Using social media to connect with your customers
Some think that using social media for your company can be a bit of an impersonal approach to connect with your customers, but when you know how to do it the right way, meaningful connections can be made. Here are a few tips that have helped me successfully build connections on social media with my customers:
Outline and track a plan
Create a social media calendar every month and identify key dates, such as holidays and milestones. Plan to spend at least 30 minutes per week posting to your platforms. And every quarter, set aside one day to create your social content ahead of time. Also, post during strategic times during the day. Research shows that Facebook posts published between 1-4 PM had the best clickthrough and share rates.
Make time to post
Your followers will lose interest if you aren’t consistent. There are so many different social media platforms out there and don’t have to be on every one of them to be successful. Start by picking two and post consistently at least once a week and then expand to others. We started with Facebook and Twitter because they are both easy to set up and we quickly built a strong community of followers.
Create engaging content
Don’t just tell your social media followers about your business. Your followers want to see videos and pictures that capture details about your business and your products and services. They will be far more engaged watching video content and looking at pictures rather than reading something.
Starbucks has 8.9 million Instagram followers and does a great job of posting beautiful photos that make me crave another cup of joe. They also encourage customers to share their own artsy coffee photos, which in turn promotes the company.
Have open dialogue
When you post on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you are opening yourself up to responses from your followers. This not only allows you to get new insights on your followers, but it gives you the opportunity for you to have an honest dialogue with them. Communication is a two-way street and you can establish a healthy, meaningful rapport through social media. You can also ask questions to engage your followers. As a general rule, keep your questions open-ended, positive, relevant to your business, and appealing. Make sure you ask questions that you really want answers to.
Most importantly, be authentic
Businesses use social media to share updates about things happening within the business, information on products and services, and general news related to them and their customers. While this definitely is an important part of developing a social media presence, get in the habit of sharing content that your target audience would enjoy reading or watching. This could include a funny meme or heart-warming video. It can be an inspirational article or informative blog posts. Be authentic with your audience.
Whole Foods is one of my favorite brands to follow on Twitter because they aren’t always “selling” – they are also educating by posting recipes and tips on how to cook better with the food they sell.
Take the time to develop your social media strategy and how you want to connect with your customers. Every business is different and so there’s no step-by-step manual to follow. But, using the tips above, combined with intuition and common sense, can really help you gain traction with your customers. After all, customer engagement helps your brand and is a crucial step towards a sale.