Marketing with social media is a must in 2015. But you have to do it right if you want to benefit from it.
Customers still follow companies on social media primarily for coupons, giveaways, and discounts. And the fact remains that typically your most engaged followers are likely not your customers at all, but employees and competitors (there are exceptions of course). But all is not lost — at the very least, social media remains an inexpensive investment in your customers’ happiness. This year, we’re recommending clients undertake a three-pronged approach to social media.
Listening and Customer Service
Social media gives your customers a way to broadcast their opinions about their experiences with your company or brand. This gives you an opportunity to listen to them and impress them with your service.
Identify when people are talking about your company or brand on social media and reach out, engaging with direct messages or even public tweets. If customers care enough about their relationship with you to “out” you on social media, good or bad, you should be there to respond — it’s expected, particularly if they tag you or tweet @you.
Provide Content as a Service
The content as a service model revolves around new goals for the content we publish. Think of it as the antithesis of “content marketing,” but also entirely the same thing. With content marketing, you produce content to focus on “marketing” your company. With content as a service, however, you focus on your customer. It shows them that you’re willing to invest money (none of this is free!) in keeping them informed and updated, providing transparency of operations and creating customer relationships. Social media fits extremely well into the content as a service model and should be part of your normal editorial calendar.
Coupons, Discounts, and Giveaways
If you know customers are following you to save money, why aren’t you giving them more coupons, discounts, and free stuff? Giveaways offer a uniquely powerful way to increase social presence quickly. Companies that run product giveaways and other promotions to help gain followers may be able to increase customer loyalty and retention if, and only if, they follow-through with more substantial social media service – both in terms of content and listening to their voices and opinions.
For 2015, keep spending in social media. Post the right content on the right networks according to best practices (don’t forget your #hashtags!). But don’t do it because you’re marketing your company. Do it because you’re investing in your customers. Do it because you care. After all, sometimes someone will read your content — then a hundred people, then a thousand. But only if it’s there.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!