man working at computerOur features this week focused on how social media is no longer a siloed marketing function within your organization. Whether it’s incorporating social into your customer service channel, or engaging the ever increasing mobile demographic with your social marketing, it’s clear that social is evolving and you business needs to evolve along with it.

As always, click on any of the headlines below to read the complete articles. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts or contact us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know what you think!

3 Reasons the Lines Between Social and Customer Service Have Blurred

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The traditional structure of a business designates separate teams for separate operations. There might have been some basic communication between divisions, but for the most part, departments worked individually. However, advances in technology have led to changes in that standard company model. It’s becoming more and more common for departments to have large amounts of cooperation and crossover.

Social media is one of the forces changing businesses, and one of its effects is a tight integration with the world of customer service. When you think about the ways customers are using social media to speak to brands, this overlap makes a lot of sense. Here are three reasons why the disciplines of social media and customer service have developed such a close relationship, and why you’ll want to make sure your company fosters that bond.
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Trends for 2014: Social and Mobile Are Synonymous Now, Here’s Why

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Social media has secured its place as an important tool for communication, marketing, and customer service among businesses, but that’s not to say the field has stopped changing. In fact, social networks and the ways that companies and customers use them are continuing to evolve. One clear shift in the social world is how and where people are logging in to their favorite networks.

Mobile devices are moving closer to the center of the social universe. During this year, it’s likely that social and mobile will only strengthen their relationship and become all but inseparable. Here are a few early signs that 2014 will be the year that mobile and social take over. [ Read More… ]

Social and Direct Response Marketing Go Hand in Hand, Here’s How

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In the world of social media, every tweet, post and image can feel like a direct response appeal; there’s always a link to click, a question to answer or a status to share. Good social marketers know that pummeling followers with constant direct response asks not only makes those prospects weary, it also diminishes the value of these action-based messages.

The key difference between direct response and traditional marketing messaging is that the former always includes a call to action. Think of infomercials, which always instruct you to call within the next ten minutes, or marketing emails with bold “Donate Now!” labels. This type of advertising copy tells the customer exactly what the marketer wants him or her to do — and often results in people taking that action.

More and more, customers are turning to social media to decide what to purchase, and from where. A 2012 survey examining what consumers like to see companies offer on social media found that 84% preferred coupons, 69% preferred sampling new products, 61% like perks such as free shipping and 53% enjoyed getting sneak peeks at new products. According to the same study, referenced in the Direct Marketing Association’s 2013 Statistical Handbook, less than half of survey participants were interested in being invited to join focus groups or getting access to special rate bulk deals.

Clearly, consumers expect some benefit from following brands on social media, and direct response marketing can address this by encouraging them to take advantage of special opportunities. But as objectives vary from industry to industry, so does the success of various types of messaging. As such, we chatted with a range of experts to learn about how a business’ size and category affects how it should approach direct response marketing.
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[Image credits: Craig Cloutier, Luke Wroblewski, Denis Dervisevic]