Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

How do Customers Want to Engage in Social Media?

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 26, 2008

blog.jpg I spoke to a fabulous group of marketers last night at the iMarketers.org meeting, talking about social media and customer loyalty.  Before the talk, I spoke with a few of the attendees about how they were using social media to engage with their existing customers.  As I listened to some of the ways people were working with new media for “old” customers, I started to hear three main themes critical to success.

  • Ask customers – Don’t just assume your existing customers want to engage in a certain way or with certain media.  If the uptake isn’t what you expected, go back and ask your customer/client base whether they use this media.  If so, how do they use it?  If not, why not?  What might get them to use it?
  • Use trial and error- The adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was never more true than in the age of social media.  One example we discussed last night was a sports and social club and their use of Facebook.  Members were definitely engaging through this medium, and the CEO was looking for ways to further get customers involved.  He thought the “Send someone a beer/martini/drink” application would be a perfect fit for this group of active adults, as the club often met in bars after the sports events were over.  It flopped.  However, putting photos of the sports contests and the after-sports happy hours was a big hit!
  • Make a plan- Don’t just blog or start using MySpace because everyone else is doing it.  Social media needs to be as well thought-out as the rest of your marketing mix, perhaps even more so because it is so quickly visible!  Set goals, create guidelines for your internal team, test with customers, and ask for feedback.  In other words, treat social media as a great marketing tool, using the same rigor as you would for direct mail or email (those are still great tools to use).

Do you have any social media tips for how to better engage with customers?  Come on out and share them here!

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7 Responses to “How do Customers Want to Engage in Social Media?”

  1. Dawn Hobbs said

    Becky,

    I was a part of the group that you spoke to last night! It was a great presentation and offered incredible insight into how to build brand loyalty through social marketing. Thanks for all the great tips!

  2. Dawn, thanks for coming out to the blog and joining the conversation! I am so glad you found the talk useful; that makes it all worthwhile for me. :)

  3. Forrest Wright said

    I also thought last night’s presentation provided a solid overview of social media’s impact on brand loyalty. Kudos, Becky.

    Becky brought up something that not enough marketers pay attention to — relevance. Using the right tools for the right audience. Too many brands and businesses engage social marketing and new media tools without asking themselves if it truly makes sense for them. They’re doing it just to do it and this betrays another important quality that Becky brought up, authenticity. In the end, success is the difference of truly understanding what your brand story is and then finding the most successful ways to engage people in that story, versus just trying something to see if it works but not having a differentiated point of view or message.

  4. Forrest, thank you for the compliments! Also, you are right about relevance. Social media should not be a “me, too” tactic but should be part of a customer marketing strategy to reach out to and interact with customers and clients. The differentiation in point of view or message may well be different for different customers, too.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion!

  5. [...] They seem to be following the primary social media themes for success: [...]

  6. micha said

    I really enjoyed the presentation this week! Completely agree with those three points, additionally some of the themes of social media which have proven successful are to:

    – Utilize Social Media as a customer feedback mechanism. When customers get involved in product development/ process improvement and business’s listen it encourages customer evangelism.

    – Communicating personality. Websites & Brochures are expected to be canned marketing. Social Media is the online platform for conversation marketing and provides a great opportunity for companies to showcase their personality and connect more deeply with like minded customers. This only works when companies have a well defined culture aligned with the psychographic variables of their target customer segments.

    Thanks again Becky! Its too easy sometimes to get caught up in the day to day, seeing you speak last week really inspired me to get more involved with blogging again!

  7. Thanks, Micha, for adding your insights! Social media is a great tool for listening, understanding ways to improve, and for conversation. The conversation doesn’t always have to be between the company and the customer – it is often at its best when it is customer to customer.

    Glad to hear you are getting back into blogging, too! :)

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