Going All-In on Engaging the Social Customer to Attract and Land New Business.
Social media is the newest “it” thing for online marketing, throwing a whole new spin on integrated marketing campaigns. When some people think of social media, they think of people posting their breakfast and vacation photos on Facebook and sending love notes to celebrities on Twitter, but there is so much more value businesses get from just listening to conversations online.
I started working with social media in the health and medical fields in 2008, and that’s where I learned the value of building quality relationships – people trusted me with personal information and looked for guidance to improve their health, and that’s not something that should be taken lightly. Social media, business or personal, isn’t different from any other relationship – you build upon trust and integrity, and customers trust you with their needs. Yes, it’s important to brand your pages and post about your latest sales and marketing campaigns, but it’s more important to be the business people look to when they have needs.
As a business, who are you talking to when you engage with people on social media? Are you a business, a community member or a friend? We’re years into the social media era now and many businesses still don’t understand how to invest in social media – not just money, but time and attention. Do you know who frequents your business, who normally engages with you online, and who your tried and true loyal customers are?
Zankou Chicken is the perfect example of a business that cares, online and offline. It’s important to them that every comment is addressed, whether that means a timely response or even just a “Like” on someone’s comment or photo. When suggestions are made, customers are thanked. When customers complain, management is contacted to make things right. Customers talk to the page as if they’re talking to family or friends because that’s the tone the business set for the page — everyone is family, everyone is welcome, and everyone’s concerns are important. People don’t like to go where they’re not taken care of, and if their issues aren’t addressed, why would they want to come back? Here are some ways to engage with customers, get a return visit, and maybe even new customers:
- Pay attention to customers who consistently check-in and tag you. These customers are bringing attention to your business and their followers could be your next new customers.
- Engage customers while they’re in the restaurant. If they check-in for lunch, greet them and thank them for coming in. This dialog makes them feel welcome and acknowledged for spending their hard-earned money when they could’ve gone anywhere else.
- Pay attention to the details: note the customer who just had an anniversary date night, the customer who left a positive review because of your great cashier, or the customer who comes in with their mother every Sunday and orders the #16 combo. When customers know that you’re listening and that you truly care, others will see it and naturally gravitate towards you because everyone likes the “home” feeling.
- Engage customers, even when they’re not with you. Follow customers on Twitter and watch their lives unfold. Ask them about their bad day, congratulate them on their son’s good grades, comment on photos they post – build a quality relationship they can value. Next time they crave chicken, need their car fixed, or whatever your business offers, they’ll think of you first.
So next time you decide to engage with customers online, ask yourself: How am I treating my customers? Do they feel comfortable talking to me? Am I meeting their needs? If not, it’s time to change the tone and it’s time to start listening – quality relationships with your social customers will grow your business organically.
For more information about engaging your social audience, visit www.Dreamentia.com.