With the summer of sport in the UK drawing to a close, the attention of the media was not solely focused on the triumphs of the athletes, but also the misdemeanors of those using social media. Social media has meant that every event has been documented in real time by each spectator, athlete and commentator.

Given the increasing popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is evident that social media will play an ever greater part in sport, business and society as a whole.

In an age where information is so shareable, negativity can be broadcast as easily as outstanding achievements can be publicised. This was highlighted before a ball had been kicked or a starting gun fired with a Greek athlete disqualified for what was deemed a racist tweet.

Others found themselves in hot water with attempts at ‘ambush marketing’ – creating an unofficial association between a brand and an event. This raises important questions for people in the public eye and organisations alike. As society increasingly ventures into the social space, how can you ensure social media works for you and your brand?

Organisations looking to utilise social media as a tool to interact with customers often lack the business objectives and are often disconnected from their traditional customer relationship management (CRM) strategies. It is for this reason that the results from social media campaigns are often wide of the mark or lack ROI.

Customer service delivered through Twitter or Facebook or any other social media platform is inherently public and must be taken seriously. With the real-time feedback from social media, the speed at which perceptions change, as well as the reach and influence of individuals, demonstrates the advantage that can be gained from the experience economy. Customers expect more, share more and switch more – all of which affects how organisations interact with their customers.

The empowered customer is a new powerful force. Organisations who can streamline their social CRM strategies and deliver across all customer interactions throughout the customer lifecycle will be big-time winners. Businesses need to ‘stop amplifying and start engaging’.

Organisations must therefore deliver on their promises to customers every minute of every hour of every day and in every interaction. By building brand ambassadors who aren’t afraid of speaking out publicly and making recommendations, organisations can influence potential customers. Disregarding your customers is very risky – brand value can be easily destroyed in a heartbeat.

The summer’s sporting events have clearly been a catalyst to the increasing move towards comprehensive social CRM strategies. We are now seeing more organisations changing marketing models to engage with customers at all relevant touch points throughout the customer lifecycle.

Businesses can then analyse and learn from these interactions (on an individual level), and use this knowledge as input into core business processes. This provides customers with better service and a more satisfactory experience. Technology has been the catalyst to do this and the next key trend will be a new breed of software for social engagement.

Feedback and research tools can, and should, be integrated within a company’s CRM strategy, so that all data can be collated together and analysed effectively. This gives organisations a unified view of the customer and by listening and acting on feedback, organisations can make a tangible difference to the service they offer or the products they sell. A well-implemented and comprehensive social CRM strategy helps ensure that the customer experience remains the gold medal winner no matter the event.