Loyalty: on engaging with your customers: How to creatively befriend your customers on social media/email
As a brand or business, the importance of engaging with your customers should constantly be at the forefront of your strategy. Connecting with your clients or customers on a personal level is the key to building trust and a return relationship. Often a face-to-face interaction is how most businesses achieve this level of engagement. However, in today’s ever-growing digital world it’s important to be having just as meaningful conversation with your customers in order to engage.
Seems simple enough, but is sending out your standard newsletter or an irregular social media content really cutting it? Spoiler: you’re not even close. Would you talk to your best friend like that? What about your mother? So, you’re getting it. We want personal and personal means business.
Your mind is probably buzzing with ideas now and that’s exactly what we want. But guess what? We’ve created this content to offer some ideas to get you on the way to sippin’ virtual cocktails with your latest Instagram follower or exchanging handy tips with your first ever customer. Put plainly, these are tips that will work across almost any industry. Let’s get to it.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it…
If you’re looking for an organic way to start a chat, your business or your own industry trends are the perfect starting point. Your subscribers and followers will know what your business stands for. They have joined you for a reason, so it’s important you provide them with relevant industry news that’s educational, intriguing or just enjoyable. If you’re doing this, then the good news is you are ahead and it’s imperative you stay there. How? Find the leaders in your industry that you hold key to industry updates and trends. Follow them on all their platforms, social media channels, blogs, podcasts – the lists go on. By doing some research into industry relevant apps and google alerts you will also literally, virtually be delivered information into your hands (read: inbox). Depending on your type of business, you may also be able to spark conversation from local news. Great examples of this are businesses who promote restaurants or local events. By creating local, real interest are generally feel good (or political) but a good way to invite your following to discuss and open a dialogue.
Ask your audience, don’t tell them…
An easy way small business can involve customers in relevant conversation is by asking questions. We don’t know about you-but we love sharing our opinion. Literally, on everything. It’s a part of human nature where we value feeling well, valued. The idea of sharing our thoughts to a business has a sense of power – and it’s actually beneficial for the business! Just like collaborating with an influencer or another like-minded business opens opportunity for out-of-the-box ideas to come to life. What can you ask your audience about? Anything you like! Take it as an opportunity to get free advice on your website functionality, other industry leaders your audience is following, tips to style your product and so much more! Each time you get a response, you have an open opportunity to engage in further conversation with more opportunity to engage and convert the customer. Just remember – take note, listen, acknowledge and action (if it was helpful) the responses you received. In addition to being a way to engage customers in meaningful conversation, you will gain so much insight into who your customer is and what they are after from your product or business.
Take the pain away!
This can sound weird, but you should look at your product or service as a resolution for your customer. They have bought your product or used your service to resolve something – what was it? Can’t work it out, that’s okay – it’s just another talking point – just ask! What you learn from your audience will often start bigger conversations – and most of the time in a public forum for others to see and jump in on -win win! Asking an open-ended question on your Instagram such as “What was the best tip you received when you first started yoga?” prompt responses, begin a conversation and most often correlate into other topics. Other members of your audience then see these conversations and can get involved and bond. Regardless of industry, you can learn something as long as you are again, taking note, listening, and acknowledging your audience. If your services can improve a customer’s issue, all the better! During open ended discussions like this, you might find it beneficial at this point to offer an introductory information session or free demo of your product. If you can’t offer a physical product or use of your service, try offer something as a free takeaway – sometimes it’s just kind words!
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Hosting an awesome pop up store for two days? Going to your friend’s art exhibition but you sell the art too? Share it with your audience – heck- yell about it! Letting your audience know ahead of time about your brand or business presence can open opportunities for you to engage in one-on-one interactions which you might not usually be able to do. If it’s something that allows people to publicly accept or decline – acknowledge it. Spark conversation with those who can come- “looking forward to meeting you!” and also those who can’t – “that’s a shame- here’s a preview of what we will be showcasing”. Oh and, don’t stop there. While you are at your pop-up store or event, take time to broadcast the what, who and where. For those who couldn’t make it, an insight into what is going on makes an audience feel included and not forgotten. You can do this by posting on your social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook – finally a reason to go live!
Don’t have any events planned? Don’t let that stop you from jumping online and having a chat with your customers in this casual form. Hosting a live stream with a Q&A can seem daunting, but once you’re in the thick of it – you learn to take it as it comes and most importantly show your audience the authentic, personalised side to your business or brand. Need some topics to talk about? Again, you can talk about industry relevant news or your best-selling product and why it is. The world is your oyster has never been more relevant than in the age of social media.
Sing a little praise for… you!
If you have a repeat customer or a follower who loves to engage with your content, spark a conversation with them specifically. Talking with a client about their experience with your brand or business is a vital way to get a conversation going. While you may have a lot of optimistic customer exchanges, it’s sometimes a bit lost if future audiences can’t read about it. As always, what you see is what you get. The most fool-proof reviews or recommendations most often come from photographic or video evidence. Encouraging your audience to post on social media platforms are a great way to rave about your product. Consider creating a hashtag for your brand or business if you haven’t already – a trending hashtag does the work for you and allows customers to again bond over your service or product sometimes even without your intervention! Just remember, when you receive praise and content like this, share it. Taking it back to previous points, take note, listen, acknowledge and action.
Feeling inspired, being inspired…
If you are like us, we love to scroll through Pinterest, find an interesting Instagram account or go deep in a podcast series. The sense of feeling rejuvenated and inspired provokes thoughts and ideas. So why keep this good energy to yourself, right? Yeah, this too-get sharing. Your platforms are a great way to add thought-provoking quotes that engage and resonate with your customers. If you have the creative flair and the time, it’s always fun to consider adding your daily quote to your own brand tone and colours to fit in line with your platforms. By doing this you can also add some understated branding – sneaky! This then creates an easy, shareable marketing campaign for your brand or business. This content can be shared across multiple platforms and by a multitude of users who echo the message. To guarantee your quote generates dialogue amongst you and your audience, try caption it with a question or your own thoughts.
Keep the fire burning…
If you want your business to continue to grow long term, you have to be willing to put in the personal effort to involve your audience in meaningful conversation that they can relate to. Engagement is the difference between a transactional relationship and a personal, friendly relationship. This the audience that will show your brand or business loyalty and convert time and time again. As a result of your audience believing in your product or service, they will likely recommend your products and services to their nearest and dearest. You might have the whole family listening – just make sure it’s relevant!