Thriving as a company is dependent on good customer relationships. Social media allows nearly unfettered access to your customer base. This can be a very positive thing – but social media needs to be managed, or it can have an net negative effect on your business.
Running a social media account takes more than simply posting about and promoting your products. It’s an opportunity to develop a deeper and more meaningful and lasting relationship with your customer base. If done right, your social media account can boost your sales, draw in new customers, and enhance your brand’s reputation.
These are just a handful of ways you can reach customers with social media:
- Get answers to customers more quickly
- Give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company
- Engage social media users with images and video
- Display your brand’s style and personality
- Gain insights about your customer base through ongoing discussions
- Create a community around your brand
Having a social media policy in place is a good idea for maintaining your brand’s reputation. It allows you to streamline the manner and timeliness with which your social media account managers address customer comments, whether positive or negative. Good social media practices are also good publicity. The following six tips are essential to a successful social media policy. Don’t update your status without them!
Making a good impression on some customers can help you win the trust of others. 71% of consumers who have a good social media experience with a brand will recommend it to their peers.
Tip 1: Respond Within 24 Hours
When customers post on your social media page, they expect a timely response. Don’t leave them hanging: post a response to important questions and comments within 24 hours. Ideally, problems that need immediate attention, like requests for support, should be answered much sooner – right away, or if that’s not possible, within a matter of hours. There’s always someone available during regular hours for phone and in-person help, and social media shouldn’t be an exception.
Tip 2: Use Brand Language, Tone, and Voice
Your brand has a reputation that you’ve earned through the unique products, services and experiences you offer your clients. To further demonstrate how your brand serves its customers, you want to make your social media customer service interactions come from the brand – not the individual social media manager posting to the account. Train your staff to us precise and professional language that remains consistent across the board.
Tip 3: Prioritize Problems & Complaints
The most important posts to respond to are those that come from customers dealing with a problem, whether it’s a question about how to return an item or a complaint about how a service isn’t working for them. These should be handled as soon as possible. The next priority is to respond to other, more general questions that don’t require an immediate response. Also make time to regularly post responses to negative reviews, which will help you save face as well as save yourself from losing customers.
Tip 4: Be Relatable
In addition to addressing customer concerns, your social media is a platform for connecting with customers on a personal level. Respond to as many comments from your customer base as possible. For example, showing some appreciation for praise and positive reviews will encourage customers to continue posting the good stuff. It’s more about promotion – just like with any social media page, talking about yourself all the time can get dull. Instead, inject some life into the conversation with content that is related to your customer’s needs. Bank of America might tweet financial tips, for example, while Home Depot customers would find DIY how-to videos interesting.
Tip 5: Show Compassion and Understanding
Customers can feel good about doing business with a company that treats them like a human being and not just a number. Infuse some realness into your customer service responses – keep it professional, but also show empathy when customers express frustration. They’re on your social media page because they want a social experience, not to be fed pre-packaged lines. Be genuine and come from a place of compassion and understanding while holding firm to company policies and procedures.
Tip 6: Have Fun and Be Informative
Primary reasons people use social media are for fun and to stay current with the latest trends. Keep your content light and entertaining – there’s already enough drama on the Internet. Be informative, but in a way that keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more. These stats show the impact that having the right approach to social media can make on your marketing strategy:
- Customers who engage with a brand on social media tend to associate human characteristics, such as kindness and helpfulness, with the brand.
- Clearly communicating your value with branding and visuals, demonstrated expertise and overall credibility can make users spend more time on your page.
- In 2012, according to Forbes, almost 79 percent of sales professionals who used social media in their marketing strategy had more net sales than those who didn’t.
- Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that 68 percent of marketers thought social media gave them market insight that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
The general consensus among businesses is that having a social media presence is worth the effort. It will take some time to see the results, but continued, effective social media business strategy has the potential to change how you view your marketing efforts.
Building Customer Confidence and Loyalty
Providing customer service and added value with your social media accounts can greatly increase customer confidence in your brand. From the customer’s perspective, being able to contact a business quickly and easily through a medium they use on a daily basis is the ultimate convenience. You can optimize the benefits for both your customers and your business by setting up a social media policy that will help your employees provide the best service possible. Following the above guidelines will not only win favor among customers, but also help you gain more loyal followers and boost your overall reputation.
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