4 November 2015

5 social media ideas for non-consumer brands

Social media has become an important way for brands to engage with customers quickly, efficiently and with that all-important ‘human’ touch.

But we know it’s not always easy for non-consumer brands such as WWU. Balancing the need to respond to (often negative) queries, and be engaging and entertaining at the same time can be a challenge.

Luckily, there are some proven ideas that can help. Here are a few of them, along with a little bit of extra inspirational reading.


1). Have a dedicated customer service channel


Noticing the trend for customers to ask questions and look for advice using social media, British Gas set up its own dedicated customer service channel on Twitter. We love the fact that each tweet is signed off by the person writing it, making it friendly and authentic.

This interview with their social media manager Charles Stanton is well worth a read.


2). Don’t be a robot


Personalising responses to the individual is a powerful way to create a bond with your audience, and ensure you come across as authentic and honest. One of the best examples of this has to be when O2’s network went down in 2012 (an oldie but a goodie). Their social media team’s responses turned criticism into praise and went a long way in diverting a PR disaster.

In the words of Wired magazine “It’s as if O2 ripped up the corporate guidelines and replaced them with your best mate.”


3). Get creative


Often, niche brands – or those that are not at the forefront of their customers’ minds – can find it difficult to achieve breakthrough creativity on social media. But there are plenty of ways. From Ask Me Anything sessions to storytelling through corporate blogs, there are always ways to stand out.

This article is packed with ideas….but please don’t be offended by the title!


4). Be prepared for emergencies


At some point, every brand will need to respond to a crisis, and social media is now the go-to platform for customers to reach out when they need a response. Let’s use the O2 example again. They had a crisis plan in place and trained people across the organisation on how to manage social media, so that they could ramp up the team when they needed it the most.

Read more about it here. The article is packed with other tips and advice too.


5). Measure and monitor


Like everything else, it’s important to monitor progress so that you can make improvements and learn from what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for feedback. Someone in our office recently complained to Green Flag after being kept waiting 2.5 hours for her breakdown service. Twitter proved the most effective channel for communication and after resolving the issue ‘Dave’ – who’d been responding – asked for a rating out of 10 on how they’d dealt with her enquiry. It was timely, unobtrusive…and she gave them 10/10.

As well as asking for direct feedback from customers, another way to monitor is through sentiment analysis. Here’s a beginners’ guide.

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