I remember the exact moment that made me realise how close to a customer social media can get us.
That day started as a usual one: check messages, reply to the comments, remove spam from all the business Facebook pages the agency was working with. And there it was, amongst all these Facebook interactions, a Facebook message from Anna, an active customer from a brand Facebook page we were managing. Anna was inviting the brand to her birthday lunch with her friends.
I got goosebumps reading Anna’s message. Never before had I experienced a brand being so close to someone that the customer would actually want to invite the brand team into her house, for lunch, together with her best mates.
As a community manager, I had been working on that social media account for less than six months. Within a short time, I realised I knew so much about Anna, and about many other customers in the Facebook community that were engaging with our page: complete demographics from promotions we ran, Anna’s favourite dishes, her family members from user-generated content, I knew where and when she went on holidays (because she would tell us via Facebook!), and we even knew some of her family concerns from the interactions she had with other users on the brand’s Facebook community.
I am not a stalker on social media, you have my word. But, it’s social media that made listening to our customers so easy and allows us to create a close relationship with them that other forms of marketing haven’t allowed us before. You don’t have to be a stalker to get to know your customers the way you know your best friend.
“Treat every customer as though they were your favourite celebrity, hero, friend, neighbour or your grandma.” Jeffrey Gitomer
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL; USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CLOSENESS
1. Ask questions
When you visit your grandma, you don’t just start talking about yourself, do you? You would ask her questions to see how things are going for her. It’s the same with getting close to customers online. We don’t want to do all the talking when we reach out to our audience. That’s why it’s important that we post regular questions on our business pages: to check in on our audiences, hear what they like, what they don’t, learn about them from them. It’s not all about me, me, me. It’s actually more about you, you, you.
2. Listen to the answer
When we care, we listen. I could zone out and check my phone while my grandmother tells me her back has been aching lately. Or I can acknowledge her and show some compassion when I hear her pain. In social media, we need to prove to our audiences that we listen by replying to people’s comments and messages. If you post a question, then show some interest in the answers by replying to them – to every single one of them.
Moreover, we can join others’ conversations on the platform. My grandmother is happy when anyone shows some interest in her back pain. She’s is the only one who wants to be heard (love you Gran!) We all want attention and we feel special when we get it. So, we might use hashtags, keywords, monitor social mentions, we might join groups to find out the pain points of our potential customers and acknowledge them by replying to them. If you can be funny, like Smart Car, be funny. But otherwise just be real.
3. Remember to take action
On social media, we have the chance to get closer to our audiences by taking action and helping people with the situations they tell us about on the platform. If we find out from a comment that it is someone’s birthday or that someone needs a hand or that a person might benefit from our customer support advice we need to do something about it. An action can be anything from a kind word to thumbs up… or even a redirect to a competitor’s page!
For all the small business owners out there, I trust you have created your business with purpose and love for the customer. Social media gives you the opportunity to show all your love to the people you are serving and serve them better than ever before. Take this opportunity. And if you are not sure how or where to start, get in touch with us and we will give you a hand.