How To Positively Engage With Customers via Social Media...

It's three in the afternoon on a Friday and you've recently read a rather harsh online review by a consumer who didn't particularly like your new vinaigrette dressing, or the "dismissive" attitude of a server working a double, or the style of the shirts your business is selling because they felt the graphics were offensive, what do you do?

Social media platforms have quickly become the main outlets of expression for customers to share their experiences, thoughts, and reviews about the businesses with whom they have engaged. Technology has given the average consumer an outlet, visible to the world, to praise or completely trash a business should their expectations be met, or not, depending on the result of that engagement.

More than ever, with a few key strokes, a single voice can now reverberate with the impact of an entire orchestra and the ramifications of those words can leave a lasting impression on your business. So, before you respond to that customer you should first understand how to positively engage with your consumers in an effort to resolve their concern or complaint and you should also know the right moments to use social media to your advantage.

When To Engage:

Announcing a New Product or Sale!

To use an old analogy, customers are like fish.. In order to catch them you need bait and a large net. Think of social media as the net and the offering or ad, the bait. It's generally a good idea to let your consumer base know when you're running a sale or have a new product. Did you recently invent a new flavor or looking to augment a service with a new facet? Tell the world about it. Social media advertising can be an effective compliment for any marketing plan and in the retail environment can help drive higher conversion rates for online customers.

Think of your followers and their followers as a community because they are. By telling someone (running a social media ad) not only do you have the chance of attracting the attention of your followers, but you can also attract their followers and their followers and so on.

Create raving fans by building in a reward for liking or following your business on various platforms like a "Social Media Reward Discount".

Asking for Feedback

The more customers are satisfied with your business the more they will want to share your services. This opens another opportunity for engagement. Honest feedback helps improve quality control and leads to a better understanding of what your consumer base is looking for or expecting from you. Actively engage your community by asking for their feedback on your business’s last sale, event, or products.

Use this opportunity to say "thank you" to your customers for their help and reply in kind to those in the community who have posted positive feedback about your services or products.

Building Trust:

Social media platforms also allow us to create an outlet for listening to our customers and reassuring them that someone from your business is there for them. Ask questions about your business such as, "How quickly did our representatives respond to you?" or "If you could change one thing about our product, location, or services what would it be?" This builds a comfort level for the consumer while demonstrating that you're willing to listen to ideas and suggestions. In return they will begin to trust you and your business.

When NOT To Engage:

So, let's get back to that dissatisfied customer for a moment, the one who didn't like the dressing. The best way to win this exchange is simply not to play. Thank the posting party for their feedback, apologize, and offer a direct way to communicate with that person via email, phone, or direct message. The goal here is to take the conversation offline, out of the spotlight of public view. Some individuals simply feed on negative attention so rather than fuel the fire, diffuse the situation with empathy and understanding. Even if you aren't able to satisfy their immediate problem, you'll win over the consensus by handling each situation with professional courtesy. The customer ISN'T always right, but that doesn't mean you can't make them feel like they are.

Avoid posting opinions regardless of how trivial the topic. Stick to topics related to your business and the affects your business has on the community or industry as a whole.

C2 Development Group can help your business leverage the power of social media platforms in a positive way to engage with your consumer base and create raving fans!

We'll show you how to build an online community and following that will help your business grow. We can create online promotions and teach you how to increase customer conversions and sales. C2 can even help you plan for and respond to problems that may crop up online and help you deescalate issues with customers. Drop us a line and let us know how we can help you engage with your customers.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your next great idea become successful!

Josh Cassell is a project manager and account executive with C2 Development Group.

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