Having a loyal customer base can make or break a business. You want customers who enjoy your brand, believe in it, trust it, and return for more. This can be a powerful and sometimes completely necessary tool for marketing your business and retaining that loyal customer base. But let’s face, not everyone can afford six-figure ad campaigns or an team of marketing specialists to paper the town and get at the front of the stiff competition for customers. Luckily, social media fills that gap that time and money can’t.
Social media wears a lot of hats in your company’s mission: do you value customer service? Facebook becomes a platform to react to customers whether their experience was positive or negative. Are you a tastemaker or thought-leader? Use Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn to disseminate your message and vision to the world. How you want to come across as a business informs how you use social media, but whatever it is there are some guidelines to help influence how your behave, interact, and engage with your customers.
Have a Conversation With Your Customers
Social. Media. The operative word there is social. Think of social media as a nice cocktail party: work the room, be personable, don’t bring up anything that might insult a stranger, and just tap into that part of you that knows how to impress. Are you not the social butterfly? That’s alright, use these suggestions to guide your interactions on social media — even the big dogs know how important this engagement is:
- Ask Questions Don’t know what your audience wants to read about? Ask them. There’s no better way to get to know your customers and their interests than to be candid with them.
- Answer Questions Nothing is more discouraging to a customer than to have a question fall on deaf ears or go completely ignored.
- Be Responsive You don’t need to be overly verbose, but be timely and relevant and really listen to what your customers are saying – sympathize and work with them, not against them.
- Be Real Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a condescending business owner. Just be yourself and remember it’s a dialogue and everyone is on the same level.
- Don’t Be Spammy We like to call it exposure exhaustion. Don’t post content every 20 minutes around the clock. A conversation is a dialogue where you and your customers share the talking time.
Put a Positive Spin on It
Nobody likes a negative nancy. And there will be a myriad of opportunities for your to really drop the ball when your customers engage you. Do not fall for the trap! Nothing is more excruciating than having to do damage control on social media. If there’s any time to chant a “stay positive” mantra it’s during those tough social media times. After all, there are 2 billion people on social media every day who could see you implode in the worst way. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to keep the morale up:
- Reviews Customers can “review” your business anywhere, but the real important ones are going to be when they actually submit a starred review on Facebook or Yelp. If it’s low or the majority of the review is negative, just remember that it’s a conversation, listen to what they have to say, and don’t be negative!
- Criticism This could be as simple as “your logo looks ugly” or “your business is in a terrible location” — whatever it is, know your customer is coming from a place of taste and there may be merit to what they’re saying. If there is no merit to their criticism, that’s fine. Thank them for the advice and move along.
- Customer Service Customers rarely ever contact you wanting something with a positive taste in their mouth. They’re either upset at service or disappointed with a product. The customer isn’t necessarily always right, but everyone should walk away from every interaction at least feeling a little better and a positive outlook can do nothing but help.
Create a Community
We can’t harp on the “social” aspect of social media enough. Having a killer social media presence is more than a “build it and they will come” kind of endeavor. You have to go out and do some of the grunt work too. Be a member of the community, interact, and interconnect and then they will come. But not only come, they’ll stay! There’s not one hard and fast rule for creating that community, but get creative with it!
Engage with local businesses There is power in numbers! Leverage your friends, neighbors, and local stars to tell everyone “look, I’m a member of the community too!”
Be a member of your community Look to local festivals, events, and trends to show people you care about your town, city, and community.
Guest posting Start a blog! That long form content will not only drive up your SEO and give you content to share with your followers, but it opens up the doors for so much more. Find a local thought-leader to be a guest blogged – bam! You can leverage their followers and influence for yourself.
Overall the most important thing is to get creative with it. There’s no one way to do anything, and some people will suggest completely different and effective ways of doing it. Find what works for you and run with it!
MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Does this delicate balance feel overwhelming? It can be — and the trouble it that it’s not always an exact science. We’ve been working around social media long enough that this kind of careful tiptoeing is second nature to us. At FEAD we specialize in that kind of thing: social media, seo, and content… it’s sort of what we do best. Feel free to contact us and we can help figure out what kind of social media you need and how best to support your business.