How to Win at Social Customer Care with Dan Gingiss @dgingiss #vcbuzz

How to Win at Social Customer Care with Dan Gingiss @dgingiss #vcbuzzSocial media is not just about building your brand and reputation. It’s about connecting to your customers, helping them, turning them into your advocates and building loyalty.

It’s not easy but luckily we have an expert today who literally wrote a book on that!

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About Dan

Dan Gingiss @dgingiss is author, “Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media” and co-host of “Experience This!” podcast (together with @thejoeycoleman).

Dan is also Vice President @Persado’s Marketing Language Cloud which uses machine learning to predict the best possible language for virtually any marketing campaign

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

I started in direct #marketing right out of college, at @TheDanburyMint. There I developed and executed campaigns in direct mail, package inserts, and the Sunday coupons. This job definitely solidified my pre-digital marketing skills.

At the I took my first marketing classes and learned that what I had been doing for 4 years had actual names, frameworks, and strategies!

Haha, that’s exactly what I learned in business school. I was one of the few people who hadn’t had any formal marketing education before that.

I spent more than a decade in financial services marketing, first at and then at . At the latter I began my digital career by leading Digital and Social Media.

Social media stuck out to me as different from other marketing channels because it’s the only one where customers can talk back. I immediately found this to be fascinating.

Q2 Why do brands need to integrate social customer care in their traditional customer care process? Are there examples of brands who do it right?

Much of the customer care process can be replicated in social media, but it often starts off in a corner, separate from the rest of the organization.

Integration brings the voice of the customer closer to the organization because social media provides endless insights into what customers like and dislike about your company.

The best of the best in social customer care respond to every question, complaint, and compliment from their customers.

Q3 What are the most frequent mistakes brands make when attempting to build their social media presence?

Assuming that social media is “just another marketing channel”. Treating social like another megaphone channel — where the brand does all the talking and we all have to listen – will not work.

Forgetting that “social media” has two words. Brands quickly understand the “media” part, but the “social” part is often foreign. Consumers today want to have a human-to-human relationship with brands, so brands must be ready to engage.

Believing that people want to see marketing messages. Unless you are one of the most famous, likable brands in the world (think @CocaCola) or you have a uniquely loyal customer base, most people don’t wake up in the morning wanting to hear from your company.

Not responding to everyone in social media. Complaints are critical because they tell you what’s not working in your business, and most complainers genuinely want a resolution. Compliments are people giving your brand free marketing; the least we can do is say thanks!

Not understanding that every facet of the customer experience can end up on social media. People share remarkable experiences – both positive and negative. Social can help prepare the rest of the organization by fixing pain points & increasing positive experiences.

That’s great! I would put you in the “uniquely loyal customer” category then.

Q4 Apart from your book, what other resources and books do we need to read to become better at social media community building and customer care?

The first resource I would recommend is the book “Hug Your Haters” by , which was an inspiration for me. This lays out the case for why social customer care is so important, based on research and brand examples. My book then focuses more on the “how”.

Participate in the weekly Twitter chat on Tuesdays at 9 PM EDT. Hosted by & , it’s a great way to meet and learn from others who are interested in customer service and social customer care.

Listen to @FSaucier’s amazing Socially Supportive podcast, which she produces every weekday.

Attend a conference like the ’s Customer Service Summit, which brings together leaders from dozens of brands who are all working to be the best at social customer care. It’s a great community and I learn something new every year.

Q5 What are your favorite social media community building + customer care tools?

I personally like engaging with people directly in Twitter because it’s where all the action is. For companies, however, a separate tool is usually necessary.

For small businesses, I like . It allows you to track search terms, accounts, or hashtags, and respond directly in the platform.

For mid/large businesses, is terrific. is one of the true thought leaders in the social customer space and the platform was built entirely for social and direct message engagement across platforms from an agent’s perspective.

For global, multinational businesses, an “all in one” platform is often necessary to cover publishing, insights, and engagement. Check out in this space.

Always be learning from others by attending conferences, participating in Twitter chats like , reading books and articles, and sharing what you learn. We’re all in this together, and I truly believe there’s no such thing as a social media “expert”!

Our previous customer care chats:

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