With social media users exceeding a whopping two billion worldwide last August, according to wearesocial.net, it is clear to see that businesses utilising their social media channels are already winning and a step ahead of the competition neglecting social fans.
So, with this in mind, social is all about interaction, so if you are not sparking conversations with your followers or bringing in new acquisitions via social media, below are a few ways that you can begin to get to know your customer online.
1. Ask a question
Now, this may sound obvious, but I can assure you that there will be a number of branded social accounts out there that merely churn out new blog post notifications and are rarely used for little else.
If you were to look up ‘social media’ in the Oxford Dictionary, you would be met with this definition:
Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking
So, if you are only adopting the first half of this equation, then you are failing to take full advantage of what social media has to offer by not ‘participating’ in discussions and creating networking (or new customer) opportunities.
One simple way to start a conversation with your existing or potential customer base is to ask a question, no matter however trivial this is, it could even be to ask if they hate Monday mornings just as much as you do! Go on, try Tweeting a question today and see what response you get?
2. Make it Visual
With many people preferring to engage with a photograph over written text, it is easy to see why Instagram and Pinterest have taken off as popular social networks. In December 2014 Instagram announced that they had hit over 300 million users, sharing more than 70 million photos per day, which ain’t half bad growth in the past four years!
Where you can, try to incorporate a visual element to your social posts, either by attaching a picture or a good old GIF to a Tweet or Facebook post – who doesn’t love a good GIF? I know I do!
3. Keep Customers Happy
With many people now taking to their social media accounts to Tweet or mention a product they love or a service that they are not satisfied with, social media can be looked to as a real-time customer satisfaction survey and a great tool for reputation management; think of it as a free source of market research.
So, the next time a customer posts on social media about your services why not respond to them and spark a conversation or give them a re-tweet, which is something I am sure they will appreciate – actually acknowledging their opinion.
If this happens to be a negative comment, try to get to the bottom of the reason why they are unhappy and see what you can do to help the situation. Remember to stay polite and bear in mind the phrase ‘the customer is always right’, even though I know that this can be testing at times. At the end of the day, trust is a big part of brand loyalty, so if customers can trust your business to solve any problems or errors, it will instil more confidence in your brand and help to retain your customer base.
4. Let the customer decide
Are you looking to run a new promotion but can’t decide what offer to give your customer. Why not put the power into their hands?
Another way to spark a conversation and gain some social interaction is by offering your social media followers a choice of products or services to gain a discount or offer on. For example, if you are a clothes retailer, you could ask customers to vote between three different dresses as to which item they would like to receive a 50% discount on the next day – the highest poll wins!
As well as starting an interaction with your customers, this may also help to increase revenue on product offers as you can see which items your target audience would be more likely to buy during this period.
5. Competition Time
Who doesn’t love a freebie?
From an SMO perspective, giving away a free product or service in return for a plethora of social account follows, Shares, Pins, Re-grams and Re-tweets seems like a fair exchange to me. Competitions get your audience talking about your brand and promoting you via their private social media channels, thus causing your follower count to increase – especially if an entry requirement is to be following you’re said social media accounts, which personally, seems like a no-brainer and also works as a great link bait technique.