It's always going to be easier to get to know and build relationships with your customers when they are actually in your store. But with more and more of your business transactions happening online, your opportunities to interact with customers in-person are declining. So how can you utilize social media to improve your customer relations and put some personalization into your online conversations? Well this post from Buffer covers just that. We've included an excerpt from that post below, but we would encourage you to read the entire article and get the full message.
Listen more than you talk
Too many businesses see social media as another opportunity for broadcasting. Social media is even more powerful when you spend your time listening. Social networks provide so many opportunities to listen to your customers and gain personal insight that will help your business succeed.
Take geo searches for examples. Geo searches allow you to listen to regional or location based conversations. This helps businesses find out what people really think about them, even if they’re not mentioned directly in the Tweet.
With locations on multiple continents, Five Guys restaurant uses geo search to monitor specific conversations in specific locations, so they don’t miss anything important. By first setting up a good listening strategy, and then breaking it down by location, the Five Guys team has been able to gain deeper understanding into what is working and what’s missing the mark across their global markets, as well as sentiment around individual campaigns or initiatives.
When they opened the first Five Guys location in the UK, they used Hootsuite to monitor people’s discussions about the restaurant within a certain mile radius of the city of London. They also reached out to individuals directly and let them know they were opening.
Geosearch helped Five Guys find both positive and negative feedback from customers, and engage with them on a more personal level.
To better connect with your customers, create a social listening strategy. This should involve:
- Tracking your mentions and any mentions of your product, including misspellings
- Saving search streams and hashtag streams in your Hootsuite dashboard
- Preparing and listening for opportunities to engage clients in real-time
- Responding to all feedback and comments, even the negative stuff
Tell their stories
One of the easiest ways to strengthen your relationship with clients is to tell their stories. Businesses should be striving to make their customers the hero of their brand story, not themselves. Sharing customer stories or user-generated content is one of the most effective ways to achieve that.
You should always be encouraging clients to share their successes with your product or service. Acknowledge their stories and share them with other clients. This kind of recognition shows them you appreciate their business and their contributions to your online community. It also encourages other customers to share their own stories, creating a cycle of community building on social media.
We use this technique at Hootsuite, not only to share the successes of customers but also to provide learning opportunities. Take our success story with the Universitat de Valencia. This Spanish university created a fantastic multi-level social media strategy designed to make it easy for students to reach out with questions, as well as find information to help them on their student journey. Talking with the university about their experience taught us so much about how clients are finding innovative ways to use Hootsuite. Sharing their story provides countless other organizations with insight that will help them succeed in their own social efforts.