As a small business owner, you don’t need a huge budget or dedicated staff to make your customers happy using social media. To really be effective and avoid feeling overwhelmed, consider implementing a process that consistently demonstrates care and commitment to your customers. Below you’ll find out how to make customers happy using a few social media strategies that will be key to successful marketing efforts.
You can’t make customers happy using social media if you don’t know where they are and what they’re saying. Social conversations are happening all around you, piquing curiosity and driving consumers to buy. It’s impossible to sift through the social platforms to find a conversation to enter without help, and that is why it is important to have an automated notification process in place. A cost-effective tool like Hootsuite can help you keep tabs on conversations that you want to be a part of, especially as it relates to your brand. You can set up streams to monitor the conversation around your products and company, which can keep you in the loop of what is being said about your business, as well as provide you with an opportunity to dispel any product or service inaccuracies, share gratitude and connect with customers. Here is an example of social listening in Hootsuite for the term Infusionsoft across Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Be active and available on the social media platform that’s most frequented by your customers, even if it’s not your social platform of choice. If followers can easily contact you and get their questions and concerns resolved, you can bet they’ll be more likely to report a positive experience rather than a negative one. Be sure to keep in mind that customers who use social media to contact you expect a timely response. A survey by The Social Habit discovered that 42 percent of customers who use social media for support expect a response within 60 minutes. Although you don’t have to be available 24/7, you should try to respond as soon as possible.
Social media allows people to gather and share ideas regardless of geography, age or demographics. If your business has a unique point of view that is truly different from everyone else’s, consider creating a community. Bring people together, learn everything you can about them and provide content and resources that your members want to receive and talk about. Nothing drives social media loyalty more than a feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals. Your community membership doesn’t have to be in the thousands. Start small and let it grow naturally, but monitor it for trolls that bring negativity into the community and drive members away. Members of a community want to bring and receive value from other members and trolls can quickly erode a good thing.
Online contests, giveaways, and promotions are a great way to make customers happy using social media, but tactful shout-outs are also well received. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to show them how much you care about them, so if one of your customers recently opened a new restaurant, post a congratulatory message, and share your excitement and intent to visit their location. Alternatively, patronize the restaurant and post a picture of your visit while tagging them in the post. If you have customers who serve in the military, thank them for their service not only on key holidays, but also on other random days. Never miss an opportunity to share your gratitude for your customers.
Create and share helpful articles, resources, and tools on your social media platforms, but also provide assistance to customers who have questions. Even if the question has nothing to do with your brand, you can still be helpful and answer it. Hilton Suggests does a great job of social listening and engages with people who are searching for places, events, and activities as they travel. By being helpful, you create trust in your brand; you’re willing to help while keeping distance from self-promotion and product pushing – and what customer or prospect doesn’t love that?
Feedback is a gift and negative feedback is gold. Publicly responding to each piece of feedback can save you time and win loyal fans. When you move negative conversations offline, people lose insight into your sincere apology and reason for response. Responding publicly helps other customers who are experiencing similar issues know the situation, see that you’re working to resolve it and feel confident in your ability to deliver results. When customers reach out to you, consider it an opportunity to engage, learn more about them and take notes on how you can improve. Embrace the feedback, take action and always remember to say thank you for both positive and negative feedback.
Everybody wants exclusive discounts, offers, and rewards, so why not provide special offers to your customers and fans? You might decide that every Friday you’ll provide a reward to the customer who comments or shares the most posts that week. Perhaps you’ll offer a coupon for a free baseboard cleaning with every house cleaning referral or a complimentary additional service when a customer socially shares a photo and tags your business. Get creative and track activity related to the bonus offer so you have data to drive your next promotion because all promotions are not created equal.
Consider holding a contest where customers can be featured as experts or brand VIPs; they can share their tips, tricks, and advice. If you own a restaurant, have your featured customers share their favorite moments or recipes. If you’re an accountant, have your customers share tips on how they save money every year on taxes. This also helps to create an army of superfans for your business. Brand VIPs don’t have to be human—consider featuring dog VIPs if you’re product or service is pet related. Share their favorite dog treats and activities and ask your audience to contribute theirs. If you own a car wash and someone drives through with a unique vehicle, feature that car on your Facebook page for the week where you can ask the owner about the car’s mileage, features and where it’s traveled. By capitalizing on buzz-worthy topics or products in your features, you’ll likely see a rise in engagement that week.
The small business advantage
Your small business has the advantage over large corporations when it comes to relationships and agility on social media platforms. You have closer relationships with your customers because you take the time to get to know who they are, which allows you to customize your social strategy. You can base your social actions on information that you’ve gathered on customers and your target audience and store it in your Customer Relationship Management software. Having less red tape to deal with allows your company to be agile and you can respond and make decisions quickly when faced with the unexpected. As you monitor your social analytics, you can pivot in a new direction if something isn’t working or stick with a campaign for a few extra days if it is. You have the advantage if you embrace the opportunity and implement a few of these tactics. A consistent process coupled with the right automation can help you deliver an amazing experience each and every time. What will you do to make customers happy using social media?