Remember when our parents warned us about the evils of social networking? Â It’s the downward spiral of society! Â Soon we won’t know how to maintain a relationship outside of a computer! Â They had major concerns. Â Albeit, some were legitimate. Â Perhaps you should take down that picture of you bonging a beer at a frat party, friend…? Â But mostly, people were concerned because they didn’t understand it fully. Â There’s so much fear in the unknown.
But now… Â Whew. Â 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. Â Even the good ol’ boy companies are finally getting it. Â They can actually see purpose-driven results in posting a blog, maintaining a Facebook account and engaging their customers on Twitter. Â Heck, even my future in-law sent me an email telling me about this fancy thing called: LinkedIn! Â 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? Â Simple: Â acknowledge them!
The following is a very brief list of how great, clued-in companies use social media to their benefit.
1. Â Be present.
It’s pretty simple. Â If I don’t know your company exists, then I won’t be visiting your store, viewing your television show, buying your product, etc. Â This means more than being able to Google and find your phone number. Â The business mainstay for years has been that word of mouth is the best way to bring in customers. Â 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. Â People want to see your product and read about your company – it leaves less room for misinterpretation. Â That means your details need to be readily available on your website, Twitter or Facebook. Â 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. Â See how that new word of mouth thing works?
2. Â You followed us? Â 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. Â After learning that Ft. Lauderdale was the “Venice of America” (who knew?) I heard about these wonderful things called water taxis. Â I hit the Google box. Â Discovered Ft. Lauderdale Water Taxi. Â Followed them on Twitter. Â Received this nice message in my inbox:
Boom. Â That was easy. Â Was it most likely an auto-bot response? Yeah. Â But it was nice to be recognized for following them. Â 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”. Â Hook. Â Line. Â Sinker. Â 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 @visitlauderdaleÂ so I could find out about fun events in our area. Â The brilliant social media guru who runs that account saw they had a new follower (me). Â Took 2 seconds to look at my profile and see my recent tweets. Â Saw from my profile that I was vegan-ish. Â (Really big emphasis on the ish…) Saw from recent tweets that I was moving to Florida. Â 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. Â That extra 2 seconds = costumer loyalty. Brilliant.
4. Respond. Respond. Respond.
Sure, you’re busy. Â Everyone is. Â But if a customer calls you to either complain or compliment your company, do you simply remain quiet on your end of the line? Â Of course not! Â (And if you do, your business surely won’t last during this knee-jerk reaction of online complainers.) Â The same goes for social media!
I have a deep love for Bloody Mary’s. Â And they love me. Â While living in Detroit, I discovered the amazing, local McClure’s Bloody Mary mix. Â I must have talked about it a lot because when I moved, a dear friend and her husband gave us a CASE of McClures. Â 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. Â 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! Â 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? Â McClure’s just gained a bigger customer base. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â The ticket was so last minute that I didn’t have a seat assignment. Â All of us regular business travelers know what that means…overbooked. <wah. waaaaaaaah.> Â 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. Â I took to Twitter.
A (social media) agent responded within the day asking for my Flight and Confirmation #’s. Â 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. Â But needless to say, I got to the airport, had a seat and got to celebrate my grandmother’s last birthday with her.Â This act did not go unrecognized. Â 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. Â That’s it. Â They may not have even touched the magical “get Caroline a seat” button. Â But they responded. Â Half the battle, my friends.
5. Talk about social media!
Engage your clientele by telling them you have a blog, Facebook Â or Twitter account. Â Seriously. Â It can be that easy. Â Being present (go back to #1) is key to this step. Â In your newsletter, direct them to your Twitter account and you’ve built yourself a great, dynamic customer base. Â Especially if you offer free products by simply asking people to “Like” your page on Facebook… Â Thanks Target!
Core3Solutions provides tons of updates about social media trends via Twitter and Facebook. Â The irony isn’t lost on me… Â 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/Â Constantly talking about social media creates the notion that it’s necessary for your company to be involved in the social media machineÂ (and it is!)Â 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. Â Be sure you stay on top of its ever-changing ways and you’ll be doing you and your customers a great service. Â 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 whatâ€™s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about. Â
Do you want to be a part of that?Â
Psst…the answer should be yes.