Remember, using social media isn’t a guaranteed sell – at least not at first. The point of social media is to connect to a target audience and to build up your business’ brand identity. Getting customers accustomed to and interested in a company turns them into an engaged and active consumer. Gallup believes that this is the ultimate goal for a consumer in this customer-centric economy. A fully-engaged customer will be more likely to purchase your product versus a competitor’s. They’re even more likely to buy your brand’s products and services long term. Gallup’s research even states:
“Fully engaged customers have a strong emotional attachment to a company. They act as brand ambassadors for this company, rallying on its behalf to friends, family, and coworkers, and going out of their way to purchase its products or services. Some might even say that they love that company.”
Social media is the perfect place to encourage fully-engaged consumer en masse. It’s the place to prove that your company’s values are in line with the consumers’. While apathetic consumers can and will purchase products and services (possibly even your company’s products and services), consumers in love with your company and brand will not only buy your products and services, but they’ll tell their loved ones to purchase them too.
Using Social Media for Customer Support
Social media is not only used to introduce content to customers. Many customers use social media as a way to receive customer support. Major companies including Dell are aware of this usage of social media, and have responded with vigor. Dell in particular has a social media task force and created classes and seminars for their employees to take so each one could help out a customer on social media if need be. In Parature’s 2014 State of MultiChannel Customer Service report, researchers asked 1,000 consumers whether they ever asked a customer service question via social media. Thirty-five percent responded that they had. And out of these respondents, 51% reported that the brand’s response gave them a “somewhat more” or “much more” favorable view of the brand that responded to their queries.
So be aware, people may ask you questions, and WILL expect answers fairly quickly. In another report, an Edison Research study, it was discovered that 42% of consumers expect a response under an hour. If you can’t answer any customer service questions right away, that’s ok. 25% of the respondents in the above study were fine with a customer service query being answer in 24 hours.
Best Practice for Publishing Content and External Links
Social media content can be a tricky topic for companies to master, even those who are blessed with an entire social media marketing team. Social media has to deliver high quality content to their audience in order for a social media presence to be truly effective in connecting with customers. No matter what social media website you use, you’ll need to make sure your content is regular, interesting, and has the potential to enrich people’s lives. Relevancy is the most important thing to achieve, so understand your target audience so you can create content that is the most relevant to them. Denny’s is a good example of a business that understand its target audience on social media.
While you may not necessarily want to mimic their exact type of posts and tweets, they know their audience and that you should know yours in order to properly connect to customers on social media. The content is not the only thing that matters, it also matters how you format the tweets and posts you make on these social media websites. Since Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media websites, we’ll focus on those for now. What you use on Facebook might not work on Twitter, or vice versa. The same with any other social media websites you may be connected to (such as Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. – Tumblr especially is a special case as the Millennial audience there is very hostile to corporations so you’ll need to tread softly if you choose to use Tumblr as a vehicle for a marketing campaign). People go to these social media websites for different reasons and communicate on each one differently. The same way you communicate at work differently than you communicate with your family or with your friends – consider each social media website a separate “setting” with its own language cues and communication styles.
The best way to link to content outside your Facebook page is to place the link in the body copy with a corresponding, visually appealing image attached. Try not to use Facebook’s default format for links as it looks clunky and unappealing. It often helps to write some copy to go along with your link or image. Make sure this content is relatable instead of stiff corporate. You’ve probably noticed that on Facebook the corporate posts with the highest number of shares and likes are typically entertaining, light-hearted content that is relatable, emotional, and interesting.
On Twitter the default is more useful, with the ability to add images to tweets. Just like Facebook the content should be relatable and fun. Try not to add links to every tweet, vary up your calls to action tweets with inspiring and relevant quotes to beautiful, relevant images and of course, links that relate to your industry.