How does social media marketing win new customers?
Social media has become an important part of building a digital communication strategy. It can be an effective tool to increase brand engagement and win new customers. It is dynamic and in constant change, which is why understanding how people interact with your brand can be very helpful. For this reason, customer service across social media outlets can be really important for your brand.
Why? Social media is critical to development of customer loyalty and retention. People like to be aware of businesses and that means following and engaging with them online. Social media enables users to create, share and engage with content online. Having your brand present on social platforms gives people the ability to connect with your brand.
People now seek reviews online, crowd sourcing recommendations on their Facebook status and online social groups to access the information they want. More than ever, Millennials, baby boomers and Gen Xers are turning to peers for recommendations on brands, products and services.
As a business, this means if you have a loyal customer, not only are they likely to keep coming back to you, they are likely to spread that information out on social media when the time is right.
But what happens if someone is not satisfied with your business? It means that customers can air their concerns online for the online world to see. Just think of a few national brands that have dealt with this. Unfortunately, if you have enough dissatisfied individuals posting online, new customers will take notice and be less likely to engage with your business. We live in a world where competition has become plentiful, so getting your social media strategy right can definitely pay off.
Best practices are critical for any business to establish, and this includes social media customer service. While some people feel they can hide and are relatively anonymous when interacting with people online, that totally breaks down when people interact with a brand or company online. This means no matter what someone says, respond to them. Not only do people expect a response, they expect it within a realistic time period and they expect it to be personal.
Remember, most people want to be heard and to feel like they have a voice. Thank people for their feedback whether it is good or bad, address their specific point and if needed offer them some type of resolution, even if it is just a request for them to patronize your business again so you can show them a different experience.
It is also important to have a presence across social media. Be candid; having a presence that is current and an accurate representation of your business is huge.
Encourage your customers to “get social” with your brand. Some strategies for this include inviting people you know to like your page, asking existing customers to like, review and share your page. It also means engaging with the community. This could include sharing interesting and relevant news, tagging a local charity you work with in a post or mentioning another brand you collaborate with. Also, be personable. Finding your brand’s voice can take some time, but people like it when brands have personality. The balance is tricky because your voice can’t be too funny or too promotional and needs to remain applicable for your audience.
There are a lot of national brands that use social media really well. Take Under Armor, for example, they do a great job with their voice. They understand that their customers are very motivated and fitness minded. Their Instagram features a mix of fan photos as well as professional athletes.
Another example is Starbucks. They engage well with their customers. They take the Pumpkin Spice Latte and turn it into a social conversation. Users tag a friend in a post about the drink and Starbucks responds, appropriately, inviting them the come have coffee.
So, what does all this mean for the impact of social media marketing and winning new customers?
It means that it is a lot more than “likes.” It leads to real website conversion, it is recommendations from loyal customers to their network of people and the ripple effect continues from there.
Yes, growth in followers and likes helps to reach more people, but social media outlets offer additional metrics so your brand may track a specific metric based on your goal. By implementing a presence on social media, providing customer service and engaging in some level of marketing the brand loyalty will follow.
Brook Bentley is the social media and content manager for Sierra Nevada Media Group, which publishes the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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