A social media passive presence is a pervasive problem for brands.
Say that 10 times fast.
When I say "Passive presence" I am referring to the attitude brands take when they consider customer engagement a lower priority than other channels, creating a culture rooted in "if you build it, they will come."
The 21st Century reality is no field of dreams.
To succeed in the era of social media, mobile first, and the internet of things, brands need to evolve and engage their customers in a way that fosters customer loyalty and advocacy on a human level, not just as a brand... but also as a friend. According to Bloomberg, only two out of every ten small businesses started by entrepreneurs remain alive after 18 months. The other eight crash and burn. Having true customer engagement, both online and offline, is a priority that must be addressed at the early stages of your brand persona. The earlier you foster this customer engagement, the more likely it is your business will succeed.
"8 out of 10 businesses crash and burn."
In a classical sense, you will always have a need for passive marketing in addition to active marketing efforts, but customer engagement is a completely different ballgame. Having a website, installing good signage, and designing awesome business cards are all basic and necessary for your business to exist, but those things can only go so far. It is only when you engage in a relational way that takes into account the needs of your customers, as well as their very primal emotional response, that you will be able to stay ahead of the game.
To take your business to the next level, use these 10 essential customer engagement tactics to leverage growth and win the hearts and minds of those engaging with your brand on social media.
10. Define Your Buyer Persona
The best way to effectively engage with your customers is to have a good grasp of what drives them. As soon as your doors open, you should seek to learn as much as possible about your customers. The more you know about them, the better equipped you are to draft a strong and results-oriented customer engagement strategy. Learn the commonalities among your customers by being a good student of your online reviews, generating your own surveys, and using a strong CRM that captures relevant data points and allows you to see commonalities among your shoppers.
9. Don't Let the Relationship End at the Point of Sale
What happens after a customer gives you his or her money is almost as important as the money itself. If you want true engagement, then make sure you have processes in place that provide customer follow-up to ensure satisfaction, provide technical support, and extend relevant promos.
What you do to engage a customer post-transaction will define the character and the success of your business.
8. Make Every Experience a Reason to Converse with Your Customers
Establish standard operational procedures that require everyone in your teams to engage with customers in ways that show cordiality without being intrusive. Even before the transaction is over, take advantage of casual conversation to determine whether your customer is receiving the highest levels of service. There is no better time to fix problems that might result in a less-than-perfect customer experience.
7. Engage with the Local Community
Connect with your customers by positioning yourself as a company that is vested in the local community. Allocate time and budget for outreach, and participate in civic and community-oriented activities that are meaningful to your best customers.
6. Have a Mailing List... and Use It
You are best qualified to communicate to your customer, so try to do it as directly as possible. Connect with them on the most relevant platform for your business, whatever it may be. Email is a well known common denominator for high-engagement customer feedback. Utilizing a mailing list and email strategy is a great way to ensure you are covering all your bases. Email campaigns are very economical and can be quite successful if you commit to sending information that is relevant, valuable, and personal.
5. Create an On-Location Feedback System
Providing your customers with the opportunity to voice their opinion right on the spot can save your company from negative reviews, and it will provide you with a timely opportunity to tackle customer concerns proactively. By empowering your customers via a suggestion box, you will also be able to refine your offering and receive ideas for products, services, or processes that will better address the needs of your best customers.
4. Incorporate a Net Promoter Score Survey
There is no better or easier tool to help a business capture and understand the overall sentiment of their customer base in association with loyalty. Net Promoter Surveys receive a high response rate due to their simplicity, and they equip customers with a way to convey concerns before they have an opportunity to go online to websites like Yelp. You can learn more about the benefits of NPS here.
3. Deal with Customers at a Personal Level
The most successful businesses see each customer as a unique opportunity for growth. Simple moves like sending a small token of appreciation for birthdays or acknowledging special events on location can take the relationship to the next level and convert your customer into a strong advocate for your brand.
2. Be Social with Your Customers
Social platforms are not going away, and making sure that your customers can connect with you socially is essential to your success. Not only do you need to have a Facebook or Twitter account, but you also need to make sure you are constantly and proactively engaging with your customers. A dormant Facebook profile is worse than not having one.
1. Manage Your Online Reputation
If there is one thing that will take your brand from a passive culture to a culture that values and engages with the customer, it is reputation management. By taking an active role in managing and promoting your online review profiles, where your customers are already providing feedback, you can achieve the most traction and provide a constructive setting for engagement with current and potential customers. Managing your online reputation is at the very heart of a successful customer engagement strategy.