Brands that truly engage their customers use social media like a telephone, not a megaphone. They realise that Facebook, Twitter, and other channels should be used as more than just another platform to broadcast self-promotional messages to a passive audience. They listen, respond, and craft content that serves their community’s needs and interests in ways that elicit a reaction or response.
You can engage customers in two ways. Respond to conversations by jumping in, being helpful, and routing conversations to the right people. Or initiate conversations by offering interactive experiences, useful content, and stimulating questions.
Respond to your on-line customers: Answer the social phone
If there is conversation about your brand, that’s the place to start engaging.
From saying “thank you” for a compliment to calming down an angry customer who’s thinking of switching brands, the one thing to remember is there is no “right way,” no universal industry standard for engagement. The right type of engagement for you is defined by the goals you set forth for your social media program.
The bare bones of what to say to your on-line customers
“What do we say?” is often the hardest question to answer, largely due to the fear that letting people speak on behalf of your brand could create problems like mixed messages, the spreading of inaccurate information, or even legal issues.
There are basic comments you can make, though, to reassure people you’re listening without causing problems for your brand, including:
We are sorry we messed up
How can we help you
We are listening and we hear you
Here is the information that will help you
“Yes”, “No” and this is the reason why
What else you can do to engage your on-line communities for lasting impact.
Reward your advocates
You have customers who are die-hard fans. They couldn’t be more proud of their association with your brand or products, and they make a point to show it on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Often this rubs off on their peers, and may ultimately influence others’ perceptions. Why not give these advocates a virtual pat on the back by featuring them on the company blog or Facebook page.
Say thank you
Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated. Even a small, seemingly insignificant “thank you” can go a long way. Consider a public gesture to let your customers and social media followers know you value them.
Participate in industry discussion
Getting involved in the conversation surrounding your industry is essential for establishing your business not only as a thought leader, but also as a helpful business that truly cares about its community. At the end of the day, you’re providing a service or product that solves a deep human problem, and sharing your knowledge about how to solve that problem—without forcing your product or service down your customers’ throats.
Just a reminder: Some of the benefits that you will get when you create relevant on-line content include:
- A stronger customer relationship with your brand once they see you are honestly trying to help them instead of just dishing out product information.
- A well-earned reputation as the thought leader in your industry.
- Increased traffic to your website through higher SEO rankings, inbound links, and social shares.
- Educated and empowered repeat customers who become brand ambassadors.
- Fewer customer service complaints and calls.
- Opportunities to engage with prospects seeking to educate themselves about their buying decisions.
For tailor-made social media and digital marketing training contact Chipo at firstname.lastname@example.org