Last week was a momentous moment in social customer service. Apple Support joined Twitter. Apple, for many years, had a support community, but the push to social media was seen somehow as Apple “finally” offering a public support channel.
The truth is, opening a Twitter account is really just following the concept of omni-channel marketing, being where your customers are.
Sure, we are a forum software company, so we have an interest in the forum community space. However, it’s also clear there is space for both forums and social media.
As the Apple Support channel on Twitter has shown quickly, Twitter is just another channel to funnel people into their other channels.
Twitter is a great way for people to feel they can be heard quickly, but the real work will happen in their community forums, their ticketing system and email.
Even Facebook groups, while good for small connections, just do not scale. You can see this in our Miniclip case study, as Facebook could not handle the multiple conversations and important information was lost.
Certainly Facebook is a low barrier of entry for people. At the same time, though, Facebook pages are hard to search, and posts are constantly hijacked by off-topic requests for help.
This is not to say one should not bother with social media. Assuming you open a forum and ignoring the vast audience on social media could be limiting. At the same time, you should ensure your social media strategy is cohesive while using a platform you can control. Nothing is worse than relying solely on a platform you cannot control or where rules can change on the fly (just look at this recent Instagram example limiting links to other social profiles). This handy chart should help crystalize the decision for you and when to use each solution:
As you can see, Social Media and Forums can be very complementary. However, a marketing strategy focused on omni-channel requires both.