The Insight Track with Dan Gingiss: Creating Memorable Experiences on Social Media

August 1, 2019

Dan Gingiss

More and more customers are turning to social media as their primary touchpoint for brand questions, complaints, and compliments. Not only is it increasingly used as a preferred channel for customer service, but 80% of people now expect a company to respond on social media within 24 hours.

It’s imperative for marketers everywhere to recognize the pivotal role social media plays in helping modern brands shape the customer experience. For the latest edition of Insight Track, we talked with Dan Gingiss — keynote speaker, author, and experience consultant  — to get his perspective on B2B companies leveraging social to deliver exceptional experiences online.

As a seasoned industry expert, Dan is keenly aware of social media’s impact on customer relationships. Below, he shares his viewpoints. Read on as he cites a recent example of one airline company capitalizing on a seemingly ordinary interaction; unpacks the difference between managing customer experiences in fast food and finance; and lays out his simple, two-word advice for marketers on LinkedIn.

Dan Gingiss on How to Create Memorable Social Media Marketing Experiences

You recently left a job and went out on your own. What are you doing now?

After holding leadership positions at three Fortune 300 companies and establishing myself as a thought leader in customer experience, social media, and digital marketing, I decided to stop with the “side hustle” and turn it into full-time work. So, I am officially a professional keynote speaker and experience consultant, and I am loving it! It’s amazing to me how many opportunities have surfaced simply by telling people that I’m open for business.

Why is social media marketing so essential to delivering a strong customer experience?

Social media is a great way to get in front of prospective customers, and often it’s the first exposure these people have to a brand. As we all know, you never get a second chance at a first impression, so it’s critical that social media marketers present their company in a way that is memorable and non-intrusive. 

Remember that you are interrupting someone’s social media feed to put your advertisement in front of them, so it better be relevant, timely, and interesting. This can get the customer experience off on the right foot.

Where do you see most brands getting it right, and wrong, with social media presence today?

The biggest difference between right and wrong in social media is in responding to customers. It is simply not acceptable today to ignore questions, complaints, and even compliments from prospects and customers. What’s more, it’s bad business because consumers today want that one-on-one human relationship with the companies with which they do business.

I often get asked which social channels companies should be present on for customer service, and the answer is wherever you are present for marketing. The more we market in social, the more responses and feedback we get, and it’s often not on the topic of the marketing campaign.

Your experience covers a diverse array of industries and verticals, from financial services to fast food to health insurance and beyond. What are some of the biggest differences, and similarities, you’ve noticed about CX throughout that journey?

The biggest difference is probably in customer expectations. While consumers are generally used to mediocre or poor experiences everywhere, there are certain industries — like fast food — where that’s basically expected, whereas in other industries — like financial services — there’s a higher bar, because the personal information and privacy issues in that industry are pervasive.

That said, the similarity is that each of the industries I’ve worked in is actively and intentionally trying to improve the customer experience; some are just achieving it faster than others.

Are there any personal experiences, as a consumer or buyer, that have impressed upon you the vital importance of businesses prioritizing their social media strategies?

As a consumer, I now turn to social media or direct messaging as my customer service channel of preference rather than bothering with a phone call, email, or web chat. I find it to be the fastest, easiest channel to get my questions answered or my requests handled.

I can send a message, go do something else, not have to wait on hold or wait for an agent to type a response, and when I come back later it’s all handled. There’s no question that social continues to be growing as a service channel, and in particular the messaging platforms which now account for more users than the “traditional” social media platforms.

Do you see any clear opportunities on LinkedIn for companies (even on the B2C side) to forge better relationships with their customers?

I always tell companies to go where their customers are. For most B2B companies, that’s going to be LinkedIn. And while I’m not sure consumers of B2C companies expect corporate engagement on LinkedIn, that presents an opportunity to be different and remarkable. LinkedIn has done a great job highlighting relevant content for users, and engagement is very high without the politics of Facebook or the spam of Twitter. So for B2B, LinkedIn is a definite opportunity to establish and grow relationships, and for B2C it is still important in understanding the professional interests of their customers.

What was your first social media account? Do you remember?

The first one I remember was called Six Degrees and I feel like it was some sort of precursor to LinkedIn. The idea was to connect with everyone you knew and then it would tell you how many people were second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-degree contacts. It turned out that pretty much everyone was connected to each other somehow, and it proved that everyone was also connected to Kevin Bacon.

You wrote a great book in "Winning at Social Customer Care." Which books and authors have been most influential to you?

Thank you for the compliment! It was fun to write, especially since most of it is highlighting what other great brands are doing to be successful in social media. Jay Baer, who wrote the Foreword, is an obvious influence; I loved both "Youtility" and "Hug Your Haters."

Shep Hyken has been a mentor for a long time and I highly recommend his newest book, The Convenience Revolution. And Brian Solis, whom I refer to as the Godfather of Customer Experience, wrote two game-changing books that are actually experiences to read: "What’s The Future of Business?" and "X: The Experience When Business Meets Design."

What’s a recent social media marketing campaign that has caught your attention, and why?

Southwest Airlines recently turned a customer service opportunity into a huge marketing and public relations campaign just by responding and engaging. A customer forgot to bring her bridesmaid’s dress to a wedding and asked Southwest if they could get it to her destination.

And thus began a series of updates from Southwest, with pictures, maps to track the progress of the dress, and a #RescueTheDress hashtag. People ate it up, with virtually every post getting thousands of likes, and the mainstream media picked up the story, as well.

What’s your “top tip” — a specific action item that people or companies should take — to improved marketing on LinkedIn?

Be engaging. Respond to everyone who comments on your posts or asks a question. The whole idea of marketing is to get someone’s attention, so once you do and they engage, it’s critical to engage back. Even on the “professional” social media network, people want to engage with other people. Give that to them, and your marketing efforts will go much further. 

Deliver Holistic Experiences with Social Media Marketing

Social media has come a long way since the days of Six Degrees. Today, it feels more like 360 degrees, because social is everywhere and brands must account for every angle. 

There are many different ways to interact and engage with your customers on these platforms, but as Dan notes, ignoring them is not an option. Those who rise to the challenge of exceeding expectations, and developing meaningful relationships through social media marketing, will find themselves ahead of the pack.

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