In today’s crowded marketplace, it simply isn’t enough to have a great product and world-class customer service. While those two assets are essential, they mean very little if no one knows about them. So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “why use social media?,” the answer is that you may have to in order to get worldwide publicity. Current and potential customers are looking for you when they’re using social media, and if you’re not there, that can be a disastrous signal about your quality and credibility.
One of the most lucrative ways to use business social media is to build customer loyalty. An article published in Social Media Today offers ten ways to ensure that your customers stick with you for the long term.
- Make your presence known:
All of your communication should publicize your social media presence. For example, your website should have linkable icons to all of your social media pages and your marketing collateral should list them as well. In addition, make sure to add social media icons to your emails, newsletters and any other place your customers may see your brand.
- Consistency is key:
Make sure that your brand name is consistent across all of the social media platforms. This may sound obvious, but many companies forget this when using social media. For example, if your brand has a hyphen, your social media identities should also have a hyphen.
- Use what you have:
Unless your brand is brand new, you probably already have a database of customers and contacts. Reach out to them and ask them to become Facebook fans, subscribe to your social media blog and participate in your on and offline events.
- Content is king:
Social media allows you to reach out to more people using more media and at virtually no cost. Create video, infographics and specialized content that you can share with fans and followers on your social media properties and your social media blog.
- Customize your content:
If you typically write content for trade magazines and colleagues, try switching things up and tailoring your content for what customers are looking for. By creating content specifically for your customers, you’re building a trusting relationship with them, while simultaneously encouraging them to share it with even more people.
- Have a conversation:
Many companies make the mistake of using social media by simply posting content on an automated schedule and walking away. This is NOT the way to engage customers. It’s much better to have a two-way conversation with fans and followers. For example, respond to comments that followers make, thank people for retweeting your messages and make sure that each comment you make is well thought out and custom. Don’t just copy and paste the same thank you message. Take a moment and thank people and address people by name while referencing their comments.
- Move quickly:
There are lots of horror stories of companies dropping the ball by not responding quickly to complaints about their product or service on social media and on social media blogs. When (not if) a problem occurs make sure you address it on social media calmly, courteously and professionally.
- Commit to honesty and ethics:
Again, ignoring a complaint or responding glibly or angrily will cause even more problems for your brand. Don’t become a doormat, but try to figure out a way to address or resolve the problem that leaves everyone satisfied and believing in your integrity.
- Add promotions and contests:
Business social media campaigns commonly offer promotional events and contests. These are an efficient way to give customers a reason to interact with you, get involved, receive education about your offering and publicize your brand’s happenings.
- Measure your efforts:
There’s a lot of debate among businesses using social media about how to measure the success of a business social media campaign. However, it is agreed that your social media efforts do need to be measured. Depending on your specific goal, you may want to measure the following: brand mentions, web visits, referrals, and the amount of time someone spends on site. More specifically, look at how many new customers you got (or lost) from a particular action.