Don’t neglect this golden opportunity to connect with customers and win mind and market share.
Is social media central to your business development strategy, or something you squeeze into your schedule, as and when? For many hard pressed small and medium business owners, it’s the latter. Yes, they know it’s important but, all too often, there are more urgent fires to fight. Sporadic and disjointed postings on various platforms, and a standard of online responsiveness that fluctuates significantly tend to be the end results.
Nodding along at this point? We get it and we know you’ll get to it, as soon as time permits.
The problem with this ad hoc approach to social media is that you’re missing a very big opportunity – to build stronger bonds with your customers, via online customer experiences that surprise and delight them.
Stuck on social
Today, it’s hard to overstate the importance of doing so. The Digital 2022 report
report that the average Australian spends just under two hours per day on social media.
Almost 80 per cent use Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube or LinkedIn regularly, according to the latest research from digital marketing agency Yellow Pages. For 58 per cent of us, it’s the first thing we check each morning.
And we do more than merely glance at what’s going on in the social sphere: the average Facebook user spends eight hours on the platform each week, while YouTube account holders are active for an average of 12 hours a week.
Almost four in 10 Australians use social media to follow brands and businesses online, and over 50 per cent of consumers say they’re more likely to trust brands that invest in their socials and interact positively with customers online.
An ActiveCampaign survey earlier this year found that nearly half of the 1,000 consumers polled said trustworthiness and transparency are among their top motivators when engaging with a new brand via social media. This is opposed to price and location, which are historically the top drivers of purchases. When looking at just the millennial population, that percentage increases to 58 per cent.
Enhancing the experience
So, how can your small business use its social channels to enhance its customer experience and encourage buyers to spread the word about the great service it provides? Here are some tips.
Pick your platform
If you’re going to expend time and effort on social media, it pays to do so on a platform or platforms where your customers and prospects are present in numbers. For over 30s Australians, that’s likely to be Facebook, while the younger generation is more often found on Instagram or Tik Tok. If your chief focus is the B2B market, LinkedIn is the forum in which you’ll want to shine. In our experience, it’s better to make a good fist of one or two key platforms rather than trying to cover them all, particularly if your resources are limited.
Manage your messaging
Having chosen your medium, developing appropriate messaging is the next Must Do. Each platform calls for a different approach. Twitter, for example, uses a landscape format while Instagram posts are square. Your posts and messages are a direct reflection of your brand, so it’s worth expending some thought about the personality and culture – or, as legendary Aussie screen lawyer Dennis Denuto might put it, ‘the vibe’! – you want to convey to customers. Most importantly, resist the temptation to lurch into hard sales mode: your focus should be on creating 1:1 connections with customers, not shifting product, stat!
Make moments that matter
Customer experience is all about going above and beyond, as a matter of course. It makes sense to use your social channels to demonstrate how frequently and well you do so. Answering enquiries and resolving complaints fairly and fast will raise your stock, not just with the individual or business in question but with your audience at large. So will responding to positive feedback and re-sharing posts in which your business has been tagged. Use every opportunity to show you’re there for the customer and you’ll reap the rewards, in the form of greater engagement and positive advocacy.
Customer relationships will inevitably be longer and stronger if they’re personal. That means treating your customers like individuals, not numbers. Social media offers a myriad of opportunities to personalise your interactions, once you integrate your social apps with a customer experience automation platform. You’ll be able to reward followers who share your campaigns with personalised thank you notes and discount vouchers, for example, and check in with customers who requested advice to see how they fared.
Tools to make the task easy
Being all over it on social media doesn’t have to be the time thief it may sound. Automation can help you deliver the personalised, responsive service your customers expect and demand, in the virtual sphere. Once the exclusive purview of large brands with deep pockets, customer experience automation software is now accessible and affordable for even the smallest of businesses. User friendly plug and play automation tools – chatbots, messaging and email responses – can augment the efforts of your human team and enable you to deliver top notch customer experiences, each and every day. It’s foundational technology that can transform your social channels into a powerful marketing medium.