There is so much buzz around the uses and benefits of social media today that everyone is doing it; but are they doing it right?
DreamGrow recently announced the Top 10 US Social Media sites, which showed huge gains for YouTube and LinkedIn and falls for Facebook and Twitter. Whilst these results are for the USA, when was the last time you looked at the latest statistics of the usage in your own market?
If your customers have changed their habits, then wouldn’t it make sense for you to do the same?
With that in mind, I came up with four steps to consider, for the continued improvement of your business from br and-centered to a more customer-centric one.
The success of most businesses depends upon building lasting relationships with their customers. Show them that you really value them; Connect regularly with them; Satisfy their needs and excite them with solutions to their problems. Social media is taking over many aspects of this from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) by offering more people more ways to voice their opinion, good or bad, about the products and services they have tried.
Here are four things to review when improving your customer centric use of social media:
#1 Define the fit with your marketing & communication plans
Review all the current forms of connection you have with your customers. Think about the direct contact via call centres, CRM activities, promotions, sponsorship events and websites, or indirect through retailers, advertising and market research. Then think about how social media platforms can be effectively integrated to better engage with your customers to complement these connections.
Platforms like Facebook or Twitter may offer fast and personal ways to get closer to your customers, but they do not have the same impact as your other forms of connection. Therefore identify precise roles for each media within your plan, and don’t add social media just because everyone is talking about it today.
#2 Identify where to engage with your target audience
Next choose the most appropriate platform(s) for your target audience. Do they spend most time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube or another social platform? When did you last update the numbers? Have their habits changed? Continue to share valuable content via different social media channels and monitor the results. Which channels generate the most engagement with the content you share? Don’t expect your own br and websites to attract your customers without engagement on social platforms.
A leading CPG company which will remain anonymous but for which I have worked, found that more than two-thirds of their br and pages were being visited by less than 20 people per month! With Alexa, Google analytics and many other measurement sites available, there is no reason to continue to support sites that don’t deliver. Be ruthless and scrap those that don’t meet objectives. (you did set their objectives when you set them up, didn’t you?!)
#3 Listen to what they want to hear
Every connection you make with your customers provides an opportunity for you to also ask questions or provide information back to them. This is particularly true with social media, where more people are likely to complain or ask questions than elsewhere, at least in developed markets. Although you may not like hearing negative comments about your products and services, it is better to find out and correct the issues quickly, than to discover the problem through falling sales.
To attract your customers to engage with you in social media, there has to be something in it for them. Therefore it is essential to ask yourself “what do they want to hear?” rather than “what do we want to tell them”.
#4 Discover when they are most engaged in social media
Social media provides virtually instantaneous contact with your customers, which means that you must always be open and ready to respond; they certainly expect it! (no you can’t continue to offer a 9-5, five days a week service – if in fact you ever really could!)
In addition, you need to discover what time of day your customers are most engaged in social media. That is when you will be posting and publishing your valuable information and suggestions. If you are doing business on a global scale, you’ll need different teams for each region. Gather smart data on a global and local scale to learn which parts of the day best support your engagement and customer centric approach.
These are a few ideas I came up with on adapting and using social media in your marketing and communications strategy. What other points are important to remember? Please share your thoughts and ideas below.
If you would like to know more about connecting with your target customers, then please check out our website at: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage
Need help in better using social media? Then let us help you catalyze your customer centricity; contact us here
This post has been adapted and updated from one first published in July 2011 on MirrorYourself “The Social Media Coach to Launch Your Business”