Social media – It’s a hot topic for both businesses and internet users, as growing networks expand their offerings in order to retain loyalty. For organizations, there are opportunities to improve customer service through sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Businesses can learn from the hotel industry, as HotelNewsNow reports major hotel corporations have begun to develop social care strategies moving into 2013.

For example, Hilton Hotels and Resorts Vice President of Global Brand Marketing Andrew Flack said the company’s Facebook following increased by 185 percent when the team nurtured online relationships with new and existing guests. Hilton Hotels developed customer loyalty and increased brand engagement through consistent social interaction.

Social care, which can include original custom content, quick replies to FAQs and direct messages, reaches internet users on networks where they’re already active. According to NM Incite, 47 percent of internet users want customer service through social platforms. Thirty percent of people would take social care options over other outreach practices, like dealing with concerns over the phone. More, The Temkin Group noted that 86 percent of consumers who report being “very satisfied” with customer service will likely purchase products or services from brands again in the future.

So, how can brands leverage social media content for customer loyalty? The first step is developing a proactive strategy.

If a brand chooses to approach social care through Twitter, it should establish a unique handle aimed at customer support. For example, if I run a promotional product company and I want a quick way to gauge the feelings of my audience, I can set up a unique Twitter account – something like @TeddyhkHelp – and encourage customers to voice their concerns via that channel. This will give people an outlet and help me better tackle customer support in a personal – but not too personal – manner via social media.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.