|By Mat Rider||
|May 8, 2014 03:00 PM EDT||
In the previous two posts, I outlined ideas for a robust strategy to fire up your brand’s social media channels for maximum return in the form of prospects and customers.
As customers begin to pour in, how do you cement the relationship? In fact, how do you expertly nurture a group of customers so they share their good experiences among their networks to encourage new prospects to investigate and/or sign up?
To ultimately measure your ROI on social, you need a healthy customer lifecycle – from interested prospect to jubilant and loyal brand advocate. While reflecting about a succinct template for success, I ironically came across many articles that supported my counter-intuitive thoughts.
To truly seal the deal, go offline.
Recover quickly from the shock, because I’ve first-hand witnessed enthusiastic customers turn evangelical because of direct and personal engagement. This doesn’t mean to simply ‘like’ their kind post on your brand’s Facebook page, or automatically re-tweet a glowing 140-character customer testimony. Articles, like this recent LinkedIn Influencer post – The Importance of Building Strong Human Connections with Your Brand in Social Media Platforms – vouch for reaching out to customers off the social media grid. It’s a personal touch that resonates with customers: instead of gaining advocates, you’ll host bands of brand evangelists who will lobby your brand well past simple networking.
Memorize the following three tips to forge connections with your customer base
Shine the Spotlight on their Success
- Invite them to contribute a guest blog post - A happy customer ties to a happy business and every business appreciates another layer of exposure. E-mail them directly and offer them a platform to announce their success.
- Listen to their story – When interviewing them for their success story, always listen. Active listening is the key to any genuine and lasting customer connection.
- Consider a customer loyalty program – Many brands invest in customer loyalty programs that reward dedicated customers with swag. Instead of an automated system, create personalized or tailored metrics for customers to reach for their swag. Don’t make them work for it: engage them with their own interests so they naturally participate.
- Don’t fully ignore social media, especially with customer support needs While this tip returns to social media, keep the language in an ‘offline’ manner as if you’re directly handling their question.
- If a customer requests assistance on Twitter or Facebook, enforce a strict response policy; you’ll have to face the opposite of evangelical customers if you neglect a social community management strategy.
- Respond within the hour
- Show empathy in your response language
- Prioritize a follow up after obtaining answers
Imagine a group of your closest friends. Instead of always texting them, you seek out their actual company. A digital relationship can be tricky, but at the heart, it’s still a relationship and it’s best to adhere to the values that you personally espouse.
Your customers see through the smoke and mirrors of social media, so present them with a genuine reason to engage with your brand and company at all levels – from social to personal.
How have you cemented customer loyalty? I welcome your story in the comments or tweet me at mr_mat_rider.
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