When it comes to marketing, savvy businesses know to go where the customers go. These days, customers are on Facebook. But, according to a recent study by MarketTools, only 23 percent of businesses use Facebook for customer relations. According to MarketTools’ Karin Adams, businesses aren’t utilizing a valuable tool in reaching customers.
“Companies are increasingly embracing social media as a way to interact with their customers, though they are missing an opportunity to incorporate this feedback into a voice of the customer program,” Adams said.
Interaction is an important part of having a social media presence. Your business’s Facebook fans want more than the occasional notice about specials. By putting a face behind the company profile, you personalize your customers’ online experience, which makes them more likely to see you as a customer-friendly experience.
The survey also asked how often a company’s CEO participates in his or her company’s social media sites. Only 22 percent of businesses reported a CEO’s regular participation in social media on behalf of his or her company, with most of that participation being on Facebook. While it’s not necessary that the head of your small business to regularly log in and post responses and comments, an occasional interaction can help show customers your business cares about its customers, and that this concern goes all the way to the top.
Social media strategist Mack Collier has gained attention by encouraging CEOs to think like a rock star. “Note what rock stars do,” Collier shared at the Social Media Integration Conference. “They focus on the people that already love them… this group has a strong degree of loyalty for the rock star. So much so, that they will go out and actively recruit people from the other groups to the left to come join them.”
When businesses integrate this type of thinking into marketing efforts, they gather new customers by nurturing existing customers. Dell Computers’ Facebook interaction is a great example of this. Not only does Dell post regular updates about specials and new product releases, a representative of the company interacts with commenters to its post, even addressing those commenters by name.
As social media becomes even more of a force in today’s Internet-driven world, consumers are not only appreciating businesses interacting on Facebook, but they are growing to expect it. In fact, Conversocial, a software-based business that helps businesses manage social media commenting, conducted a recent survey that found 88 percent of consumers would be less likely to buy from a business that ignored customer service comments on social media sites.
That same study also showed that nearly a third of respondents had been ignored when posting customer service-oriented comments to businesses’ social media sites. While constant interaction may seem impossible, especially for smaller businesses without staff to dedicate to updating social media pages, neglecting to respond to negative comments can be extremely detrimental to your online reputation. Not only does this make the complaining customer feel neglected, it appears to everyone who reads the comment that nobody is listening.
As 2012 begins, think about your social media sites. Are you participating as much as you should? And, more importantly, are you missing a valuable chance to improve customer relations on a widespread basis?