Proactive businesses are typically more successful, and they also have a great competitive advantage compared to the other “reactive” companies in their industry. This advantage stems from their ability to maximize time and efficiency and also be better prepared for future occurrences. When a business is able to harness these qualities, this is when they are most likely to create a rapidly-growing, cost-effective company.
In today’s world, social media has become a necessity amongst businesses, especially those who provide customer service. When we look at proactive leaders and their organisations, they are ones who do not wait for the opportunity, they go after it; they make the first move. As the American author John C Maxwell said, “I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing.”
In a customer service team, they are expected to provide not only a speedy service, but one that delivers highly-effective customer resolutions, and this is where being proactive comes in. As a business decision maker, what would be your company’s position for your social media strategy?
Reactive vs. Proactive
A person who is reactive typically does not plan ahead. They basically let their surroundings, and the events occuring at the moment, dictate how they will ‘react.’
On the other hand, someone who is proactive is one who, in a calculated manor, anticipates events to come. As a result of this anticipation, this enforces the practice of being very strategic with all of their decisions. Proactive people also see the future possibilities and use their insights to focus on present solutions to set them up for success.
It is evident that when a company has focus on providing the best customer service possible that they need to be proactive. Using social media to aid in providing this experience to your target is something that will set yourself apart. Samantha Cox, the National Express Contact Centre manager, expressed this when she said that social networks help to “connect directly with clients in a two-way dialogue to increase customer satisfaction, engagement, measure success and increase response times”.
Don’t be Satisfied
It appears that too many companies tend to be reactive with their marketing strategies, whether that be in relation to social media management or general communications. These companies seem to be satisfied with where they are, and in other terms, they lost their hunger for more market share and they are settling for what they currently have.
Companies who are reactive tend to not listen to consumers in their market unless they are first spoken to, and they often do not reach out or attempt to communicate unless the consumer reaches out first. When companies partake in this type of action, they will not truly understand the need and wants of their customers because they are not hearing them.
Here are a couple of ways that businesses can be proactive by using social media as a business tool to establish engagement:
1.Create content that can boost engagements and traffic to your business. Social media allows us to reach whomever we want in the world, and because of this, we are able to help more people with whatever product or service we provide. So how can we show people why they need our services? Write blogs, publish them on Twitter, Instagram, etc., reach out to industry leaders so that more people are able to see your brand.
Using a social media management tool can also assist in boosting traffic and sales. The Deltic Group, the largest bar and nightclub provider in the UK, teamed up with SocialSignIn to assist with managing all of their social media platforms and as a result they had sales growth of 282%. This happened because they were able to reach more people in the area around each of their venues by creating “localised” campaigns through the platform, and because they were able to actively engage with their target audience in real conversations.
Businesses cannot just sit and wait for consumers and more brand recognition to come to them through social media, they have to build the opportunity themselves. By creating content that is relevant to people that are in your target market, you are proactively seeking out new business that you may not even be aware of.
2. Partake in social media monitoring. As a business, it is important to see what other people and businesses are talking about, whether that be about your brand, a competitor’s brand or relevant topics surrounding your industry. When a business can see what is being said, they can start to implement strategies that will put them ahead of their competitors by engaging with their target audience. Social media monitoring can be used by a company to better understand what their target market is feeling and saying. This allows the people’s voices to be heard so that the company is not aimlessly creating content and products that are not wanted or needed.
A great example of this would be with Parklee, an application that assists you with finding a parking space for your vehicle. Before the launch of their app, all they had was a website which could be complicated at times, and because of this, people talked about it on Twitter and other social media outlets. While launching the app was a reactive move for their business, this is still proactive as they are now setting themselves up for future development to be able to provide better customer service to their users.
Whether if you are a company like Parklee or if you are a large enterprise corporation, using social listening to understand what your customers have to say will keep your company continually growing in the market.
Make the First Move
Most people wait to find out information from the press and other outlets before weighing in on current events, but why? If something innovative is happening, start talking about it immediately, as long as it is factual and relevant.
By using social media and promoting engagement within its target audience, companies are able to follow different feedback, leading them to take new business decisions and eventually, helping them to anticipate a reputation crisis.
For example, if a hotel chain knew that there was going to be construction nearby for a couple weeks, what they could do is let their customers, who are staying within this time-frame, know that there will be loud work going on near the hotel. While this may be inconvenient and distressing for some customers, the hotel could offer compensation, or even just a simple refund on their purchase. This allows the customers to decide if they still want to come to the hotel regardless of the noise and receive a reward or just cancel and get a refund.
Another great example of how social media was used to get a message out is Starbucks and how they are closing 150 of their under-performing stores. While this means job losses and people may lose their favorite place to have coffee, at least people will not be surprised when the closings actually happen. This gives people time to find a new place to have coffee as well as look for new jobs.
We can also look at KFC when they ran out of chicken! This was a very unique situation which gained large coverage online. To help keep up their customer retention, they made a comical ad addressing the drastic chicken shortage.
To avoid a reputation crisis, companies must remain transparent and honest. A business that takes charge of negative (and positive) online situations is one that is able to grow their brand loyalty and one that is able to stand the test of time because people like to buy from someone they can trust.
In simpler terms, using social media allows a business to be proactive by being real and “human” in the social sphere, monitoring what users are talking about, and also being able to anticipate upcoming events.
Do you believe your business is proactive with social media?