When it comes to social media, many companies get lost in the goal of acquiring as many “Likes” as possible or fail to understand the importance if there is no direct revenue involved. As the world of social media changes daily, organizations should embrace the key goal of this amazing marketing channel: connecting with customers. To social media enthusiasts and marketers (myself included) this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I believe there are many ways companies can use social media to connect – Here are some suggestions:
1. Be Personable
Every time I’ve clicked on a “Like” button for a fan page or an article, it’s because I actually like it and want to share it with my friends and family. On the other hand, if I am really unhappy about an experience, I want to share it with that company as well … as many people do! A personable organization should listen and react appropriately. This includes: not deleting negative comments, actually responding to poor customer experiences and taking action to solve the problem. Organizations should be proactive in the way they track and approach a negative situation. I had a poor experience with an Alaska Airlines customer service representative and tweeted about it. They responded instantly:
2. Diversify the Mediums
Many people misinterpret social media marketing as just Facebook marketing. This is not the case. Social media consists of so many different platforms that sometimes it can be overwhelming. Beyond Facebook there’s: Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest to name a few. All of these platforms share a common purpose: connecting customers from all over the web. How can organizations involve themselves? By creating a presence in mediums where their customers are visibly active. To use myself as an example, our organization didn’t know that many people were actively using Pinterest as a way to “pin” our products. Once I realized this, I created a dedicated Pinterest page and we’ve seen incredible growth since. There are infinite tools out there, you have to search and find where your customers are, and connect with them.
3. Host Contests
I am an avid advocate of contests. Not because I like entering them but because I think they are a great way to connect with your customers. Companies should look beyond the simple web form that asks people to enter their information for a chance to win. Instead, they should take the opportunity to make it more enjoyable and exciting. Maybelline Switzerland took this approach when they put together a creative contest to promote a new lipstick line. They asked their fans to take a picture of their lips. The key idea here is that they made entering a lipstick contest connectable and fun. There are countless ways to do this – this is just one example.
If you’re looking for tips on how to effectively organize a social media contest, Mashable has a great article.
4. Use Images
My final food for thought on this topic is use images. People are visual, which is one of the reasons why Pinterest is such a success. Anything you choose to share with your fans and followers should also encourage them to share with their friends and families. Images provide eye candy that can instigate actions, such as: liking, commenting or sharing. For example, in H&M’s Facebook post about their ‘Conscious Collection,’ they’ve asked their fans to tell them what they like most about sustainable clothing. The images they’ve provided have an impact on what they’re trying to promote.
Surely there are many other ways companies can utilize social media. I would love to hear about other initiatives companies have taken to engage and connect with their customers – and add to this list!