Social media continues to allow more businesses to tell their story, drive awareness, generate sales, acquire customers, and foster customer loyalty.
But while customer acquisition may be THE goal, social media is equally key at converting those customers into your influencers and brand advocates.
The customer experience that social media delivers is not in the likes and the follower count.
According to columnist Alison Zeringue of Marketing Land, utilizing social media channels as an integral part of your marketing strategy isn’t just about winning followers.
“Use social media to enhance your customers’ experiences with your brand. It’s time to delight.”
To improve CX with social media begins with understanding what social media is and isn’t for your brand.
Social media is not a destination
Instead, it’s the transit point in the customer journey. The blog, the website, the social media channels – all are steps to drive your audience and customers to a purchase decision.
- Where do you want to take your audience?
- What does the customer journey look like?
- Does it acknowledge that your business’s relationship with customers is fluid?
Communicating with your customers is key to their journey. When, where and how they want you to communicate with them are all key components in the customer life cycle.
According to Social Zoom Factor, “…it takes on average 6-7 brand touches before someone will remember your brand. You have less than 10 seconds… for that online visitor to determine if they are going to stick around to learn more about you or bounce right out.”
Your social media account is not your personal advertising agency
While social media is an additional advertising platform, strategize its use as a promotional platform.
People are on social media for many different reasons – like any good marketer knows, knowing the reason determines the approach at any given time.
Using custom audiences and micro-targeting on social media allows you to reach your exact target audience through highly relevant and timely promotions.
Demographics, location, interests, behaviours and other tools on social ad platforms ensure your message only reaches your targeted audience, while building data on lookalike audiences from their online connections.
It is a customer service channel
In her “ 4 Steps to Enhance Customer Experience with Social Media,” Alison Zeringue shared the acronym L.E.A.R.N. for:
This was the recommended template when it came to handling customer complaints, objections or feedback on social media as an always-on opportunity to do better.
Customers will know if you are truly listening, and whether you empathize or not. They will know if you are genuinely sorry, based on tone and voice of your reply.
Don’t make it worse by being impersonal with a templated reply or a chatbot.
How soon you respond and offer a solution is key. Immediate resolution may not be realistic, but updates and acknowledgements of the issue are.
As a customer service channel, social media is not only a complaint drop-box. When your service is appreciated, praised or commended – thank back and share. Not only do you acknowledge the compliment, you also amplify the accolade by doing so.
Tag, retweet, share, or repost a positive comment or message that mention your brand. A thank you to a simple check-in by customers to your store will be appreciated.
A personal example: every time I see my Lifetrons travel power adapter that I use when travelling, I am reminded of my customer experience with Singapore Airlines many years back.
When my in-flight entertainment monitor did not have any audio, the flight attendant accompanied her apology with a $100 gift voucher to purchase anything from their in-flight duty free.
It was not the incentive that made a mark in that CX – it was the mark of great customer service. As a result, a social media post that could have been a rant about a malfunctioning inflight entertainment system was replaced by positive sentiment and recollection.
Social media is a gold mine of data
Social listening strengthens marketing strategies.
Convert customer feedback, even complaints, to insights for product development.
Social conversations around your brand are sources of information about customer interests, preferences, and pain points. Trends are mined from social media to find opportunities to grow your brand.
When a campaign benefits a brand due to customer interaction, give back: make your customers feel valued, and/or collaborate with them.
Brand ambassadors, loyal customers, influencers, and product advocates start from that moment they are recognized.
Social media is your content and community
According to Salesforce, the true advantage of social media — and ultimately your end goal — is to form personal connections with your customers.
These personal connections and relationships are nurtured in a community. And when the sense of community is there, shared experiences become valuable content, which in turn can become user-generated content for your marketing.
Looking at social media trends ahead, Forbes shared that “content marketing is marketing, and the brands that understand content is core to effective marketing.” Social media is both a platform and source for this.
Social media can help your brand build a lasting, meaningful customer experience.
There are limitless ways to engage customers on social media:
- Start conversations
- Create hashtags
- Solve customer problems
- Build a community to bring them closer to you and your brand.
Being authentic, human, and transparent inspires people to connect, engage with you and buy from you.
Your brand is not defined by the mission/vision statement on your website, or what you wrote on your social media profile. You will be defined by the feelings, perceptions and experience of your customer.
As Social Zoom Factor shares, “Your brand is how you show gratitude. It’s how you handle a public online crisis. It’s how you build and nurture community. Customer experience is your brand, period.”
To customers, prospective customers, partners, your community, your peers, thought leaders in your industry and niche, your employees and even competitors and your audience online and offline, what, where and how you communicate, is customer experience.
It’s that customer experience that defines you.