issue is. However, social media can be a powerful tool for keeping customers up-to-date on all the latest news (good and bad) from your telco. While your call centres certainly have a role to play in helping customers with specific problems, people would rather not call in if they don’t have to. Social media can, therefore, provide general information about known issues and when customers might expect them to be resolved. If you don’t have dedicated social media staff, make sure you put aside an hour or so each day for someone to check the messages and notifications on your platforms. Consumers expect businesses to engage with them and to do so reasonably promptly, so performing this simple task can help improve the customer experience greatly.
There are just a couple of ways you can use social media to boost the customer experience and brand visibility of your telecoms company. And if you want a dedicated and professional team to handle your social media and other marketing campaigns, then look no further than the team here at markITwrite. Please get in touch today for more information.
18-03-2019 - Gary Smith