Many people are interacting with businesses directly through social media. They can comment on a post or page, leave a private message, write a review. It’s important to respond right away. Not responding is equivalent to not answering someone's phone call.
And being responsive is just part of customer service. Engagement it also important and can help you:
- Increase your online exposure
- Establish credibility
- Build brand awareness
- Help you learn about your customers (such as their demographic and knowing them on a personal level)
- Build customer loyalty
- Keep people in the loop
- And improve your sales
Studies have shown that 8 of 10 small businesses use social media to drive growth. That's because social media engagement gets results. 46% of web users look to social media when making a purchase and a whopping 70% of business say they’ve acquired customers through Facebook.
What are some ways to keep people engaged through social media?
There are plenty of ways to get conversations going on social media. You can ask your customers questions. It doesn’t necessarily have to directly relate to your business, it could be something as casual as "what's your favourite holiday food?"
Also, get customers to mention your product, link to your page, and share your post. Maybe create a photo contest or other promotion that encourages sharing on social media. For example, if you are a restaurant, you can ask customers to post photos of their meal or check-in to your location for a small discount.
An example of a great social media campaign is Bell Let’s Talk, to help raise awareness on mental illness and the associated stigma. In 2014, they raised $5,472,586 and, in 2015, the hashtag #BellLetsTalk was a number one trend on Twitter (in Canada and worldwide) with a total of 4,775,708 tweets made.
Sounds impressive, eh?
The great thing about social media is that businesses of any size can benefit from it and create an inexpensive campaign.
And, don’t forget to sound human.
One of the reasons Bell has been successful is by keeping the topic relevant, personal, and engaging---using messages such as “join the conversation”. It's important to have a human element in your social media posts and responses. A study shows that auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. So, be sure to provide a customized response for each comment. Address your customers by name as starters.
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