Hootsuite’s CEO, Irina Novoselsky, took the stage at Collision 2023, where she did an insight-packed Q&A with Evan Hansen, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of Meteor. The first question Evan asked Irina: how are you finding the new gig?
It took her about a millisecond to share that becoming a social CEO has been a seamless fit taking pressure off the need to defend the amount of time she spends scrolling through social media when she opens her eyes in the morning—which she admits to being 30 minutes (not to mention the additional 9 hours of screen time she accumulates throughout the day).
As they dove deeper into the topic of their conversation around the evolution of social media and the impact of the technological disruption the space is facing, Irina made one thing incredibly clear: Despite the shifts, brands need to continue showing up where their customers are—and that’s on social, where 5 billion people worldwide spend several hours a day.
We know you’re super busy (scrolling Threads) right now, so here are a few of the most insightful takeaways from Irina’s talk.
Striking the balance between leveraging social channels to connect with customers while also keeping up with the pace of social without losing your unique voice as a brand has only become more challenging—and also more important than ever. With the sheer amount of noise on social, users have become so much more agile at assessing content and quickly deciphering between what’s interesting and what they can scroll past.
As brands recognize the value of social at a larger scale, authentic discoverability should be a north star. As we’ve seen with the Gen Z-influenced shift on social, social users are looking for content that’s relatable and speaks to them as humans, not as consumers.
“At the end of the day, people want to buy from people,” Irina summed up.
At Hootsuite, we’ve seen it time and again, when our customers unlock their brand’s greatest strength—their employees—it amplifies their expertise in their field through human-to-human relationships on social.
A shining example of what an employee advocacy program can do for an organization is our customer, Colliers, a diversified professional services and investment management company. Using Hootsuite Amplify, they put quality, brand-safe content in the hands of their 18,000 employees to share on their channels. This made it easier for those employees to build their personal brands on the networks that mattered to them most, while also increasing awareness of Colliers.
The results? In 2022, Colliers employees shared a staggering 4,700 posts, which led to an impressive reach of 9.5 million people in Canada alone, representing a 43% increase compared to the previous year.
Remember when companies were fearful of having their employees talk about them on social? We’ve certainly come a long way from there.
While this is still a new area that brands are still working on getting comfortable with, those who put trust in their employees reap the rewards. With the right tools and programs, activating employees’ social networks by providing them with brand-safe content can be empowering rather than risky.
Unsurprisingly, the number one way to lose a customer is through poor customer experience. If you think back to a negative experience you’ve had interacting with a support team in person or over the phone, you’ll surely be transported back to the familiar thought: ‘you don’t deserve my business.’
Nowadays, that same expectation from customers applies to customer service on social media—in fact, a study by J.D. Power found that 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service inquiries. And they expect that service to be fast, with 42% expecting a response within 60 minutes and 32% expecting a response within 30 minutes.
“Not being present 24/7 on social is no longer an option,” explained Irina.
It’s easy to see in action all the time. Just think of that moment when TikTok and Instagram influencer Alix Earle and her friends found themselves stranded in Italy after a booking scam, and Airbnb stepped in to save the day.
Some might argue that this same level of service might not be replicated across the board, for those without ‘social juice,’ as Evan puts it (i.e. anyone without millions of followers). Which begs the question: how do you democratize customer service?
This example is a lesson to all brands leveraging creators to extend their reach—be consistent with your customer service or risk being criticized. With 80% of consumers saying they would switch brands after more than one bad experience, it’s not worth the risk.
While AI comes to the table with its own set of risks, automating customer service is not one of them.
Not unlike social media and its rapid rate of its adoption and innovation, AI is not something we can ignore. Within the first five days of its introduction, Chat GPT attracted 1 million users, having since ballooned to more than 100 million.
The opportunity and subsequent demand to automate mundane tasks is here, and social marketers are no exception.
We heard it from our customers loud and clear when we polled them: 77% told us that the top responsibility they have is ‘coming up with content ideas’, and yet the biggest challenge for close to one third of them is… drumroll… ‘coming up with content ideas’.
The pros of AI are very clear: increasing speed (and, in turn, scopes of work), reducing cost and the risks of human error, enhancing workflows, facilitating data-driven decision making, and more availability to boost customer experiences. For social and digital marketers, that means automating parts of the job that already feel robotic to focus on tasks that need a real human, that need something you can’t automate: your creativity.
But once again, balancing authenticity on social while using automation tools is going to be increasingly important.
“Social was made for human-to-human interaction,” Irina reiterated.
Fostering a human-first mindset as we apply automation to interactive workflows is imperative.
That’s why Hootsuite has developed an AI-powered content creation tool that uses simple prompts to suggest social post ideas and captions, helping social marketers speed up the creative process while holding onto their unique voice. Because, just like with digital customer service, content creation can be made easier with automation, but it can’t replace the human touch.
Discover the power of AI for social media with our seriously easy OwlyWriter AI. Instantly generate captions and get winning post ideas for every network.