ImageSocial communication has become pervasive and is rapidly becoming the preferred interaction channel for consumers. Their expectations for both speed and relevancy are rising. In order to meet these expectations, brands need to start laying the foundation now for successful social communications. This means shifting to a model that will enable them to tackle and overcome social communication obstacles to meet these expectations and, ultimately, drive business impact through social.

Achieving direct and immediate connection to consumers is a huge opportunity, but it also introduces more risk. The social conversation is public, so brands are handling potentially touchy customer conversations out in the open. How do you ensure you’re getting it right?

Just as importantly, social communication has become more complex as its adoption gains speed. Companies are now managing social programs across dozens of brands, localities and countries. How do you manage these programs efficiently and consistently? And how does a social team connect this ever-expanding activity to the business? 

Here are four ways we see leading brands doing it well.

1) Make engagement the focus of your business.
Engagement in social happens when conversations are relevant to the intended audience. It’s critical to understand the makeup of your social audience and deliver relevant social brand experiences. Success in social isn’t about tricks to get more followers or short-term solutions for a single, one-off campaign. Organizations need to deliver consistent excellence and relevancy in both the big and small touch points that occur every day.

2) Be present. Always.
Your customers want you at a moment’s notice, and you need the ability to better meet and exceed their expectations. Get connected to consumers wherever they are, from their desktops to tablets to mobile devices. And be ready to connect when they want. Social isn’t just active from 9-5, and conversations often arise outside of normal business hours.

3) Don’t just analyze your data. Put it to use.
Today, social practitioners spend significant time assessing social data and manually manipulating it to make sense of their efforts. Brands need to adopt tools and processes for better organization, visualization, and surfacing of relevant trends to understand how social is impacting their business. These insights become the roadmap to inform and drive decisions for future communications.

4) Connect your efforts. Paid, earned and owned can’t operate in siloes.   
The task of trying to connect disparate information sources is difficult. Brands use many different tools to manage and track performance of their paid, earned and owned campaigns.  Brands must look for ways to centralize their social information, interactions and insight. For example, at Spredfast we just announced a partnership with Kenshoo Social, to give our customers the ability to instantly apply insights from their owned social programs to boost the performance of their paid social promotions.

How will you start driving business impact through social?