When companies take the time to listen to and understand the needs of an audience on social media, they can use the information they gain to create a presence on social media that resonate with customers and boost their revenue. For example, businesses such as Kraft/Toblerone and Blendtec increased sales from 132% to 700% through the use of clever social media marketing.
Organizations that are new to social media often make the error of using their social media sites as a one-way advertising channel. Their sites broadcast new company developments, company awards, new hires or similar information about themselves, which may or may not be of interest to an audience of current and potential customers.
In social media, however, it is essential to encourage social conversation between the company and the audience. Through Facebook comments, Twitter tweets, blog comments and other methods of reacting to social media postings, customers provide valuable and free insight into the effectiveness of a company’s products and services.
The comments from customers on social media sites must be carefully managed by social media coordinators and managers, since these comments are usually a mixture of positive and negative comments. If a customer posts a negative view of a company’s product or service, that customer should have a sympathetic response from that business as soon as possible. By responding quickly and refraining from completely ignoring a customer service problem or customer input, a company’s global image as a caring and trustworthy organization to customers is greatly enhanced in customers’ minds.
Customer comments frequently offer important clues about the content that customers prefer to see on a company’s social media sites. Ideally, an organization should put content onto social media sites that audience members feel is worthy of sharing with their friends, coworkers and relatives. The content can be created in different forms: informative blog posts, “how-to” or entertaining videos, webinars or Twitter links to educational articles.
When audiences share the content created for their benefit, a company has a greater chance of acquiring sales leads who can then be developed into active customers. According to a recent Nielsen report, “word of mouth” peer recommendations are the most influential and trusted method of advertising, and potential customers who see your shareable content passed to them by a trusted source may choose to investigate your company’s website to make purchases.
In addition to handling the content of their own social media sites, companies should frequently monitor the Internet for additional messages posted about themselves. Customer review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List can positively influence or drive away potential customers, and online articles about a company also necessitate a quick response to ensure that a company retains a positive public image.
By reacting to customers’ needs and responding quickly to both internal and external messages, it is easier for a business to attract new sales prospects and retain current customers. This process requires employees to be vigilant on a daily basis, but the company’s global image will become more powerful as a result.