I recently read the Gallup State of American Consumer Report and had to swallow the truth about social media.
The hard truth is that social media alone does not influence customers, company-sponsored Facebook or Twitter pages have almost no persuasive power. In fact, social media is not the game changing “phenomenon” it was once thought.
Before you start firing your hard working social team, there is a solution!
Consumers are more likely to turn to friends, family and experts for advice on a company. To combat this, companies MUST turn to customer engagement. The focus here is to create strong, trusting relationships with current followers who in the end will turn into brand ambassadors.
We’ve all heard of brand ambassadors, the loyal. These people are much more now. They have morphed into the gems of influence on social media. Brand ambassadors can make or break a company. They hold the influence.
Brand Ambassadors. Hold. The. Influence.
It is your job to develop and nurture these relationships. If you are still focusing on sales and growth through social media, it’s time to change. Customer engagement should be at the center of your social media strategy. The majority of customer loyalty is based on emotional factors. Customers will put more into their relationship with you if they feel like you are giving them more in return.
This is a 24/7 Gig
Social media doesn’t go to sleep at night or take the weekends off. Consumers expect a timely response. No more than two days should pass between response times. Consumers are busy, if they don’t hear back from you in a timely manner, they will move on and bet your bottom dollar they will let everyone know!
Consumers Are Allowed to Be Picky… NOT You
In conjunction with a timely response, actively listen to what consumers are saying and respond to everyone. Yes… even the negative comments. Responding to the negative shows everyone that you care. Remember, customers are driven by emotion, if you can tap into them you will reap their sweet rewards. Also important here is being able to own your mistakes. If you messed up, say so. Fix the error and move on. The issue won’t go away if you ignore it.
You Are a Human, Act Like One
Ready for it…consumers know they are dealing with a living, breathing person! Shocking isn’t it? People want to interact with the person not the brand. Yes, I know you are supposed to be the face behind the brand but if you are not authentic you will fail. Hard selling does not work on social media, period. Instead, focus on creating more open dialogue and actively engage.
Customers have the keys and are driving their own social media experience. If you want to be seen, you have to create compelling content that will catch their attention. The majority of people who like business pages on Facebook never return, your goal is to get them coming back for more. Your content should be original and not related to sales or marketing. Roll up your sleeves because you are going to have to experiment a lot.
Consumers are on social media because they want to be involved in a larger conversation. If you want to be apart of that conversation, it’s time to shift your initiatives.
How do you engage your audience on social media?
Follow Stacy on Twitter @WTWH_Stacy