The number of social media channels and apps continues to rise exponentially. So, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a sea of hash tags and angry birds.

As we’ve always argued at Aspectus however, the key is to avoid bombarding potential clients with every channel under the sun and to be more selective in terms of the social tools being harnessed.

The benefits to this approach are outlined in a new whitepaper by Webhelp, which uses the term ‘omni-channel experience’ to describe when companies manage a few carefully selected channels to enhance the audience experience while ensuring the optimal impact on the company’s bottom line.

Selected channels must be fully connected, says Webhelp, so that each conversation can be carried smoothly from platform to platform. The omni-channel solution should also be a ‘customer-centric environment’, and offer the right mix of integrated and complementary social networks and apps to suit the right audience.

Webhelp’s whitepaper also identifies ‘Generation C’ (for connected), a category of audience comprising ‘better informed, highly demanding, vigorously social and constantly connected individuals’. For this new technologically-charged cohort, the belief is that an online search can spark a web chat that leads to a social media exchange and perhaps even a phone call – the ultimate goal being of course, being to form a fully-connected business relationship.

Interestingly, Generation C isn’t specific to any age group, with over-55s (who have higher disposable income) said to be rapidly adopting this new way of life. As such, an interesting example of the omni-channel environment in action is cited in the financial services space, where Virgin Money is converting new branches into ‘stores’ and ‘lounges’ where their clientele can browse products, bank online or meet face-to-face with an advisor.

Certainly, both businesses and society are being transformed by social media, and the omni-channel environment is a concept confirming that while it is time for companies to get involved, a more strategic approach is required.

Crucially, it’s not how big your portfolio of channels is, it’s how you use it.

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