Getting Social with Your Customers

Social media is the new frontier for business. It reminds me of the days when every entrepreneur knew that they had to have a website, but weren’t sure what to do with it. A lot has changed since you started your Fan Page 5 years ago and it’s even gotten a lot easier to actually make money from social media! In this article, I will cover the multiple social networks and which are best for you.

Is Social Media right for my company?

Yes! You already know that your customers use social media so it only makes sense to put your business where they’re already spending a large amount of their time. Social media can be the most cost effective marketing channel when used properly. Social media allows brands and companies to become closer to their customers than ever before. Instead of an “If you build it they will come,” approach, think of social media as a “If you listen, they will come,” mentality. Use your Social Media account as a branding tool, it’s the only “personality” most customers will ever know.

Which Social Media platform should I focus on more heavily?

Every business will have at least one platform that suites its audience best, and some larger brands may utilize multiple ones. It’s always important to have a large digital footprint across many networks, but some should take more of your focus.

Twitter:

WHAT: 140 character limit messages for quick thoughts or announcments
WHO: All brands and companies should use Twitter.
HOW:

  • Use this platform to personify your brand by tweeting updates concerning import topics in your industry or even showing a sense of humor
  • Release details about upcoming products and promotions
  • Respond to customer service issues
  • Surveys and Voting

WHERE:

  • Social Login
  • Post purchase sharing / Share my purchase
  • Blog or news articles
  • Status / Order updates
  • Packaging, Marketing, etc.

Monetizing: Since Twitter is for quick updates, people can make many of them throughout the day. This gives you great odds of having users market your product or brand for free. Give them the opportunity to share every part of their experience. Once you have a strong following, it is best monetized with marketing campaigns that have a clear call to action for your goal.

Facebook:

WHAT: The “professional” image of your brand that listens to feedback
WHO: All brands and companies should use Facebook.
HOW:

  • Use this platform as a more robust about us page. It’s a great way for people to explore the brand personality in depth.
  • Post photos of your products and employees
  • Share new products or ideas for feedback
    Create groups for your customers to connect with each other
    Customer Service replies or announcements

WHERE:

  • Social Login
  • Comments on your website or product
  • Post purchase sharing / Share my purchase
  • Blog or news articles
  • Packaging, Marketing, etc.

Monetizing: Beware of contests or giveaways on Facebook, you will likely be targeted by “professionals” that will never become real customers after they win a prize. Use Facebook to give fans something exclusive such as early access to a product or promotion, special discounts, and an open channel of communication.

Pinterest and Instagram:

WHAT: Visual marketing, sharing photos of inspiring moments. Less calls to actions, mostly mobile users, mostly females under the age of 35.
WHO: Brands with something to show. Lifestyle / customer photographs.
HOW:

  • Showcase beautiful products / lookbooks
  • Tell stories and news visually
  • Share user experiences and customer photos
  • Ideas on product usage

WHERE:

  • Post purchase sharing / Share my purchase
  • Product and Content Images

Monetizing: Integrate real user photos on your website from Pinterest or Instagram for a big increase in conversion rates. Utilizing these networks in your post purchase follow-up will also add an increase in feedback and sharing.

Focusing on these strategies for each platform should provide a long-lasting brand, strong customer community and a great ROI. Always be aware of any other networks that are more applicable to your market, like MySpace for artist, Houzz for interior decorating, Tumblr for bloggers, or YouTube for broadcasters. Remember to run contests that are engaging vs prizes that attract non-buyers. Maximize each channel for its strengths and always address negative feedback. These concepts should help you create a social media strategy that shows a trackable ROI.

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