Social media empowers companies to reach more customers than ever with limitless potential for delivering great customer service and building a loyal customer base. Yet, it's not enough to simply be present on social media-how brands use these channels is key to maximizing their effect. How can a brand take a strategic approach toward engaging customers on social media?
Initiate a conversation. When customers leave comments on social media that bear potential for a conversation-expressing their satisfaction with a product, for example-customer service agents should take the opportunity to reach out not only to thank them for their support but to engage with them. What exactly did they like best? Have they noticed other products or services the company offers? Or simply, tell the customer that people like them are valuable to the company. Giving customer service a human touch is gratifying for customers, and engaging in conversation often yields further positive comments and retweets on social media which amplify a positive brand image and keep customers coming back for more.
Keep customers informed with brand content. Customers will want to know what interesting things are going on with a brand. If a company is involved in charitable work, this should be shared on social media. Are there special discounts? Keep the customers informed. What about new products or services? Sharing essential content reflecting the brand's products and culture are critical to giving customers a holistic view of what the brand stands for while keeping them engaged.
Share industry content. In addition to brand content, it's important to post external content from other sources than your brand to better inform and inspire your customers. Keeping them posted about industry trends with news articles or consumer reports, sharing interesting photos or videos, and sharing links to blogs are all great ways to show customers that your brand is not too self-focused and genuinely interested in sharing the best content with them for meaningful customer experiences.
Deliver great customer service. Customers are increasingly turning to social media for customer service. J.D. Power and Associates found that 67% of consumers have used a company's social media sites for customer service. What's more, Gartner found that failure to respond to customers via social media channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for current customers. What this means is that agents need to be efficient and never ignore customer service requests on these channels. Social media moves fast, and customers expect quick responses. If an issue needs more in-depth support, agents should also be ready to move the customer to another channel when necessary. In any case, social media should never be underestimated as a prime channel for customer service.
Involve your customers. Many companies have garnered great success with marketing campaigns that involve customer ideas. Asking for customers to vote for a favorite product, for example, shows that your brand values their opinions and takes the customer experience seriously when coming up with new products or services. If your brand is unable to involve customers on that level, at the very least their opinions should always be welcome on social media. Reach out to customers for suggestions on what could be improved, and welcome customers to share their favorite aspects of your brand on social media through text, photos, and videos.