Social media is the most accessible and universally used communication method available to modern businesses. Regardless of who your product or service is aimed at, you can find your target audience on at least one platform.
In addition to finding new leads, social media offers a flexible and immediate way to interact with existing customers and promote your brand identity.
1. Minimal time and money investment
It costs nothing to create an account and start posting, and only takes a few hours a week to build and maintain a follower base. The frequency with which you should post depends on the platforms you are using. This can range from one or two posts a day on Facebook or Instagram, to as many as 30 or more on Twitter. You should also think about what times you post on each platform.
By creating content that is highly shareable, your page can continue to bring in new visitors passively as your users repost to their friends. The type of posts that generate this activity will depend on your business and audience. There are a few tactics that almost any organization can apply however.
One of the simplest ways to get people sharing your content is to reward them for it. Asking your audience to share a post or tag their friends and giving a reward to the top sharers is certainly a direct approach, but it works.
There are more subtle ways to get your content reposted however. Any post that sparks conversation or debate in the comments section is great. In addition to engaging your existing customers, others can see their activity on your page and check it out themselves. For example, Pizza Hut recently posted this:
Simple questions like this have users debating and tagging their friends in the comments as well as thinking about other strange food combinations they might like to order at Pizza Hut.
2. Access to a wide audience
Social media gives you access to potential customers from all demographics. Furthermore, social media platforms are designed to introduce users to new content within their interests. Accordingly, this provides an opportunity to create new leads by targeting the pages and communities your target audience may visit.
If you’ve done your research, you’ll have a good idea which brands and communities your ideal clients might follow on social media. Tagging these pages in your posts is an easy way to reach existing audiences. Remember that both the pages you tag and their followers can block your posts however. Make sure your posts are relevant to their audience and benefit the pages you tag.
In this post, natural drinks company Califia Farms share and tag a healthy food influencer, which is a great example of tagging an appropriate, relevant page. Califia Farms’ customers are likely to be interested in posts about healthy food recipes, and many of Lindsey’s followers might want natural plant-based drinks.
In addition to tagging other pages, simply sharing their posts and content can increase awareness of your brand in their audience. Doing this also encourages pages to start sharing your content in return. Don’t just tag every business you can think of however, focus on brands that can actually benefit from the size of your audience. A page with millions of active users does not need to share or tag a page with only a few hundred.
3. Improved customer service
Social media lets your customer service be more accessible to your customers and respond faster to queries and complaints.
Enabling customers to contact you via social media or SMS chats for information and issue resolution is more convenient than using email or your support website. This is helpful for mobile users, as opening the social media app or text message is easier than finding and logging into your support site.
Furthermore, many of your customer service interactions will take place publicly, where the quality of your customer support is visible and can build trust with potential customers. Customers who engage with brands on social media share their positive experiences on average with three times as many people as other customers.
This is a double-edged sword however as your negative interactions can also be public. When these situations arise, try to acknowledge the issue and move the conversation to a more private and personal channel such as direct messages or a phone call.
Private messages on social media also allow your visitors to start and continue their query at convenient times, rather than needing to contact during working hours. Instead people can stay updated just by checking their social media in their free moments, as many do anyway. This saves time for your team as well as your customers, as they can talk to other visitors while waiting for responses.
When users report more minor issues such as small bugs or errors with your service, don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Adding a little humor to the situation can help to relieve any frustration, and lets you show some personality. Use your judgment here though, as you don’t want to appear to be taking serious complaints too lightly.
This response from Skyscanner to a glitch on their site is great for a number of reasons. In addition to showing some personality and a sense of humor, the post does acknowledge and address the problem. Additionally the post actually contains some real travel tips for visiting Bangkok, which could motivate a few customers to book their next trip.
4. Customer feedback
Faster and more accessible communication with customers also improves your ability to collect feedback.
Simple public polls are easy to create and can give you valuable insight into your visitors’ needs and lifestyle, as well as driving engagement on your page. On top of the built-in review systems some platforms such as Facebook provide for businesses, social media lets you share survey and feedback links. Survey emails often end up in the junk folder never to be seen by the recipient, whereas on social media the link appears in the user’s feed as any other post would.
In many instances however you don’t even have to ask; customers will simply comment their compliments and complaints on your latest posts. While not as convenient as a survey or poll that provides easily quantifiable data, the feedback you receive here is important. Positively or negatively, visitors feel strongly enough about these issues that they are bringing them to you unprompted. That can tell you a lot about which products and business practices to build on and advertise, and which to improve or drop altogether.
5. Build your brand identity
Social media lets you interact informally with visitors and other businesses, in public. This makes it a perfect environment to build your brand’s personality and share your values as a business.
Building a strong brand identity on social media requires a consistent style and tone across all platforms. Whether your identity is fun or serious, entertaining or educational, regularly review your output to ensure you are presenting a consistent personality. If your social media is managed by a large team it can be helpful to create posting guidelines to standardize the style of your content.
Posts and videos about your business’ goals and the direction you want to move in the future. This helps long-term customers feel more invested in your brand’s journey and success. Featuring great content from users about your brand can help make your business feel more human and personal.
For example, this post from Graze UK helps the business be relatable and empathetic while giving exposure to the creator:
Social media provides access to a huge audience who will actively seek out your content and brand, and promote it to their friends and followers. Because of this, it is also one of the best opportunities to interact with users in a personal way while continually affirming your brand image.
Connecting with customers on social media has a huge number of benefits, and whether you are improving your social media presence or building from scratch, all it costs to get started is a little bit of time.