It is a well reknowned fact that social media is an important tool for promoting your brand and customer acquisition. But how exactly do you do this? What is the process that needs to take place for this to happen? Whatever your product or service, there are some universal techniques and tools that can be implemented to ensure you are successfully converting customers at every angle possible.
Start the Search.
In life, just because you are not part of a conversation, it doesn’t mean that the talk isn’t about you – and in social media it is no different. The difference is however, is that using social mediums such as Twitter, you are able to track and search to see what is being said, and respond accordingly. With approximately 340 millions tweets sent every day, chances are, some of these are going to be about you.
There are two ways or approaching the search tactic. First off, finding out what is being said about you. Remember that you might be mentioned, even if your handle isn’t included. A simple search on main page twitter can source any mentions you may have had and what conversations have taken place about you and in what context you have been mentioned:
You can either conduct searches manually, but one of the most effective ways is using a platform such as Tweetdeck, and add a column so all mentions of your brand or certain keywords flash up in one manageable place.
Once you start receiving these notifications, you can start responding accordingly. Get involved in the conversation, offer advice or information – thank people for shout outs and referrals. And of course, address any negative responses and comments with swift and excellent customer service tactics.
Secondly – see what is being said about your competition, there are always angles for marketing your brand. Avoid the hard sale, and go for the more ‘cheeky’ friendly approach when dealing with competition, offering discounts or offers if applicable to your service/product.
Negative reviews are as powerful as the positive when it comes to cross selling. A tweeter once mentioned a estate agent brand by name (who did not use social media) slating their poor service, and was promptly responded to with another agency offering their apologies and can they help instead. Said tweeter switched agencies and sold their property through the competition – which all started from just 140 characters.
Pictures Speak a Thousand Words.
With the uprise of forums like Pinterest and Instagram (which of course, is now owned by Facebook), using pictures to depict your brand are crucial in today’s social circles. Did you know, for example, that pictures drive twice as much engagement on Facebook than text content? Use your imagination. You don’t need to just post images of your products or services, and don’t necessarily need to work in an industry or with a particularly creative edge (fashion and art etc) . Post images that inspire response and engagement, and if you are stuck for ideas – remember its social – get your customers and fans to post images of creative things they have done or can think of. Chances are, they’ll have lots of ideas to share with you. Which leads us nicely to….
There is nothing better to generate buzz around your products and services like a good old fashioned competition.
As above, images and photos can be part of this, and invite potential customers to not only take part, but then vote on the shortlist of entrants for the winner.
Firstly, ensure that fans are able to share the competition to their social network to increase virality. Word of mouth marketing is still one of the most important tools in the social media kit bag. Second – stay true to your brand. Offering a free i-pad when your company provides luxury pet bedding isn’t exactly relevant, and although it might expand your fan base, your key demographic will be filtered out. (Remember, quality, not quantity.) Thirdly, tailor competitions to the network you wish to engage. With Facebook, look at photography, Twitter, clever wordplay and hashtags.
In sales, there is only one thing that is better than new business – and that is repeat business. In the age of social media, customers are behaving in new ways and have all new expectations – the key to loyalty is maximising these to the best of your ability.
One way (as employed by the Hilton group) was to develop a mobile application called “Top Guests” which was essentially, their version of Foursquare for the hospitality industry. It encourages check in’s at each hotel/B&B, and members can give Facebook Friends 25% discounts after doing so.
On-going discounts and online vouchers ‘exclusive’ to your social following are a great way of encouraging return custom, and when rewarding for sharing and retweeting, your followers will do a lot of your marketing work for you – increasing your reach and potential customer base.
We covered elements of this via our “Humanizing your Brand” post, but it still stands as its own entity for maximising customer acquisition and retention here.
Personalising your approach to your customers on the basis of a tweet conversation or a board you have seen on Pinterest will give you extra credit, and make your customers feel special. On a similar note, going that extra mile for those customers that have a complaint, turn then from a detrimental voice into a social advocate.
“Live chats” are another great way of interacting and speaking with your (potential and existing) customer base. Host a talk/questions/posts on Facebook with a resident internal expert, enabling an almost ‘try before you buy’ type feel. In fashion, designers could talk about upcoming trends, a car company with a new technology, a pet store about a certain breed or animal. You already have experts in place (hey, that’s why you’re great at what you do, right?) so use the tools you have to publicize it to the wider community.
[image via piercemattiepublicrelations.com]
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