So you have booked a weekend get-away at a boutique hotel. You are excited about it and of course you post on Facebook and Twitter to tell your friends all about it.
When you arrive you are greeted by the front desk manager who hands you a welcome basket of oranges and says, “We heard you like oranges and don’t you love Jason Mraz?” You notice the song, “I’m Yours” playing in the lobby. Are you CREEPED OUT or feeling like a VIP? What if they didn’t say anything but hearing your favorite music playing in the room and finding a wonderful citrus fruit basket on the nightstand, you suddenly felt this hotel was just your style?
Social media and social media marketing allows us to connect and engage with our customers BEFORE they actually engage with us. Some find this creepy and some companies do it so well that the customer is blown away. If you are a realtor and you begin a relationship with potential clients before they are in the market to buy a home, you can learn enough about them to then customize the buying experience (A craft room with a big table for gift wrapping that you know they have dreamed of, or yellow rose bushes like her grandmother’s, planted in the backyard of a home that happens to smell like lavender).
Listening is one of the most powerful things you can do on social media sites. Listen and and see what you can learn. Here are 3 tips to connect with potential customers as you avoid being seen as a CREEPER:
Create a “Potential Client” list on Twitter and add people to this list as you connect and find that they are good leads. Using a monitoring dashboard like Hootsuite, you can create a column that displays the tweets of those in your list to see what they talk about, what interests them and what needs they have that your business can help with.
Engage in conversations, don’t just sit silently jotting down everything they tweet or post (Creeper behavior). If they are talking about going to their favorite play in town, ask about the play after, or ask if they have dinner plans and then mention you have a coupon to a fabulous dinner spot you know of across the street from the theater.
Invite your prospects to try your product, service or business with a special promotion created JUST FOR THEM. Make it exclusive and do something to add a personal touch when they take you up on it. Now that basket of oranges are not so creepy and the Jason Mraz CD would be a nice touch. You just might want to hold off on the birthday card to their mom signed “Carol’s friends.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Is it creepy for brands to connect and engage with individuals on social media sites? Share how your business is doing this or could be using this. Inquiring minds want to know …. I’m jotting down everything you say!
So many social websites, so little time. Yet large enterprises as well as small and medium business owners realize they must use social media to attract new customers and retain current ones. But keeping up with the plethora of social media tasks can be quite the time-consuming effort. It’s no surprise that many businesses are recruiting personnel strictly to help with social media management.
Social media doesn’t just mean posting on Facebook and Twitter all day. As a business owner, marketing efforts must also incorporate writing blogs, posting on message boards, and keeping up with “tweets” and other commentaries from clients.
By using a dedicated social media manager to keep up with social website projects, you will have more time to focus on more urgent matters in the business. Additionally, experienced social media managers can utilize the best strategies for acquiring followers and keeping them engaged with news and information.
It’s important to consider several attributes in recruiting social media management for your business:
The ability to tap into the business. The individual should have the ability to naturally investigate what everyone in the business is working on and how it impacts your customers. Doing so enables them to gather and write information that is engaging to clients.
Be an effective writer. Social media requires a conversational and personal tone to better relate to customers. This facilitates dialogue between the business and customers and even between customers themselves.
Able to keep on top of communications. Since social media requires timely communications, the individual must be able to keep on top of every incoming comment and question with a sense of urgency. Delays in responding to inquiries and comments can shed a bad light on the business.
Understand and respect confidentiality aspects. Since a social media manager must know the ins and outs of the business, they also must know what not to share with the public. Topics related to personnel, vendors, and regulatory issues should be avoided.
An effective social media manager can increase brand awareness and keep customers informed on everyday news of your business. SocialKNX can assist you with your social media projects to improve customer relations in your business. Contact us for more information on how our social media expertise can help your business achieve its goals.
Your business may be open for customers to walk in your door from 8-5, you most likely have a CONTACT US link on your website, and you may even check your email three or four HUNDRED times a day, but what happens when someone asks a question, or worse, throws out a complaint on Twitter at 10pm? When will you see that? 10 hours later when you happen to check Twitter? Too late. That consumer has now taken the emotion they had at 10pm and had it fueled by others in Twitter Town or on Facebook, who have had similar experiences with other brands and they have given this customer suggestions similar to the ones you have had only had in your worst nightmares. Many have heard the nightmare that happened to Motrin when someone had a gripe on a Friday night and it was not addressed until Monday, but if you like scary movies, read about it again here.
This is a very basic 1st step. Google searches the web for your name being used on blogs or other websites. Be sure to set an alert for your name spelled correctly as well as with different variations that customers may use.
Use a Social Dashboard Like Hootsuite (Our personal favorite)
Using a social dashboard such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck or others, you can set up search columns similar to the Google Alerts, and pull tweets that are going out with your name, your competitor’s name, and any variation that you would like to monitor. Remember to search for your business name with and without spaces, without the @ symbol in front, and perhaps misspelled like people may type it.
Be Quick to Apologize!
Some people feel the need to first collect data or ask the complaining person to contact you off-line BEFORE first saying “Im so sorry to hear that you had a less than perfect experience with our brand.” Say that online so others see that you are in action! Like fire mitigation, put the flames out before you start the investigation. If you have someone that needs to be notified before a resolution can be offered, at least apologize quickly and assure the customer you are going to take care of them.
Do NOT worry about deleting the comment from the social site where it was posted just yet.
We constantly advise our clients to solve the problem or address the concern in public where others may have already seen the comment. The conversation string with you addressing the problem can actually turn out to be great for others to see how you handle problems. IF it turns out that it was a misunderstanding and the customer agrees, you can ask if they will delete the comment or allow you to do so. On Twitter it is a bit different. It may have been retweeted already and your goal may have to be for the person to end up posting something favorable about how you handled the situation.
Learn from the situation.
After the fire is out, you and your team should take the feedback and the lessons learned to at least assess how you handled the situation and make any adjustments necessary. Don’t let defensiveness or excuses get in your way of constantly improving. You can be right all the time and be very lonely in business! Learn to provide STELLER customer care on and off-line!
So whether you run a yogurt shop with set hours, a software company serving people around the globe or you manage a hotel that is open around the clock, be sure your social desk is open and you either hire someone to help you manage those off hours, or set up tools to manage using your mobile devices from home. Perhaps you and your team members can rotate being on watch or you can give up sleeping all together! Just tell yourself, “Sleep is over-rated!”
We’d love to hear from you–What situations have you been faced with and how did you manage it on your social sites? What other steps would you add to this list? If you need help managing the task of social media marketing or brand management give us a call, send us an email, tweet me, or close your eyes and sit silently for a moment to send the message to me telepathically!