If your brand does not engage on social platforms, customers can and will dig up your blog or website, or go on public forums to share what's on their minds. Whatever path customers choose and whatever they have to say, they expect responses, too.
So how do we tackle this new reality and use these powerful forms of communication to our advantage? Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and even Zendesk make our lives easier by tracking conversations between companies and customers. Zendesk goes one step further: it also converts every tweet, Facebook post and message sent via companies' websites and online-chat functions into tickets, so companies can manage them with ease.
That power makes it simple to respond quickly to comments and spot trends that might develop, and it's hard to overstate how important that is. Businesses want to know what people like and they need to know what people don't.
In short, it may seem like there are countless messages from all sorts of sources, but it's simple to manage social-media communication - which is at its essence, the critical ability to understand and interact with customers. That's an essential step forward - and rest assured your competitors are working aggressively in this realm - and it can also reduce costs for PR, customer service and even advertising.
There are things to learn, fast-flowing streams of communication to manage and no doubt some surprises to come in terms of technology and what customers will say and do, but the need to communicate and the prospects to prosper from it are too important to ignore.
Relevancy is most likely to be achieved when your social media followers are supporters of your brand., These are the people who have experienced your product, or service, and can do justice to the overall engagement of the brand. However, many brands still fail to understand this aspect of social media.
Here's how companies can improve the relevancy of their social media output:
- Never run ad-hoc contests where there is no offline and online integration
- Never give away prizes and rewards for free
- Always use clear tracking tools such as Google Analytics and Click Analytics or rather use a campaign monitoring tool
- Always use third-party applications to run campaigns
- Always keep track of you audience on Facebook/Twitter and try to relate to your target audience
- Always keep a check on your demographics. Usually, followers from distant countries where your business doesn't operate won't be following you on Facebook/Twitter. However, there are some exceptions.
Another way of achieving relevancy is to integrate your social communication within your print communications, website, emails and offline touch-points. Social media can be integrated into your company's in-store communications, at reception, within restaurants and hotel rooms, and even on your organisation's email signatures.
How you communicate your social media presence is equally important. Whenever, you mention your brand's Facebook or Twitter presence, don't just say "follow us on Twiiter" or "join us on Facebook". These statements never communicate the end objective of the brand to the consumer. In fact, messages like "to know more about fashion tips & trends: participate on Facebook: (Link goes in) or share your queries with us on Twitter @brandname are much more effective.
Always make it as easy as possible for your customers to follow or engage with your brand. Make your social media channels easy to join and promote them in the right places. Properly promoting your social media output will help you achieve your end objective and generate a relative return on investment (ROI).