Yes, Social Media is the ‘next hot thing’ for your company. However, like any other marketing strategy, it must be capable of bringing in customers, and you must be able to measure its effectiveness. Check out this Forbes article on social media and customer service.
Don’t get fooled into thinking that web traffic ‘likes and followers’ will bring you in customers. Popularity and being liked is one thing, being trustworthy and believable is another thing. Both are at the base of bringing in customers. I’m talking about your ability to influence someone’s decision-making process. In order for a customer to want to buy from you, you must be trustworthy and believable. All of these things—web traffic, followers and likes to have nothing to do with your ability to build a connection to the customer.
Building connections falls within the realm of customer service. Knowing your customer also falls under customer service. If you don’t take care of your customers, Facebook will not save you.
Social media is not a panacea for your company. If you’re going to have an effective strategy, you must have one person who is focused on building your social media campaign.
The purpose of social media is not to send out advertisements. Its purpose is to provide a place for you to connect with the customer. Connecting and building relationships is a skill; if you’re not good at this is your brick and mortar role, it’s unlikely you will be effective at social media. This is why I tell business owners that anyone, including your 14-year-old nephew can build a Facebook page, but can he build a marketing strategy. Your company must be presenting more than a page for people to connect with.
You need to tie your marketing and social media strategies together. Determine how you will integrate your social media strategies and your landing pages. It can be a special offer that must be redeemed in 24 hours or something similar. Restaurants, including my personal favorite, Buca di Beppo, do this regularly.I received an offer for a free dessert on my birthday and the coupon had to be redeemed within one day.
Once you have an offer, create a landing tied to the offer so you can tell how many people have downloaded your coupon. This way, you’ll know if anyone is taking you up on your offer. Isolating the effects of Facebook or Twitter, for example, on a landing page optimized for the audience your company has on these social-networking sites will quickly tell you if you are converting clicks to prospects.
Decide which social media strategies are best for your company and your goals. Twitter is quickly paced and provides a way to do direct messaging. Facebook’s fan pages are for companies that want to show their human side to the customer. If you’re a customer service based company, Facebook gives you a place to connect with your customers. It also works well for those who have a strong following. You will have to determine which one works best for you.
Google Analytics can get you real-time results of strategies using social media. Once you’ve decided which platform to use, it’s time to measure the results. Google Analytics is a free service that will measure your landing-page performance.
None of these strategies will be effective unless you add content to your site. You must continue to write blogs, offer timely advice or anything that is valuable to your customer. Not sure what they want to hear, then ask them. Paying it forward has never been more important.
Try various strategies to see if your campaigns are leading to conversions. Remember, connect with and talking with your customers is customer service. It’s important to know if what you’re doing to connect is making a difference. If it doesn’t matter to the customer why bother to do it?
Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through social media marketing and customer service training. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service, can be purchased through her web site. www.Lisbethcalandrino.com.