Thursday, 31 December 2015

9 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Customer Experience

Ten years ago, less than 10% of US citizens had any kind of social media presence. Now? Over 75% of Americans have social media accounts and use Internet frequently. This explosion of social media has led to our approach on marketing a new twist.
With the rapid growth of the Internet, there comes the eventual adaptation and migration of businesses going online. One of the ways they do this is by utilizing social media, a concept that has expanded and become so complicated that it is considered its own industry of employment. It is unlikely that a business dealing with customers could approach social media from a secondary viewpoint; employing someone for the express purpose of handling the company’s social media profiles is the go-to and the recommended path to take.
Check out these 9 ways to use social media to improve customer experience. Try them out and see what happens, you might be surprised with the results!
1. Use your social media page to interact with your customers.
Many businesses, seeing the usefulness of having an online presence, create a social media pages and groups on sites like Facebook or Twitter…but only use these pages to distribute promotional material or service announcements. It’s rare for a page to interact with its customers, and it is one of the biggest “features” you can add to your company. Customers love being able to rely on having reasonable contact with a business they purchase from and social media is one of the best ways to go about that today.
2. Check up on your social media page regularly.
It’s absolutely necessary to maintain your page once it’s been made. Nobody is going to follow a social media page if there is no activity and especially no sign of presence by the business. Simply put, if you go through the effort of having a social media presence, you need to check on it regularly. Daily if possible. This allows you to answer customer inquiries promptly, deal with negative feedback, and quell spam/troll posts before they blow up and alienate your customer base.
3. Link your customer service department with your social media team.
If you’re a big enough business to have a dedicated customer service representative as well as a social media manager, it might be a good idea to link these two together. Many small businesses make this happen by ensuring that there’s a single person doing both jobs, but you can also make this come about by having both the customer service team and the social media team work together with customer inquiries. They have very similar jobs, only different platforms in which they work. It’s important that the problems or solutions one team grapples with can be easily accessed by the other team.

4. Ensure that your social media team knows what your normal employees know.
There’s nothing worse than being a customer, talking to a business’ employee in their brick-and-mortar store, going online, and then receiving completely different information from the business’ social media manager. Which person is right? You won’t know…until you do some digging. This should never be the responsibility of the customer; indeed, it should be expected that the customer receives the right information on the first try. If your social media team is authorized to comment on your business policies, make sure they actually know what they are in order to avoid confusing and frustrating your customers.
5. Respond to feedback, even if it’s simplistic or without complaint.
Just like how you should actually interact with your customers when they field complaints or ask questions, it’s still important to interact with them even if there’s nothing wrong. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in encouraging customer involvement with your business online. Likewise, if you have a specialized business (such as in the arts and crafts industry), providing suggestions to customers who are venting or otherwise just chatting on your business page can encourage customer loyalty. This leads to our next point…
6. Your social media team should be acquainted with your product.
Have you ever contacted a business’ customer service department or posted a message on their social media profile, and then realize after they respond that the employee doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about? It’s frustrating and it discourages you from ever contacting the business again. Why bother since you know more than them anyways? Make sure that anybody you assign to dealing with your social media pages knows a thing or two about what your business offers. Providing training documentation is an excellent way of ensuring they get brought up to speed quickly.
7. Run social media exclusive contests.
Many businesses post coupons, flyers, and promotional material on their social media pages. Most often, these posts are simply rehashes of what can be found in their actual physical store. One way of encouraging your customers to follow and appreciate your social media presence is to offer an incentive. Online-only coupons, contests, and more can all generate customer involvement that may not ordinarily be present. It’s a quick and easy way of getting a few extra likes and even getting a few more sales.
8. Keep personal opinions quiet.
This is seen far too often. Businesses with an online presence slip up, make a personal statement on their page, and then need to deal with public backlash. This can work out in some cases, but in most it’s seen as distasteful. This can be due to simple unprofessionalism or because the business is picking the wrong time and the wrong place for their owner or employee to get up on their soap box. Generally speaking, it is safe to assume that your customer only want to read material related to your business when they visit your business’ social media pages.
9. Keep an eye on what your customers want…and give it to them
Monitoring what your customers are saying on your social media pages is a no-brainer. You have to do it. What you also have to do, however, is take what they say into consideration when you decide what to change with your social media strategy. If a large portion of your customers are commenting that they want a certain feature or element to be added to their viewing or buying experience, it may be a good idea to implement it. It breeds goodwill with your customers and lets them know that you care about what they think.
Parting Thoughts
If you’re doubting the validity of adopting some better social media practices, just remember the story of Mark Zuckerberg. He wasn’t the first person to create a social media platform. In fact, when his creation of Facebook first entered the scene, the likes of MySpace were still on top. What made his creation so much more successful? There are different answers, but one of the big components is that he listened to his users, changed the site to consistently make it more accessible to others, and ensured that it was built on a model of sustainability. As a result, Facebook saw an exponential success rate, which made Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest I.T. billionaire in world, his current net worth is $42.7 billion dollars.
Those were just 9 ways you could enhance your customers’ social media experience when it comes to interacting with your business. Do you have any more that you feel are worth sharing? Did we get something wrong? Let us know what worked for you, especially if what worked for you happens to be something shared on the list above.