Social media is arguably one of the most transformational aspects of our personal and professional lives. It has become people’s microphone, personal advisor, and source of entertainment. So it’s only right that businesses adopt smart approaches to doing business on the social landscape.
There are numerous resources out there showing you how to play “small ball” with social media. If you’re going to have a massive impact with your customers, you’re going to need to adopt a clever and effective strategy that goes beyond just asking questions and posting memes.
Here are some of the different approaches I’ve found to be successful for businesses of all sizes on the social web:
Education-based marketing is my favorite approach. It’s not education in the homework sense, but more of just keeping people in the know of the important data and talking points related to your market.
This strategy is all about enlightening your customers. Why? Because the more informed they are, the more confident they will be and the better their buying decision are. If you do a good job of educating people about your product or service, and the important happenings in your market, then they’ll look at you like a genius and reward you with their attention and business.
Provide content about how to use your product and host Q&A session where you can answer customer questions. Twitter is great for quick Q&As and Google + Hangouts are great for live demos. Creating an experience around your product or service is crucial to its success.
Many businesses have elected to utilize social media as an extension of their customer service support. This strategy generally revolves around troubleshooting; listening for mentions of customer questions or problems, and replying in a timely fashion with a solution.
This strategy is great for building rapport by helping people solve a problem directly. It also serves as social proof because other people see that your business emphasize service, which is a highly admired quality.
Be sure to monitor mentions of your business via reply, hashtag, or Twitter search. Reach out to people talking about your business and answer questions. Provide value by solving people’s problems and you’ll benefit from the goodwill and positive perceptions.
Everyone has the basic human need to belong. People come together through cultural, political, professional, and personal interest related reasons. The success of your business is dependent on your ability to create a thriving community around your business. No community, no business.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google + make it very easy to create a place for people to come hang out and talk about your market, product, or service. Start your own special interest group on your platform of choice, then build in the value.
Becoming a content curator is another popular option of social media. Collect the very best industry-related content from around the web and share them with your customers. Articles, blog posts, videos, and audio content like podcasts, or interviews. An alternative method of curating content is to source and share user-generated content related to your product or service.
If you run a Chevy dealership, you could get your customers to share pictures of themselves with their Chevy’s. You could also share content related to Chevy reviews, car shows, and interviews with Chevy executives on your Facebook fan page or even on your website. The lesson here is you don’t always have to create the content in order to create a value exchange. Forwarding people to high quality content puts you at the “elbow” of a value exchange.
Creating opportunities for collaboration can prove to be extremely beneficial to all parties involved. Collaboration goes right along the concept of community, being that it’s one of our most basic human needs. We are social creatures who need to interact with other people.
When you come together in collaborative efforts not only do you empower your customers by giving them some “buy-in” to your business, but you also get an opportunity to create something very natural and personal to your customers which ultimately translates into a higher response rate. The higher the level of engagement, the more people are going to stick.
A few collaborative ideas are meet-ups, where you get your team (or just yourself if you’re a one-man army) in a room with your customers in a very relaxing and natural environment. You could even host a workshop where you and your customers share experiences, knowledge, techniques, and projects. Other effective collaborative efforts include Google Hangouts and Tweet chats, anything where you’re getting your customers involved to build on the movement you’ve both created.
Dewane Mutunga is the Founder & CEO of Connected Experiential Marketing, a NYC-based marketing agency that creates amplified brand experiences and touchpoints for consumer-focused brands and retailers. Find him connecting the dots on Twitter or LinkedIn.