I have been asked by many people why I prefer one brand over another and why I am so brand loyal. With Twitter and other forms of social media in the mix, there is no reason why you shouldn't be constantly engaged by your favorite brands. Whether it's JetBlue helping you out when your flight is delayed or CVS giving people who interact with them special discount codes, social media fans and followers should always feel like their voice is important and influential. The same should hold true for your own business. How are you making sure your prospective and current customers feel like they can get in touch with you and stay constantly engaged?
1. Respond to Customers, Whether Good or Bad
It is now often someone's first instinct to go right to Twitter to complain about a product or brand. If a person is unhappy with a company, he or she wants everyone to know, and Twitter seems to be the right place to make that clear. It can often be frustrating for a company to constantly have to deal with this negative feedback, but it also provides a great opportunity for businesses to open up the conversation and show that they are listening. Customers who receive responses from companies on Twitter, even after they've said something negative about the company, are much more likely to use a product or service again. Knowing that their voice is heard goes a long way. Whether it is commenting on a Facebook status or responding to a tweet, make sure you acknowledge both the positive and the negative feedback.
2. Start Conversations
This is a great way to show you are a thought leader in the industry. Of course, you should be producing content and posting it to your various social media channels, but you should also be starting conversations. Ask your Twitter followers and Facebook fans what they think about a current event. Ask them what they think about a particular topic. Ask them what they think about a recent blog post your company wrote. This will show them that you care about their opinions and want to interact with them.
3. Be Responsive Using Different Tools
Social media engagement shouldn't just come into play on one specific channel. A company fluent in inbound marketing will be able to use many tools to answer and address its audience's concerns or questions. The Old Spice campaign engaged with customers on YouTube. Comcast engaged with customers on Twitter. Showing you are well-versed in multiple tools will not only reach more of your audience, but will also position your company as more digital-friendly. After all, even traditional marketing campaigns were executed using multiple channels.
4. Ask Your Audience to Take Action
People are always interested in sharing content and highlighting their experiences with your company. At HubSpot, we asked users on Facebook to post pictures of themselves with the HubSpot unicorn, which we had distributed at an event, and we got a great response. Even doing something as simple as encouraging your audience to post pictures will engage your them and also give you an inside look into various ways your customers perceive your company.
5. Think Creatively
Videos used to be the "latest" thing that people would create to get their audience's attention. Before that, it was blogging. And before that, it was catchy print advertisements like "Got Milk?" Companies who are able to pioneer a "new" way to use a new technology or tool to reach their audiences are often the most successful at attracting attention for being innovative. Think outside the box on this one, and do something your competitors would never dream of doing.
So why is it important to keep up the conversation with your audience and make sure you are constantly engaging with them? Communicating regularly with your prospects, customers, and fans is not only a great way to generate feedback about your business, but it is also a good way to show your customers and community that you appreciate them and value their opinions. This is a core element to maintaining a healthy business environment with happy customers who also feel appreciated.