Remember when our parents warned us about the evils of social networking? It’s the downward spiral of society! Soon we won’t know how to maintain a relationship outside of a computer! They had major concerns. Albeit, some were legitimate. Perhaps you should take down that picture of you bonging a beer at a frat party, friend…? But mostly, people were concerned because they didn’t understand it fully. There’s so much fear in the unknown.
But now… Whew. Now go to any job board and you’ll see plenty of job openings requesting people who know the ins and out of social media. Even the good ol’ boy companies are finally getting it. They can actually see purpose-driven results in posting a blog, maintaining a Facebook account and engaging their customers on Twitter. Heck, even my future in-law sent me an email telling me about this fancy thing called: LinkedIn! It was really quite sweet.
So how does your company make a lasting impression (for better or worse) on your customers and thus, help your bottom line? Simple: acknowledge them!
The following is a very brief list of how great, clued-in companies use social media to their benefit.
1. Be present.
It’s pretty simple. If I don’t know your company exists, then I won’t be visiting your store, viewing your television show, buying your product, etc. This means more than being able to Google and find your phone number. The business mainstay for years has been that word of mouth is the best way to bring in customers. Consider social networking your new word of mouth! Whether you like it or not a vast majority of people would rather point and click than search and pick up a phone. People want to see your product and read about your company – it leaves less room for misinterpretation. That means your details need to be readily available on your website, Twitter or Facebook. If I have to pick up a phone to figure out what your hours are, I will very quickly forget about your business and choose a similar one who my friend liked on Facebook. See how that new word of mouth thing works?
2. You followed us? Thanks!
I recently moved to Florida and have used Twitter and Facebook to find different fun activities I can do while exploring my new area. After learning that Ft. Lauderdale was the “Venice of America” (who knew?) I heard about these wonderful things called water taxis. I hit the Google box. Discovered Ft. Lauderdale Water Taxi. Followed them on Twitter. Received this nice message in my inbox:
Boom. That was easy. Was it most likely an auto-bot response? Yeah. But it was nice to be recognized for following them. Clearly, it left me with enough of an impression that I think of them anytime someone visits us and wants to explore the “Venice of America”. Hook. Line. Sinker. You got me as a customer now.
3. Taking 2 seconds to discover your customer will benefit both of you.
Before we moved, I began following @visitlauderdale so I could find out about fun events in our area. The brilliant social media guru who runs that account saw they had a new follower (me). Took 2 seconds to look at my profile and see my recent tweets. Saw from my profile that I was vegan-ish. (Really big emphasis on the ish…) Saw from recent tweets that I was moving to Florida. They then tweeted me and told me about a great vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the area I should try out when I move to town.
Do you see how that works, folks? I am now a paying customer and follower to both. That extra 2 seconds = costumer loyalty. Brilliant.
4. Respond. Respond. Respond.
Sure, you’re busy. Everyone is. But if a customer calls you to either complain or compliment your company, do you simply remain quiet on your end of the line? Of course not! (And if you do, your business surely won’t last during this knee-jerk reaction of online complainers.) The same goes for social media!
I have a deep love for Bloody Mary’s. And they love me. While living in Detroit, I discovered the amazing, local McClure’s Bloody Mary mix. I must have talked about it a lot because when I moved, a dear friend and her husband gave us a CASE of McClures. If you think I’m joking, check out what happened next.
I tweeted McClures and told them how we considered this new case of Bloody Mary’s precious cargo on our way down to Florida. They saw and loved it so much they responded with many re-tweets and even posted it on their Facebook page.
Look ma’, I’m famous! They even re-posted one of my blogs they enjoyed months later to their own page!
A few of my friends took notice and guess what? McClure’s just gained a bigger customer base. And I’ve very quickly become a conosuier of Bloody Mary mix — I pretty much complain about the taste of anything else but McClure’s mix.
Speaking of complaining, while My Main Squeeze has threatened many times to create a Twitter account simply to complain about services (empty threats get you nowhere, my dear) that is the perfect opportunity for a company to turn around a bad situation.
I fly a lot. And I’m really hoping those miles come in handy when we get married overseas next summer… Delta is my go-to airline mostly because that’s who I’ve racked up the most points with and their hubs are in Detroit and Minneapolis, both cities that I have family located. When it became apparent that my grandmother’s health was quickly declining, I bought a last minute plane ticket so I could see her and share her last birthday with her. The ticket was so last minute that I didn’t have a seat assignment. All of us regular business travelers know what that means…overbooked. <wah. waaaaaaaah.> I know your trickery, Delta and I’m not going to put up with it!
So did what any normal, passive aggressive person would do. I took to Twitter.
A (social media) agent responded within the day asking for my Flight and Confirmation #’s. I gave him/her both and quickly had a response that I was all set.
I don’t know if the agent had the means to get me a seat or check to see if the flight was, in fact, full. But needless to say, I got to the airport, had a seat and got to celebrate my grandmother’s last birthday with her. This act did not go unrecognized. I thanked Delta on Twitter to make sure my followers saw and I now go to their website first before booking through major travel websites.
Somebody simply responded to me. That’s it. They may not have even touched the magical “get Caroline a seat” button. But they responded. Half the battle, my friends.
5. Talk about social media!
Engage your clientele by telling them you have a blog, Facebook or Twitter account. Seriously. It can be that easy. Being present (go back to #1) is key to this step. In your newsletter, direct them to your Twitter account and you’ve built yourself a great, dynamic customer base. Especially if you offer free products by simply asking people to “Like” your page on Facebook… Thanks Target!
Core3Solutions provides tons of updates about social media trends via Twitter and Facebook. The irony isn’t lost on me… Here’s a great blog about maintaining your social media presence in minutes a day: http://core3solutions.com/web/blog/online-marketing/social-media-marketing-in-minutes-a-day/ Constantly talking about social media creates the notion that it’s necessary for your company to be involved in the social media machine (and it is!) and gives your customers a chance to see that you actually are!
So aside from the pictures you’ve posted after winning the Jello wrestling championship years ago, social media can be a huge advantage to you. Be sure you stay on top of its ever-changing ways and you’ll be doing you and your customers a great service. If you have any questions about increasing your web presence, use my contact form to ask me and/or give me your best suggestions in the handy-dandy comments section below!
Just remember, Twitter’s very own tagline is quite simple: Find out what’s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.
Do you want to be a part of that?
Psst…the answer should be yes.