Image via Flickr by MDGovpics
Target audience: Businesses, digital marketers, brand managers, Web publishers, content creators, SEO specialists, PR pros.
Guest post by Teddy Hunt
While businesses should always be engaged in reaching out to new customers, it’s well known that it’s cheaper to keep the customers you have than to market and convert new ones. Social media offers your brand a terrific opportunity to build brand loyalty and improve customer satisfaction — that is, assuming you use it correctly. These six tips will help you develop an effective social media plan.
Respond quickly on your social media platforms
1Social media is about what’s happening now. This means that you need to acknowledge questions and comments on your Facebook page or Twitter feed right away. Even if you don’t have time to write a complete reply, let your customers know you’ve received and read their comments.
Be sure to follow through with a full response, or you’re likely to be judged as “unhelpful.” Your social media policy should be focused on building better customer relations through prompt and positive interactions with your followers.
Create and share quality content
2Social media is the place to build trust and create bridges between your company and your customers — it’s a long-sell process. Your social media posts should offer valuable, thought-provoking content that your followers enjoy reading and want to share. Are you involved in your community? Share photos of your company sponsoring a charity event.
Be a thought leader: Educate and entertain your followers. Social media is no place for a hard-sell approach.
Communicate actively and passively — and be consistent
3Social media communications are like face-to-face communications: There’s a time to talk, a time to listen and understand what your customers are saying, and a time to respond. Build content that encourages both types of communications: Ask questions and invite survey participation, then share your findings.
Consistency is also important in building trust on social media. Don’t bombard your followers with 15 posts one day and then go silent for a week. Develop a regular schedule for sharing content, asking questions and responding to your followers. The type of connectivity demanded to keep this sort of schedule, of course, requires a reliable Internet connection. If you’re currently shopping for a solid and dependable service provider, you can learn more here about the type of connectivity you’re seeking.
Use coupons and discount codes to reward followers
4It’s easy to track coupon codes used by your followers and this information can help you learn more about them and their behavior. Use different codes to use across various channels, and give partners unique codes to track that appeal to your followers.
Don’t forget to offer real incentives to customers who make the effort to interact with your company on social media.
Respect your followers
5Social media allows your business to invade the same space your customers and followers use for interacting personally with friends and families. When you’ve been invited into your customers’ personal space with a “follow,” show them that you appreciate the invitation. Don’t flood their timelines with promoted posts or boorish boasts. Again, quality content is key: Think of your social media presence as a way to have a friendly conversation with followers.
Use customer complaints to build customer relations
6Make it easy for your customers to complain by posting a contact name, email and phone number for complaints on all your social media profiles. Train your customer service team to respond immediately to every complaint — and to use the words “I’m sorry.” Empower them to resolve complaints, and make sure they follow through on the promises they make.
When your followers see you are concerned about service, that you take the time to communicate with them and resolve problems, they view you with trust. Remember, you can’t hide from negative comments and complaints on your social media sites, but you can use them as opportunities to improve your brand’s reputation. One loyal and satisfied customer is infinitely more valuable than 10 leads.
In today’s competitive online economy, your brand’s survival may depend on a robust — and value-added — social media presence. Consumers today are constantly connected to social media via cable, wi-fi, cellular and television networks, and engaging regularly with your followers is a great way to build brand loyalty.