Building bonds with consumers on social media has become a large part of every small business’s core marketing strategy. To maximize the benefit of using social media, it becomes important to understand how best to tackle the overall strategy. “Many companies continue to treat social media as a one-way communication vehicle and are largely focused on how they can use these sites to push their marketing agendas,” (O’Boyle, 2014). But consumers are seeking more than just information from their favorite brands. Social media has become a place where people can develop connections between themselves and anyone else across the globe. They seek the same connection with their favorite brands. “Consumers are drawn to social media because they want to take part in the conversation and make connections,” (O’Boyle, 2014). As a brand, how can we keep our customers engaged on social media? The answer is simple – join the conversation.
Building Bonds With Your Consumers Happens Daily
Consumers take to social media on a daily basis. They discuss their purchases, likes and dislikes, and wants and dreams. It’s the job of the brand to listen to these consumers. Whether what the consumer has to say is positive or negative, the company should still show respect to the consumer by at least taking the time to hear their comments. “If a customer starts a conversation with you, focus your attention clearly on what that person has to say,” (Van Bellegham, 2013). Take the time to listen to their problem and they’ll take the time to seek your product.
There will be times when consumers are simply making a statement about your brand. Even though the consumer may not be expecting a response, it’s still a good idea to engage! The image below is an example of how the retailer Kohl’s reaches out to its consumers.
There is also the matter of actually beginning conversations with consumers. The best way to do this is to ask consumers questions. “Ask questions that cause consumers to stop, reflect and respond,” (Hemley, 2012). By reaching out to consumers to get their feedback, small businesses are not only able to gain information but it allows the consumer to feel respected and valued. “Open conversations generate loyalty, sales and most of all, learning… for both sides,” (Bosomworth, 2013).
Think about what you can learn from the consumer and be sure to ask the questions that will lead you to those conclusions. Social media is the best way to get feedback and resolve any issues that may not have been brought to the attention of the business prior to social media. Think of social media as an asset that you can continually benefit from year after year. Building bonds with your customers on social media is a great way to build your small business!
Bosomworth, Danyl. 7 Big questions to drive consumer engagement. Smart Insights. 9 November 2013. http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/customer-retention-strategy/7-questions-to-drive-customer-engagement
Hemley, Debbie. 26 Tips for Managing a Social Media Community. Social Media Examiner. 16 July 2012. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-community-management/
O’Boyle, Ed. Three Ways to Engage Consumers on Social Media. The Gallup Blog. 25 June 2014. http://thegallupblog.gallup.com/2014/06/three-ways-to-engage-consumers-on.html
Van Bellegham, Steven. How to engage positively with customers through social media. The Guardian. 29 May 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/may/29/engaging-with-customers-social-media
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