45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
According to the latest “Social Media Marketing Strategy” report by consulting firm Ascend2, improving customer engagement is the social media marketing tactic that works best for business owners and marketers. In fact, 55 percent of B2C respondents (business-to-consumer) respondents said that customer engagement was more important than an increase in Web traffic, content reach, sales revenue, or search engine rankings.
Of course, the key question is: how do you drive engagement? How do you build trusted relationships to acquire and retain your customers?
To help you, we came up a few awesome tips below on improving customer engagement. Read on to find out how you can make social media marketing work even better for your business.
Monitor and aggregate your customers’ actions. Every customer action/interaction generates a great deal of data. Find ways to obtain and take advantage of this data. Use it to gain insights about what you can do to improve customer engagement and, subsequently, the customer experience.
You don’t have to be a marketing guru or customer intelligence ninja to be able to do this. Just make sure you keep yourself updated with what’s happening on your social media presences. Regularly study your Facebook page (there should be an “Export Data” option on the Facebook Admin Panel). Leverage tools that aggregate information about your business from social media sites. You can also manage and monitor online reviews on sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare. Wherever you have established your presence on social media, keep in mind that you have to be obsessive about knowing what makes your customers tick.
Create winning content. Instead of investing marketing dollars in advertising and direct promotional messages – which consumers don’t trust that much anyway – take the time and effort to create high-quality content. Write blog entries. Produce a nice little video with viral potential for your YouTube channel. Add great photos to your business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, Google+ Local, Instagram, and TripAdvisor, among others.
(Check out: “How to Maximize Positive Reviews and Testimonials”)
Respond. Engagement, obviously, is not a one-way street. So, whenever someone leaves comments, online reviews, and valuable feedback on any of your social networks, take the time to respond. Create a solid review management strategy. At the very least, say thank you to the customers who have been vocal about their experience with you. (For best practices in social media marketing response, check out: “9 Effective Tips for Responding to Online Critics.”)
Correct local data. No one likes to engage with businesses that have incorrect, incomplete, or inaccurate local data on their website, social media profiles, review site profiles, and business listings. In fact, according to research by location software company Yext, a total of about $10.3 billion worth of potential annual sales are lost because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local data. So verify, double-check, and correct your info on your social networks and review site profiles. That way, you’ll be in a position to drive customer engagement, instead of turn people off.
Think relationship, not transaction. The mindset taken by your company or organization should be one that’s focused on closing the gap between customer expectations and actual experience. So be customer-centric. Make it a business mandate. If you manage to empower staff to shift from a transaction-based mindset to a relationship-based one, you’ll be able to more effective build a strong community of actively engaged customers.