Using Social Media to Talk to Consumers, Not At Them
Although most companies today are on social media, they’re not necessarily leveraging its true because they’re stuck in the mindset that it’s a means of promotional communication only. That’s far from the case. In fact, smart brands are using social to engage customers, approaching social as a feeder for new product ideas, fielding customer service issues and building long-term customer relationships. Because most firms today rely on automated phone systems to vet customer service calls, social media is even more important to respond to such requests.
In a recent study done by independent research firm Sprout Social, 34.5% of consumers prefer using social media for customer service and a quarter of consumers are more likely to switch to a competitor if they don’t receive a response. This spells bad news since most brands do not respond to the majority of customers, and if they do, not quickly enough.
Following are tips to use social media to build long term customer relationships:
- Become a better social listener – monitor what people are saying about your brand by searching for yourself using filters, tags, and hashtags on social media. See what consumers are saying and why.
- Respond professionally – If what customers are saying is a matter of customer service, make sure to address their needs – offering to take the conversation offline, if need be. Remember always to maintain a professional tone, no matter if the customer is angry or upset.
- Respond quickly – This is probably the most difficult to do, especially if a lot of people are talking about your brand. Sprout Social’s study shows that most people expect to hear back within four hours, but actually wait an average of 10 hours. In today’s digital world, that can feel like an eternity.
There are other ways to increase engagement, such as encouraging the use of a hashtag or holding regular online chats (again, using a hashtag so people can follow). By creating a better engagement experience, companies increase brand loyalty and potentially get new customers.
What are some other ways your firm has used social media to engage with customers? What are some faux pas’ you’ve seen brands commit?