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How to Reach Customers Through Social Media: Helpful Tips for Small Business Owners

Written by Brook Bentley | October 26, 2017 at 8:05 PM

Social media has become a crucial part of digital communication strategies and can be an effective tool to increase brand engagement and win new customers. It is dynamic and in constant change which is why understanding how to reach customers through social media is so important. As you begin to craft your strategy, be sure to understand how people interact with your brand and build solid social media customer service best practices. 

Social media is critical to fostering an environment of customer loyalty and retention. People like to be familiar with businesses and that means following and engaging with them online. Social media enables users to create and share content as well as participate in social networking.When your brand is present on social platforms you give people the ability to connect with your brand. More than ever, Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen X alike are turning to peers for recommendations on brands, products and services.

This means they are seeking reviews online, crowd sourcing recommendations on their Facebook status and using online social groups to access the information they want. As a business, this means if you have a loyal customer not only are they likely to keep coming back to you, they are likely to spread that information out on social media when the time is right.

But what happens if someone is dissatisfied with your business? It means that the customer can air their concerns online for the entire world to see. I’m sure you can think of a few national brands that have dealt with this. Unfortunately, if you have enough dissatisfied individuals posting online, new customers will take notice and be less likely to engage with your business. We live in a world where competition has become plentiful so getting your social media strategy right can definitely pay off.

Always double check spelling. Even the Department of Education gets it wrong once in awhile. Here you can see they spelled De Bois incorrectly. The conversation on Twitter took note and when the Department of Education went to apologize, they had another spelling error.

Adidas ended up issuing a very formal apology that was noted by the Associated Press for a subject line of an email. Here you can see the apology for the wording ‘you survived’ in relation to the Boston Marathon.

Social media customer service best practices are critical for any business to establish. While some people feel they can hide and are relatively anonymous when interacting with people online, that totally breaks down when people interact with a brand or company online. This means no matter what someone says, respond to them.

Not only do people expect a response, they expect it within a realistic time period and they expect it to be personal. Remember, most people want to be heard and to feel like they have a voice. Thank people for their feedback whether it is good or bad, address their specific point and offer them some type of resolution even if it is just a request for them to patron your business again so you can show them a different experience. As a business, at a minimum, this means checking your social media daily to be sure you’ve engaged and responded to people suitably.

While customer service is important, it’s also important that you’re looking at how best to reach customers through social media. Be candid; having a presence on social media that is current and an accurate representation of your business is huge.

Encourage your customers to ‘get social’ with your brand. Some strategies for this include inviting people you know to like your page, asking existing customers to like, review and share your page. It also means engaging with the community. This could include sharing interesting and relevant news, tagging a local charity you work with in a post or mentioning another brand you collaborate with. Also, be personable. Finding your brand’s voice can take some time, but people like when brands have personality. The balance is tricky, because your voice can’t be too funny or too promotional and needs to remain applicable for your audience.

Under Armor does a great job with their voice. They understand that their customers are very motivated and fitness minded. Their Instagram features a mix of fan photos as well as professional athletes.

Starbucks succeeds at engaging with their customers. They take things like the Pumpkin Spice Latte that everyone has heard of and turn it into a social conversation. A user tags a friend with a memory about the drink and Starbucks responds, appropriately, inviting them the come have a drink.

So, what does all this mean for the impact of social media marketing on brand loyalty?

It means that it is a lot more than ‘likes’. It leads to real website conversion, it is recommendations from loyal customers to their network of people and the ripple effect continues from there.

Yes, growth in followers and likes helps to reach more people but social media outlets offer additional metrics so your brand may track a specific metric based on your goal. By implementing a presence on social media, providing customer service and engaging in some level of marketing the brand loyalty will follow.