As we move into 2016, the business world is finally beginning to realize what the “social” in social media means—and can do—for every organization. In my Forbes 2016 marketing predictions piece, I talk about how brands will increasingly recognize that social media is no longer an isolated marketing channel used primarily to sell their product or service. What once served primarily as a platform to increase sales is now a meeting space, and has become part of the brand experience itself.
If you’ve noticed a drop in participation or followers, now is the time to reflect on how you are using social media platforms. Are you bombarding your audience with advertisements and products or services you are hoping to sell? Instead, focus on engaging your audience; asking them for their opinions, comments, and ideas on how you could make things better for them. Although pertinent data can be gathered from social media platforms, the main focus should be on listening to the customer.
Building Your Brand And Culture With The Customer In Mind
Brand culture is critical – A business’s brand is the voice of the company, and your employees are extremely important when it comes to ensuring that voice is articulated correctly. Focusing on your corporate culture—listening, appreciating, and treating workers with respect—goes hand in hand with better output and customer service.
Workers need to feel:
• An integral part of a team
Happy employees equal brand vitality.
Respect your audience – Customer experience/service is fast becoming the most important tool for business success, and how a particular forum represents and adds to your brand’s vision is a vital component to successful customer experience. A survey by Bain & Co. estimated that 89% of businesses rely on customer service as their primary means of competition. With so many similar brands on the market, efficiency and affinity are major factors in the survival of your business.
Before posting on social media, a business should ask:
• Who are we engaging with?
• What platform are we using?
• What type of content are we using?
• What are our bigger goals?
• How can we measure our results?
Prompt responses are essential – How an employee handles an urgent situation is critical, but so is consistency and consideration. With increased options and accessibility available, businesses can’t afford to overlook people conditioned, as digitally savvy customers are today, to receiving immediate answers. If your employees cannot provide that answer, have them ensure the customer that they are working on it and have them follow-up with the customer via a phone call or email as soon as they have an answer.
Always follow up – Businesses that follow up, take polls, and monitor keywords on social media will perform better in the long run. Using the example above, make sure your customer service employees take note of particular customer pain points, and use that data to follow-up by asking specific questions in surveys or polls. Showing customers you really do care about their experience is an area where your business can stand out from the rest.
Personalize your feedback – Show your audience you are listening by acting on the feedback they give you. And show them you respect and value their input by sending digital thank you notes, personalized discount features for favorite items, and other incentives. These interactions will go a long way toward creating long-term customer loyalty.
Fluidity – The ability the internet gives us to share and receive instant feedback creates the potential for sudden changes in what your customer wants and needs. These changes may be apparent to you at times, but when they are not, pay attention to the comments, keywords, and feedback you receive on your social media platforms. Some customers may explicitly tell you what they want; if they don’t, this data will help your business generate new ideas for the changing needs and wants of your audience.
It’s important for companies and businesses to switch from the traditional use of social media. Products and services are pushed on consumers throughout their day, so if they do not like the way you do business, they will likely be able to easily find a replacement. This is why treating social media as a means to serve the customer, and enhance their overall buying experience is vital to business in the future. By doing so, you have the ability to create loyalty and the ability to communicate your dedication to your customers. All in all, an excellent way to ensure 2016 is a year of growth and success for your business.
Source: Daniel Newman Forbes.com