We’re social media obsessives. Whether we’re documenting our every offline moment online or using it in our professional lives to expand our networks and promote ourselves. You simply can’t escape the social world for love nor money, and with a recent survey by We Are Social finding there are 2.3 billion active social media users worldwide (a 10% increase on the previous year) it seems social platforms are still on a stratospheric rise.
It’s easy to dismiss social media as simply another marketing platform to include in your strategy, but actually it’s far more than that. It’s a gateway to connecting and engaging with consumers. And consumers are the bread and butter of your business. They are the ones spending the money, using your services and hopefully – if you’re nailing all of that – coming back again.
We’ve found the 5 steps you should be taking to keep customers on your side…
Listen to customers
You could be sending out all the marketing messages in the world, but if you aren’t listening to your customers how do you know that’s what they want to see online? I’m not suggesting you go out there and start to ask everyone individually what they think of your social strategy but don’t neglect what they’re saying when they do provide feedback.
Find out what people are talking about outside of your business – can you tap into it? If so that’s great, but don’t deviate too far away from your brand that it compromises what you really stand for.
As I’ve just mentioned above social media is one of the best ways to engage with customers and find out what they’re really thinking, but it also allows you to manage their expectations of you as a business. If customers provide feedback don’t ignore it – a negative comment can seriously damage your brand so make sure you have a strategy in place to counteract bad press.
Encouraging open communication is fine, but learn how to deal with it in a way that you aren’t left putting all your efforts into one area and neglecting the core of your business. Customers are more engaged and savvy than ever before, but it’s up to you as the business to manage customer expectations to ensure that they don’t go elsewhere.
Don’t repost content
Scheduling tools make it super easy to get content planned in ahead of time and across a range of channels, but don’t make the pitfall of using the same post across all your social platforms. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on Facebook. Not to mention that it’s pretty boring too.
You want customers to have a reason to follow you on different platforms and reposting the same content won’t have the desired effect. Use exclusive incentives on different channels to add diversity to your social campaign. For example, offer a discount or promotion on Twitter and direct users over from your other platforms in order to be able to redeem the same offer. Not only will it boost sales, but your following will also increase too.
Consider your customer base
If we’re all honest we probably don’t like the idea of being marketed too. Marketing campaigns are incredible, but if you stripped it back and someone was saying to you ‘I’m going to show you this which effectively forces you into buying something’ you probably wouldn’t.
So don’t treat your social media platforms as a place to churn out sales links and products continually and keep in mind some business social media practices. Yes, it’s okay every now and then but don’t set your core strategy around sales. Look at the industry you’re in and consider what else is out there in the wider business sense. Consumers don’t always follow people on social media that they want to purchase from initially. It may be because they are the experts, have the insider knowledge or offer helpful content. All of which help to boost sales later down the line.
If you aren’t looking at the number or measuring your success then how are you really keeping a tab on what you’re doing? Your success is based on growing your customer retention, so don’t put in a whole load of effort if you aren’t going to bother tracking the results.
Look at how social media has impacted your customer base and link it with your CRM system to truly see the results. How do your social media campaigns and sales correlate? What converts someone from social media through to a sale? What kind of feedback do you get from customers on social media?
Social media isn’t a walk in the park. It requires a whole lot of dedication, but focusing your efforts on the social stuff can help to keep your customer retention targets on track.
Emily Jarvis is a former business consultant, she is currently working as a freelance writer sharing her expert advice and tips within the business industry.