When choosing to use social media to engage with customers management are faced with the uncertainty of the effectiveness of its use. Traditional methods of marketing and customer service are well known. However, social media marketing and networking are new concepts for many organizations. Management and the organization must analyze their return on investment from social media based on their conversion rates. An organization wanting to use social media to connect with their customers must train their staff on how they want their Brand/Company represented. An organization must have the technology available to use social media. A dedicated computer and staff member may be needed.

The main advantage of using social media for advertising, brand building, market research, and customer service is the cost. All of the major social media networks are free for businesses to join. Social networks are very popular with internet users and is where many spend a lot of online time. An organization can piggyback off this user base and place their message in front of their loyal and potential customers.

Networks like Twitter allow a company to tweet a poll and get feedback from their customers about a product. In comparison with mailing a survey and waiting for a reply letter, the poll on social media is much more effective. Companies can use what users are posting statuses, or reviewing for their market research. Social networks have a treasure trove of information that can give insight into what consumers are interested in.

Unfortunately most organizations don’t use social media well. Many companies are still learning how to best capitalize from their social presence. Companies have to be patient while trying to understand how to best use social media for their organization.

TomTom used social media to help streamline their research and development process and product development. This allows them to interact with drivers and get ideas on product features and to troubleshoot products. Best Western uses social feedback to find areas of improvement that will impact their guest’s recommendations.

All companies should use Facebook and Twitter for customer service and marketing. Using social media will help increase the company’s brand exposure and help improve customer loyalty. With using social media companies are capable of being connected with their customers where they are. Getting your message in front of loyal customers is easier to do on websites such as Facebook or Twitter. Various kinds of companies are suited to use these platforms for their customer service or marketing. Suitable customer service and marketing techniques must be tailored to the organization’s service model.