Social Media can help you to grow your business – by attracting new customers, by strengthening your relationships with your customers, and by getting customers to refer your business to their friends and colleagues. The key to making this happen is to learn how to use Social Media to engage your customers; to have a conversation with your customers; to learn more about your customers’ needs; and to help them to see how your business can satisfy their needs. In this article, we’re going to expand on those engagement tips.
1. Finding your customers
The first thing you need to do before engaging customers via social media is to find them! While most of your customers will probably have profiles on several major sites, odds are they either spend most of their time on one site or use them for different purposes (social vs. professional). Knowing which site (s) they frequent makes it easier to engage them.
The most effective way to know which site your customers come from is closed loop marketing, which is tracking your customers from lead source through customer acquisition. You might think the site that generates the most leads is the best bet, but this isn’t always the case.
If you are unable to close the loop, then you can ask your sales rep to find out from their leads which social media site they use the most. You can also survey your customers if you don’t have a high-touch sales process. Lastly, if all else fails, the general rule of thumb is if you’re B2B, then use LinkedIn. If you’re B2C, use Facebook.
2. Adding Customers to Your Network
After you find your customers, you’ll want to add them to your network, which makes it easier for you to engage them. Unless you have an army of interns that can personally send invites to all your customers, you might want to take a more scalable approach.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to have your sales reps and customer success managers promote a social media account in their email signatures, business cards, etc. If your customers are friends with your employees and your employees share the company blog posts and updates as well as promote your company pages, then it’s easy to reach your customers. Of course, this isn’t always possible, as your employees may be uncomfortable doing this or you may not have 1:1 relationships with your customers.
Some other options are to create your own group and promote it to customers on your website and in product documentation. Just let them know what the group will help them with,such as major news and announcements, strategy guides, customer conversations, feedback, etc. If you don’t want to run a group, then you can always promote your company pages on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Anyone who likes or follows your company will be in your network.
3. Share Great Content
When trying to engage your customers, don’t just share company news or promotions. Make sure you provide valuable content. If you provide content your customers want to read, they’ll keep coming back. You can then work in some marketing messages on occasion, much like a blog.
4. Actively Engage Customers
In addition to sharing content, you also need to engage your customers. If all you do is share content, you’ll still grow your network and you’ll get some readership. However, to really develop customer loyalty, you need to engage your customers so they feel special.
This doesn’t mean sending them messages and posting on their wall like your great friends. However, you do want to communicate with them. If you have a group or forum, don’t just answer questions but try to ask some of your own and generate discussions. Follow your customers and occasionally promote a great blog article they write or re-tweet something they post. Monitor social media in general for any mentions of your business so you can respond.
5. Stick With It
One of the more frustrating things about using social media and content marketing as a way to engage customers is that, more than anything, it takes time. You need to find your customers, get them in your network, engage them, and get them hooked on your content. This doesn’t happen overnight. In the end, the benefits will be well worth it, but you can’t stop a few months in. If you’re not getting results you want, try changing tactics, but don’t stop. If nothing else, think about how your competitors are doing the same thing. So unless you want them having more loyal customers than you, stick with it.