To round out a vibrant and informative day at Like Minds New York, Jeff Pulver led an interesting discussion on how to engage in social communications and retain your customers.
He was joined by Gemma Craven, Executive Director, Social Customer Engagement, OgilvyOne, Ariel Norwood, Online and Social Media Team Leader for Northeast Region, Whole Foods and Ray Kruck, co-founder and COO for NexGate.
It’s easy to think of social media communications as just an extension of traditional marketing, blaring out a message and hoping that some of it sticks, but actually it’s much more like a face to face conversation. There’s a two way element that causes some problems for businesses but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want to have effective social communications, retain your customers and build a larger audience here are some key pointers:
- Lean in and engage to differentiate your brand. You have to be in the conversation, not on the side lines. If you’re not involved you can’t excite people about your brand.
- Be authentic and responsive. Don’t send automated messages and don’t post if you don’t have the time to listen and respond.
- Don’t leave monitoring social media comms to an intern. It needs to be done by someone who has a deep understanding and passion for your brand.
- Social activity isn’t standalone. It has to be a part of all forms of customer outreach. This means you need to make sure your social team is embedded in every department of your business, not shut away in a cubicle at the dusty end of the office.
- Empower all employees to understand your brand’s core values of the brand but allow them to communicate them with their own voice and personality.
- Real time interaction and being heard by the brand matters to customers. Take advantage of the fact that information from one platform can find its way to another organically.
- The true value of a Facebook fan or Twitter follower relies on you understanding which ones are passionate brand fans. Engage with them and use them to build brand advocacy.
- Listen. Connect. Share. Engage. Make customer interaction meaningful by putting them at the heart of what you do. That way your social work will be effective.
- Before social there was a clear idea of an influencer: a celebrity with a one way message. Now influencers tend to be people that are close to individuals. People listen to them more than a celebrity spokesperson. You need to use existing customers as influencers.
Think about a great personal relationship you have, with your partner, your best friend or a family member. What makes it so rewarding, and makes you fiercely loyal to that person? It’s all down to how you communicate, listening and responding authentically to each other’s wants and needs.
Effective social media communications are just the same. You have to listen as much, if not more, than you talk and respond truthfully. Do that and you’ll have a friend for life.