Social media is the one marketing medium that allows customers and businesses to interact in an organic fashion. However, it astonishes me just how many companies don’t take advantage of this. Rather than engaging with their customers on social media, they use it to tell the customer what the business wants to say. There is very little listening going on.
I would suggest that every business should use social media as a two-way radio as opposed to the megaphone that it currently is for so many companies. When you listen as well as speak, you get the opportunity to find out what your customers want, what they need, and what they think of your business.
Customer Service Hotline
More and more customers are taking to social media to voice their concerns over their experience with brands and businesses. Customers will tweet reviews of their experiences at restaurants, they’ll post about their stay at a hotel on the hotel’s Facebook page, or they might Instagram an image of a product they received in the mail.
The point is, a company needs to be monitoring this for good and negative mentions. If a customer has a horrible experience, it’s better to engage with them on social media and attempt to diffuse the situation before it spreads across social media. I’ve witnessed many companies calm down an angry customer over social media and turn a potentially harmful situation into a positive one.
Likewise, if a customer is praising your company for something you did right, you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of this. Always be searching for mentions of your company on all of the social media networks. There are several tools that will do this automatically for you. Whenever your company is mentioned in a positive light, thank the customer and maybe even ask them if you can use the mention as a testimonial.
What should your next product be? Will the customers like the new design? What about the new color scheme, will the customers react positively to it? These are a few examples of questions that are being asked in businesses every single day. There are groups that will work to get these answers for you via focus groups and surveys. It can also cost a company a pretty penny to go this route.
Instead of spending money on third party groups to have them tell you what your clientele wants, go directly to the source. Utilize the survey features on Facebook to poll your customers and find out what you should be doing with your products and services.
You can also start a Twitter campaign with tweets that say “If the new product should be blue, favorite this tweet. If it should be red, then retweet this.” You can then go back and count up the results and use it as a quick method of surveying.
There are endless possibilities for picking your customer base’s brains when it comes to new product or service innovation.
Sales and Specials
Companies use sales and specials to increase sales. They select promotions that they hope will resonate with their customers in order to get them to spend money with the company. Sometimes these sales are a success. Sometimes they’re not.
Instead of choosing one direction and one special, a company could utilize social media to roll out several different offerings and see which ones receive the best reception from their customers.
A simple change in wording can have a huge impact on how a special is received. A business could put two coupons on their Facebook page. One could say “$25 off your next purchase,” while the other might say “Save $25 on anything in the store.”
Both give the same discount, but your customers will usually pick one more often than the other. Utilize your social media following for this A/B testing to optimize your promotions.
Regardless of how you utilize your social media outlets, you can be sure that by ignoring your customers’ feedback will damage your image and your brand. Use both your mouth and your ears when operating on social media and you’ll be sure to receive the full spectrum of benefits.