We all know by now that it’s essential for a business to have an internet presence; a company website is the mainstay for anyone doing business in the 21st century.

But what about a company Facebook page, Twitter account or LinkedIn profile? Are you losing out on potential customers by ignoring these social networking heavies? Do you panic when you think about how your lack of social media savvy has caused you to miss out on reaching your sales goals?

Well, relax. According to a 2015 Aberdeen group study, a social media presence is not about bringing in new business, it’s all about keeping the ones you have happy.

Now, before your anxiety takes hold, causing you to run into your IT department and demand they create a company Facebook page immediately to reach your customer satisfaction goals, listen to what the rest of the study had to say.

Fail to plan – plan to fail

Even more important than embracing social media is the need to have a good plan in place before you take the plunge. In fact, Aberdeen found that those who jump willy-nilly into social cyberspace can actually hurt their business’s reputation. A poorly planned approach (or no plan at all) can cause negative growth in the first-contact problem resolution metric, which will certainly have a negative effect on satisfaction rates.

Social media is active

The biggest mistake companies make is to approach social media the same way they do a company website. With a dot-com address, a business can create an inviting, visually appealing representation of all that a company has to offer… and then forget about it.

The last thing you want to do with a Facebook page is to ignore it. Those who get the most out of social media put someone in charge of monitoring the account on an ongoing basis. Because of this, most top-performers use either their marketing department or customer relations group as the facilitator of the program.

Field service has a leg-up on other industries

Having explored social media in hopes of finding interest in the few books I’ve written, I know that the biggest challenge anyone faces is to get those who matter subscribing to your channel. Some customers will see it for what it is – a way to interact with your company quickly while others will prefer the old tried-and-true method of contacting over the phone.

The way to get everyone on board is to use it as an avenue to communicate announcements: of parts recalls, software upgrades and anything else important enough to make them feel that it is crucial to become a part of your social network.

It probably isn’t wise to cease whatever method you use currently for these announcements (no one likes to be forced into social networking), but the instant nature of Twitter and Snapchat can certainly be exploited to make them more appealing than a card sent through the mail.

Increased revenues are an added bonus

The best-in-class purveyors of social customer care saw as much as an 11.7% increase in annual revenue and an 11% gain in up-sale/cross-sale revenues. Part of what makes social media so appealing to business is the ability to instantly send advertisements for new products, sale and discount items, and upgrades to a customer who is eager to hear back from you.

I would give a hard-learned word of warning here, though: don’t use social media as a constant spam machine, with very little attention to the customer’s needs and input. The downside of Facebook and Twitter is that they’ve made it too easy to put a block on persistent spammers. So if you’re going to hand this over to your marketing team, be sure to set some ground rules first.