Using social media to engage with your customers
Earlier this week we explored what social media is, and explained that it’s about a lot more than just Facebook! In this article we’re going to look at how businesses can use social media to encourage their customers to do the selling for them, by becoming advocates and spokespeople.
The way we do business has changed, and the way we behave as customers has also changed. Years ago when we needed a product or service we would pick up the Yellow Pages, find the right category, pick a business randomly and ring them – job done. Now, however, 93% of people prefer to search for services on the internet, using Google or other search engines, and it’s really important that you have a strong online presence otherwise you just won’t be found, it’s as simple as that.
However, to be truly successful nowadays you need to look further than just having a website. With this new way of doing business comes a new ethical outlook too – businesses today are expected to be transparent and honest. Engaging with customers via social media shows you are authentic and not just another faceless organisation. And when you open up the communication channels to your customers, not only do you begin to build relationships with them, but your customers can become spokespeople for your company. However, you want this to work in your favour, not against you.
In the old days, when someone had an especially good or bad experience with a company they might tell a few friends about it, but that would be it. The advent of social media puts the world at our fingertips so when someone wants to give feedback on a product or service they do it online – through the social networks or via a blog, tweet or video. Rather than that feedback reaching a handful of people it can now reach thousands – instantly. This could be disastrous – but you can have some control over the situation by becoming active in social media yourself, being aware of what your customers are saying about you, and ensuring that the communication goes both ways.
By engaging with your customers, either through blogging and replying to feedback or building relationships on networks like Twitter and Facebook, you can turn your customers and fans from a passive audience to passionate advocates for your business. Because you’ll be aware of what your customers think of you, you can deal with problems promptly. You can even turn negative feedback to your advantage by responding quickly, dealing with the issue and demon
BT is the perfect example of a company using social media to improve its customer communication. BT has a Twitter account, @btcare, and they scan Twitter for anyone mentioning BT and then contact them via Twitter to try to resolve the situation. In a world where corporations tend to be faceless entities, it’s a refreshing change to have a big business dealing with customers on such a personal level – and it has done wonders for improving BT’s image.
If you would like to find out more about how social media can help you connect with your customers, call the team at HodgesNet today on 08432 894 402 or fill in our contact form.
Author: Ant Hodges (Google)