Here we are explaining engaging customers with social media. You would have to live under a rock not to realize how powerful a tool social media has become for building a brand. Using social media for marketing is how social media entered the business world and what provided the money to keep social media growing into an integral part of society that it is today.
However engaging customers with social media opened up the possibility of two-way communication between a brand and its social media users. That changed the equation from social media being a marketing platform to it being both a marketing platform and a customer service platform – a perfect hybrid of two functions in one.
But, is your brand embracing this? Many businesses have the social marketing part down but are missing the customer service portion with outdated marketing that has not kept up. Social media is now a hybrid of both and brand strategy needs to account for this.
Customers use social media to find opinions and information about products and to complain when they have a problem or want to ask a question. Unanswered complaints become the second opinion the next customer sees. And, when a customer has a question, asking it on social media is a quick and easy way for them to reach out. The previous issues just left unaddressed on a brand’s social media site can shift a well-planned social engagement marketing and make it look unengaged in a hurry.
So, are you fully using the customer service part of social media engagement? Or are you missing out on this important piece of the social media puzzle? Here four tips on how to get started using social media to improve customer service and get your brand moving.
To a point, customers can handle some mistakes or shortcomings in their brands. What they want when something isn’t right though, is to feel like you care. Ignoring them is an excellent way to appear like you don’t care and turn a disappointed customer into an angry troll, and trolls are much harder to manage. And angry people are the ones who go on a mission to make trouble for you and let everybody else know about it.
The way to make them feel like you care is to be responsive. That will lead the customer down the path of overlooking your mistake and maintaining their brand loyalty to you. Being responsive to their concern will not only protect your brand from damage, but it will actually build loyalty. And that reputation for responsiveness (read caring), will spread and increase your brand’s reputation. Engaged customers draw a connection to their brand, feeling that they perhaps created a change or corrected a problem just makes them feel more empowered and connected to your brand.
You can ignore complaints at your own peril if you wish, but seriously, don’t ignore a customer. Be responsive and tackle complaints when they are posted.
As we just discussed responsiveness, engagement generates brand loyalty. Boring and predictable posts are the opposite of engaging in the social marketing world. When you are able to differentiate yourself from the competition is when brand loyalty is built. Customers will want to come back and word will spread across social media when you are able to differentiate yourself.
The strategy here is to focus on creating content that is original and authentic. This might actually be a good time to see what the competition in your niche is doing, and then do something different. You want to try and trigger an exchange about your brand between you and your customers, and if you have done it well, exchanges between your customers – chatter about your brand that spreads your message. Wit and humor along with sharing valuable content are a good starting point.
Your social media is an excellent way to conduct customer education about your brand and how to use your products. Helping your clients use your products increases customer satisfaction ratings and may actually save you some money too.
Think of creating content like a customer knowledge base that is framed around common customer questions or problems. Now, customers are more satisfied and less likely to contact you for one-to-one assistance, or even worse, getting frustrated and deciding they don’t like your brand after all.
Using social media to educate your customers can avoid frustration for them, the time spent by you with individual customers, and increase brand loyalty. It’s also a great topic to tackle to when trying to come up with unique engaging content.
Since you are tackling complaints when they are brought up (Rule 1 from above), you might as well let complaints drive some of your improvement efforts. You probably are going to have to as part of being responsive anyway, so finds ways to resolve the issue that caused the problem in the first place. This also relates back to helping the customer feel empowered when they see a change because of their concern. It’s easy to feel like it’s your brand that you are getting them to be loyal to, but it needs to be the opposite of that, make it their brand and listen to them. It will make your business better.
When you let the customers have some ownership of the brand, something else may also happen – they may come up with improvements that you and brand team hadn’t thought of yet. Now that would be real engagement. If nothing else, when customers keep asking for the same thing, like a new flavor or whatever, engage them about that, and then listen and make it your next brand improvement.
Social marketing has evolved and customers have evolved with it. They expect more than a simple website or a nearly content free social media page. They want to be engaged, and when you engage them, they will respond with increased satisfaction and loyalty. Use the tips from above to get yourself started.
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