Searching for social media engagement ideas you can use to communicate with your customers? Check out these helpful tips from 18 industry professionals!
Do you know who is following your company blog and social media accounts? Are you looking for ways to reach out to your brand advocates? If you want to communicate better with your customers, follow these steps.
Step 1: Figure out who your customers and social media followers are
It’s tough to come up with social media engagement ideas when you’re not even sure who your social media followers are! Just as we recommend to our clients that they come up with personas for their company blogs, we also think you should use analytics to figure out just who is following your social media accounts, and even more important – what do they want from you.
Step 2: Humanize your company by communicating with your followers
Your customers want to engage. It’s the whole reason they are connecting with you via social media. Don’t act like a robot. Remember, no one wants to read generic posts on your sales and products. We’re not suggesting you skip the sales and product announcements. We just want you to make your brand come alive. Interact with any Tweet sent your way. Share fun behind-the-scenes pictures. Your customers want you to feel accessible.
— WISTIA (@wistia) July 15, 2015
@EcoDellaStampa thanks for sharing our post! have you ever conducted a social media audit?
— Mention (@Mention) July 20, 2015
Step 3: Consider and respond to all positive and negative customer feedback
Because customers are expecting real-time answers on social media, it’s important to use it as a method of customer service. If any of your followers speak kindly about your product or service, thank them right away! Same goes for negative reviews. Don’t let them haunt you online. Take a moment to respond immediately and try to rectify the situation. Other followers will notice your detailed and quick response, regardless of the complaint.
@Jdboudia Is this new test wired? Could you follow and DM me your account # or address so I can take a look at the signal levels? -FL
— ComcastCares (@comcastcares) July 20, 2015
Step 4: Repeat the cycle over and over again (and over again)
The more you’re using these social media engagement ideas, the better your company will be at attracting new followers, who in turn may turn into new customers. The better online presence you have, the more likely they will become loyal customers, not just making one purchase from you, but many. In fact, because it’s so easy to pass along great content on social media, your followers and customers become a type of “brand ambassador” when they share your posts.
— CoSchedule App (@CoSchedule) July 14, 2015
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Oh, and I’m not the only person who feels this way. I polled eighteen marketers, CEOs and social media specialists to describe their social media engagement ideas that they use in their own work. Here’s what they had to say:
Social media engagement ideas for communicating with customers
“Personally, I love using social media for engagement and content ideation. The reason being – it’s the most direct form of communication you have with customers and potential customers alike. People love the humanization of brands, meaning they love connecting with the people behind brands. It’s also a huge plus when those people create an air of accessibility and open lines of communication. Social media gives companies the opportunity to do so. Show users you are listening and engaging – don’t just be a logo.” – Patrick Delehanty, Digital Marketing Strategist, Marcel Digital
“We learned that when you promote it correctly, followers love participating in promotional contests and giveaways. Followers will happily tag, Tweet, follow if they feel that the prize is worthy.” – Aris Allahverdian, Founder, Mobi-Lens
“We receive detailed questions via social from shoppers asking our opinion…There is a desire for human connection that comes through from these consumers who are looking for a trusted, third party opinion, and we value the opportunity to provide one-on-one interaction. Many times, the communication transitions to our 800-line where we can provide even more in-depth assistance over the phone.” – Deborah Hong, Social Media Manager, Edmunds.com
“Social media is key at getting to know your consumer on a deeper level, no matter if you are B2B or B2C. From a B2C perspective, it allows for engagement with your customers, another method to provide customer service, and a more candid form of customer testimonials. Many consumers need to be in love and have a passion for your brand to interact with it socially, making social media interaction key. For B2B brands, social media allows you to gain a better understanding of the corporate culture of your customers. Social media for businesses exemplifies values, employees, and knowledge of their industry trends.” – Katie Bisson, Marketing, Technology Seed
“We use social media like a padded hammer. Sure, we want you to get the serious message, but we’re going to do it in such a way as to entertain you and keep you coming back.” – Chris Cochran, Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Affairs, California Office of Traffic Safety
“When it comes to social media, I have found that customers love to interact with a company that is personal. Companies that respond to customer’s comments and requests via Twitter have better brand loyalty because the brand becomes more personal and interactive.” –Matthew Broderick Adams, Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing, TRU-Colour Bandages
Social media engagement ideas on customer feedback
“The biggest thing we have learned at Great Wolf Lodge is how much social media is truly a channel for customer service. Our guests reach out, provide feedback and communicate with us through social media. In fact, we see quite often that guests at our resorts don’t pick up the phone in their room to make a comment, ask a question or lodge a complaint; instead they reach out through social media, and they have an expectation we will respond in real time. Social media allows give us the unique opportunity to solve a problem or issue during their stay, as opposed to reading about it after they are home and are responding to a survey or sending an email. Social media is no longer a part of public relations, it is also a critical part of customer service. And as social media channels continue to evolve, and the public engages with it more and more, so must we, so we can meet our guests’ needs.” – Susan L. Storey, Communications Director, Great Wolf Resorts
“It’s important to listen to those reviews or opinions, say you’re sorry if they’ve had a bad experience, and say thank you when the interaction has been positive.” – Maree Jones, PR Specialist, Luckie & Company
“The best thing we’ve learned from our clients’ customers is that, good or bad, they want to be heard. And, if their feedback is negative, responding gives you a chance to make it right.” Jennie Whitaker, Owner, Seedling Communications
“Whenever a customer is reaching out to their followers to preach about a company’s successes or failures, it’s important for the business to tackle the review head on…Addressing your audience via social media creates a dialogue and ultimately creates a trust that they’re being taken seriously and can lead to repeat customers.” – Maggie E. Burke, Public Relations Coordinator, Prosper for Purpose
“Feedback is the best result of using social media as a business. You do things for your customers, so naturally, you want to hear what works and what doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, it’s important to react by responding and if changes need to be made on the businesses part, it’s good information to succeed in the future and bump up that positive feedback. Plus, people see that feedback and monkey see, monkey do when it’s positive. That means more business!” – Christina Nicholson, Manager, Mascara Maven And More
“The rise of social media has changed how consumers engage brands. Years ago if someone had an opinion about you, they’d place a phone call to you or discuss it among a close circle of friends. That’s just not the case today. Customers are voicing their opinions quickly and all over the web which presents both a challenge and opportunity for the entrepreneur. A challenge in that you must constantly monitor online conversations where you brand is being mentioned and respond quickly (sometimes without all the facts). The opportunity lies in the ability to get real-time information about your customers’ experience with you.” – Shaun Caldwell, Owner, Charlotte Print
“From social media I usually find extremes. If a customer is very happy about the service we provide, they can be enthusiastic about spreading the word. On the other hand if something goes slightly wrong, even if it’s something beyond our control like a light colour not matching a paint colour, it’ll pop up as a complaint on the social media before it pops up anywhere else. That said the faster and more efficiently you respond to anything on Facebook or Twitter, the better. Keeping customers happy is key, and if you’re forced to do it in full view of your followers on Twitter or Facebook, it can really help your profile.” – Jim Bentley, Simple Lighting
Social media engagement ideas for attracting new customers
“We have people who follow us to track our adventures and buy from us. But the number of people just following us to read the adventure, or to window shop grows at a much faster pace. The advantage of on-line window shoppers though is that they are our word of mouth in the social media world, and I think the traditional sales ratio of finding one buyer out of every 10-20 window shoppers holds true with the social media followers we attract daily.” – Charles Snider, Cofounder, American Geode
“I’ve learned from our insurance agent clients that they are hungry for conversion strategies to increase sales from insurance leads. We provide them a product that leads to more sales, but we also have to provide them strategy content to improve their ROI and increase retention on our end. Our most engaging social media posts are those proving conversion strategies, not only our own blog but those of our lead management partners like Blitz and Velocify.” –Adam Johnson, SEO Specialist, QuoteWizard
Real life social media engagement ideas you can put in practice right away
“Everyone understands the importance of social media, but there’s a finesse to being successful. First, you need to know how to speak to your customer, and that takes a deeper understanding of who your customer truly is. Second, you need to be interactive, not pitchy. If a brand is promoting just their products 100% of the time, 100% of their potential customers will tune out. There’s a reason the 80/20 rule is the Golden Rule in social media; people want to have 80% interactive, informative content and only 20% advertising. This is key to a successful social media campaign. Third, your social media should be a well-thought out extension of your brand. Things like images, logos, fonts, and stories you share should speak to your brand. Social media is not the place to change important aspects – proper branding gets and keeps customers. And last, the most important thing that companies need to remember is that there should be a reason they are on social media. There are definite pros to being on it, but companies need to understand which platforms are the right ones for their brand, how people use it, and what they should (and shouldn’t) be sharing. Oh, and make sure your contact information is always visible! How else can you make sales?” – Nicole L. Royer, Start-Up Coach and Small Business Consultant, Start Up With Nicole
“Businesses often make the mistake of talking to people on social media. It’s a huge mistake. They think that by forcing sales, promotions and messages to their consumers on Facebook that they’ll be able to track and measure a strong return on investment (ROI). But the reality of it is that it’s about speaking with people, not talking to them. Getting to know them, interacting with them, responding to questions, comments and concerns….it’s a great way of nurturing relationships and creating brand ambassadors.” Kyle Reyes, Creative Director and President, The Silent Partner Marketing
“The best thing I’ve learned about my customers from social media is that their thoughts, opinions and especially political views are sometimes different than I imagined. For this reason, I don’t engage in any controversy on social media and keep reactions to current events simple and general. I have known other small businesspeople who lost clients because of an inflammatory, misunderstood or taken-out-of-context post.” Aïda Muñoz, Managing Director, The Actor’s Workshop