When you love something, you can blabber on for days. I won’t do that (lucky you!). Instead, let’s chat a little bit about why I love social media marketing so much – its ability to build a brand simply through forming strong, loyal relationships between companies and customers. Business models don’t get any more solid than that, do they?
In an era where 74% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media, a positive B2C interaction can make or break a potential customer’s opinion of a brand. How can a business successfully leverage their social media accounts and use these tools to build their business?
One of the most important things to remember about social media is that it’s social. You will be engaging with other real, live human beings (most of the time). Social media gives you a way to humanize your brand, connect with your audience, and showcase your business’ personality.
When you focus on your customer, rather than your product, you’re more likely to inspire and build long-lasting relationships. This builds brand awareness and, in turn, grows your business.
So how do you start a customer-centric campaign? It can be as simple as running “Customers of the Month” initiatives or rewarding some of your biggest supporters and enthusiasts with freebies or shout-outs. Showing appreciation and recognition lets your client-base know you care about them and gives them a reason to support your business.
Your business has the opportunity, though social media, to not only provide your customers with excellent service, but to connect and inspire one another. Social media is a great tool and support system for those looking to find a way to connect with like-minded individuals and brands they may not have been able to connect with otherwise.
When using social media as a tool to connect, you should be constantly thinking about the social aspect of the platform you are using.(Because isn’t that what it’s for, really?). Ask yourself “how can I connect with my audience and strengthen our relationship?”
People like to buy from companies that appreciate and inspire them. While you may not be able to promise extravagant gifts or gestures to your follows (especially as a small business), seeing that you are trying to connect can be all the inspiration needed to build a lasting relationship.
Most businesses on social media interact with their followers in a reactive manner. They wait and wait until someone contacts them and even then, it can be hours or days before they even get back to them. When you are trying to build your business on social media, be proactive! Engage with your followers, say “hello,” tag them in photos- whatever you can do to let them know you notice them, appreciate them, and are a real human being. It may seem like nothing, but these small interactions have a big impact!
Your business runs on customer service, whether you like it or not. Your customers are on social media. If you take every opportunity to ask for and accept feedback from them, you’ll be given the incredible chance to improve your business.
Here’s the catch. You need to be on. your. game. Customers reaching out to a brand expect a response within 4 hours (although the average response time is closer to 10). Not only will responding faster lead to better customer service, it can lead to increased revenue as well. Twitter found that customers were willing to pay nearly $20 more to an airline that responds to Tweets in less than 6 minutes.
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