Why IT Departments Need Social, Digital Communication Strategies - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // Digital Business
11:16 AM

Why IT Departments Need Social, Digital Communication Strategies

With social media dominating communications outreach for businesses, IT departments need to focus on how to engage Millennial consumers.

5 Traits Effective IT Leaders Need
5 Traits Effective IT Leaders Need
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The key to a successful customer engagement strategy is understanding how consumers want to interact with a brand and why, according to a STARTEK survey of more than 1,000 US-based consumers. For IT, the survey results show that a digital and social media communications strategy needs to be prioritized.

The survey found 80% of consumers use a digital device to contact a company, and that Millennials are 137% more likely than Baby Boomers to use a cell phone to contact a company.

About three-quarters (77%) of consumers say it's easy for them to digitally communicate with companies, and 80% of consumers receive good customer service using social media.

"It's no surprise that consumers want to communicate with brands, from fixing a problem to asking a question, but what has changed is how they prefer to communicate," STARTEK's director of marketing, Courtney Simpson, told InformationWEEK. "The days of calling from a landline have evolved into using social media channels, mostly driven by Millennials."

(Image: Hocus Focus Studio/iStockphoto)

(Image: Hocus Focus Studio/iStockphoto)

The survey found that only 10% of consumers always use a phone to contact a company, while eight out of ten consumers use a digital device to contact a company.

"In order to create a successful digital engagement strategy, businesses must understand how, when, and why consumers want to connect with them," Simpson said. "By understanding what your consumers want and how they want to engage, brands can deepen their customer relationship, build brand advocates, and reach new audiences."

The survey indicates that Facebook provides the best customer service option for consumers, and suggests marketers should take note of the popular social channels.

The report also posits that social media teams should learn what their consumers want on the channel -- whether they're looking for a deal or they want to make a purchase. The teams should look toward building a brand presence and engaging with consumers beyond simply posting content.

She explained that, with technology a part of consumers' everyday life, brands must evolve and develop a digital customer engagement strategy to successfully reach their consumers, especially Millennials.

The survey also indicated there is room for growth in the virtual reality field -- with the caveat that the generational divide may force IT departments to make a choice between tradition and forging a new path.

[See 9 Enterprise Mobility Management Tools For IT Pros.]

Baby Boomers are two times more skeptical than Millennials about using virtual reality, and nearly a quarter of Baby Boomers don't know what virtual reality is, according to the survey results.

The results suggest that it's important to understand how a company's consumers want to engage with the brand and develop a strategy based on that knowledge.

"Our survey unveiled that 77% of consumers say it's easy to digitally communicate with a brand, a trend that is only gaining strength," Simpson said. "With virtual reality becoming more available for consumers, we asked consumers if they'd be interested in using it to communicate with a company.

"Turns out, one in three consumers are excited to connect with a brand via virtual reality. If VR is the next customer engagement tool, it only proves that brands need to enhance their digital engagement strategies to meet their customer's communication preferences."

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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