People aren’t on social media sites to shop. They’re there to socialize. That explains why retailers are finding that social networks don’t produce click-throughs to their shopping sites. It also explains why many retailers are finding it difficult to see the ROI in social media.
But the benefit is there. You just have to look beyond today’s bottom line to see tomorrow’s gain. The true benefit of maintaining a social media presence lies in capturing the attention of potential customers while maintaining the loyalty of current ones.
Talk isn’t cheap
Word of mouth fuels shoppers’ decision-making processes. When contemplating a purchase, buyers turn to social media to learn where others are spending their time and money.
Tell a friend: When individuals interact with you on a social media site, their activity is visible to their networks. When they check in on Foursquare, comment on your status or retweet your post, it signals to others that they’re a believer in your brand.
Advertising you can’t buy: Studies have shown that recommendations from consumers are the most trusted form of advertising. Prospective shoppers are actively looking for this type of information. So, give your customers the opportunity to share their experiences with your products and services.
Go where your customers are
There’s no shortage of social media sites these days. Don’t assume because Facebook is the biggest that it’s the obvious path to take. A close look at what you’re trying to achieve will help you find the site best suited for your endeavor.
Choose your platform wisely: Each social media platform serves a different purpose. Facebook is where people go to talk and be heard. Twitter is where they get their up-to-the-minute information. Pinterest is where they get their ideas. And that’s just three of the big players in the game. Tailoring your efforts to each site will give you the most successful outcome.
Get off site: Don’t expect customers to come to you. Meet them where they are. If you’re only talking on your own website, you’re missing the big picture. Get your name and content out there so that you can reach new customers. One way you can accomplish this is by posting on Facebook pages relevant to your brand. You could also start and promote a blog.
Social media at your service
The number of people using social media is growing across all demographics. And these users not only want but expect that you’ll be available to them.
Question, answer: Just as you wouldn’t ignore the phone ringing, don’t ignore the consumer reaching out to you online. If you’re going to operate on social networks, you need to have a plan in place to answer questions and offer feedback in a timely fashion. If not, you’ll just be doing more harm than good.
Oil the squeaky wheel: Engagement through social media allows retailers another chance to provide positive customer service. When customers are unsatisfied, they’re quick to vent their frustration online. Address the situation promptly and ask for ways to correct it. Not only will it help mend the relationship with the angry customer, but others will see your prompt customer service.
By being there to meet your customers’ needs online, it shows them that you’ll be just as reliable offline. It’s these relationships that will turn into the sales you were looking for in the first place.