How to Improve Customer Experience with Social Media
Remember when customer service was like 98% face-to-face? That was like so 90’s – now it’s multichannel and if you want to improve your customer experience start with social media.
Like almost anything in life, social media can be the best or worse thing to happen to any business. On the one hand, social media can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool for even the smallest of businesses. On the other hand, social media can also be a powerful platform for anyone who might be disgruntled with your product or service as well.
Therefore, it is important for businesses to pay close attention to social media and manage it well.
Social media also does far more than just give businesses an opportunity to market their services, it gives them an almost unprecedented opportunity to engage with their consumer base – even for online-only businesses.
Here are four ways you can improve the customer experience with social media.
Provide Free Knowledge and Information
Free samples have long been one of the best ways to get customers to try your product. The theory being that once they try your product, they will like it so much they will want to use it. In some cases, however, samples can be quite expensive and there is really no way to accurately gauge their ROI.
In addition, many businesses offer a product or service that is not actually conducive to free samples. What all businesses have the potential to offer, however, is something far more valuable than a free sample. As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.”
Blogs, instructional videos, infographics and even reposted information from other sources all provide the resources to establish yourself as an expert in your field. They give you the ability to become the “go-to” source for knowledge and information about your industry.
By establishing yourself as an expert in your field or industry, you also establish brand recognition and make yourself a trusted source for your product or service as well. Never underestimate the power of free information and of social media to be your key point of distribution.
Use Social Media to Engage with Clients and Consumers
One thing that many businesses fail to recognize when it comes to social media is that what is true of personal relationships, is also true of business. In other words, we all have that one friend or relative who only calls us when they want something or that one friend on social media who is constantly pushing their independent business product on us.
While social media can be a powerful marketing tool, it should not be used as a sales tool. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be a powerful tool for your sales department, it just means you need to learn how to leverage it effectively.
Marketing should establish a relationship with your clients and consumers. Social media should be used as a means of interacting with your clients and consumers, not for constantly trying to sell them a product.
When followers on social media have a question – answer it. When they leave a comment – respond to it. Above all else, if they leave a complaint on social media, be sure and address it as quickly as possible.
Think of it this way: outgoing information should be used to establish a relationship – or for marketing – while sales can gather useful incoming information that results from marketing efforts.
Show Your Business in A Positive Light
Not only can you help build a relationship with your clients and consumers, but you can also showcase your business in a positive light.
Is your business a dog-friendly environment?
Then post photos of your favorite furry companions at work to your Instagram account.
Does your business offer telecommuting options?
Film and post a “day in the life” video of one of your employees showing the perks of working from home.
Not only does this help you connect with your consumers, but also attracts talented professionals to apply for a position.
Does your business support a local charity?
Show your employees working with that local charity and promote it actively. Have a CTA about the charity too, not only your business.
These days, people expect more from businesses than just offering a great product. They want to interact and engage with businesses that treat their employees well and have a social mission.
Just posting a mission and values statement on your website is great, but that doesn’t ensure you actually live up to or follow through with them. Social media is a great outlet to showcase that you mean it.
Remember, talk is cheap, and a picture is worth a thousand words.
Also remember, however, that you need to be sure you live up to what you post on social media or it can blow up in your face. If you claim to be a “green” company but your CEO drives a vintage Hummer, you will have a very bad time.
Put a Face on Your Company
A business is more than just a company that makes a product, it’s a group of people banding together to accomplish a certain goal or task.
The truth is, people don’t buy products from businesses, they buy them from people.
Marketing is about creating a connection, but you aren’t creating a connection with the product, you are creating a connection with the people who are creating, making or selling the product. Humans love to anthropomorphize objects. That means we tend to naturally give objects – including brands and businesses – human characteristics.
You can tap into this tendency and use it to your advantage by using social media to put a “face” on your company.
Think of the ways in which individuals use social media and then use it the same way.
Did an employee take a spectacular picture of the sun rising over your building?
Post that to social media.
Did one of your employees make a beautiful cake, delicious dessert or special meal?
Post it to social media.
Remember, your employees have lives and you can generate interest in your company by generating interest in the lives of your employees.
How Does Your Company Fare?
Social media can be both a powerful sales and marketing tool, but only if you use it wisely.
One of the best ways to understand how to use social media effectively is to look at the online behaviors of individuals that use it effectively and those who do not.
Most likely there are people that you “unfollow” or mute on social media and those whose posts or tweets you avidly look forward to. By analyzing that – why you muted or unfollowed someone, and why you put someone else to the “See First” list – and comparing it to your company’s social media presence, you will know how you stand. That should give you a pretty good idea of how your business or company should or should not be using social media.
How do YOU use social media to build your customer engagement?