Gaining popularity by the day, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are now being integrated into many business’ marketing and customer service strategies. For example, Comcast, JetBlue, Southwest, Whole Foods, and Zappos are among the many businesses that now offer customer service support via Twitter. On Twitter, JetBlue has an astonishing 1.6 million followers, while Southwest is following closely behind with 1.1 million. Whole Foods has surpassed both with over 1.9 million followers (estimates). Comcast has recently gained the public’s attention for its participation in offering real-time answers and support to concerns or complaints from customers.
If your business has decided to join the social media community, there are a few key things you should keep in mind before expecting this marketing tool to transform your entire business.
1) Be active.
If you are going to have an online presence on Twitter or Facebook, actively participate and post/tweet on a regular basis. There is nothing worse than following a page that hasn’t been updated in 3 months.
2) Make the posts count.
While your family may care where you are and what you are doing every second of the day, chances are your customers or clients really don’t. Avoid spouting excessive posts that really don’t offer any relevant information to your followers. If you are tweeting 10 times a day about every little detail, your followers may get turned off and quit following you. Create a separate account for personal usage.
Your tweet can be 140 characters. Therefore, each word should be well thought out. Don’t tweet just to tweet. Instead, give your customers a sneak peek into the new line of shoes coming out. Or offer them exclusive coupons or promo codes. Make sure that your message is one with substance and that it’s important enough to grab the reader’s attention.
3) Be personal.
Don’t make the mistake of responding with automated messages. Perhaps this is just my personal pet peeve, but I find that many would agree that an automated message to a complaint or inquiry is useless. If your response is something I could have found on my own on your website, then it’s not personal enough. Make sure there is a real person providing real thought behind each response and message.
4) Offer fast responses.
If you are using Twitter as a form of customer service, chances are the person who asked the question is expecting a relatively fast response. If they wanted to wait hours or days, they would have e-mailed or phoned in. If you are unsure of the answer at that time, still offer a prompt response promising an answer within a certain amount of time.
5) Send two messages.
If you are using Twitter to reduce the time one of your employees spends on customer service, how does sending two messages make sense? Well, the first message should be the public response that you have offered the person. However, don’t stop there. Be sure to send an e-mail or message to get more information to handle the situation properly.
Don’t spend all of your time promoting your products with over the top messages. Your followers may think it is corny and too blunt. Instead, spend a great deal of your time listening in on the conversations that others are having about your company. You can use this as a feedback tool to change current policies or implement new ones.
7) Stick to your specialty.
If you are a television cable company, don’t start tweeting about Taylor Swift’s new hairdo unless it has some direct connection to your business. There is one specific reason why someone has decided to follow you: They are interested in your business. Therefore, they want to see posts related to that. Avoid spending time on irrelevant posts that may confuse your followers.
Many of the aforementioned businesses have successfully integrated promotions or previews into their Twitter feed. However, they also spend a great deal of time listening, which is extremely important. They then use this feedback to offer resolutions. Before you start tweeting your careless thoughts away, be sure to carefully plan each post and response. Because social media offers the potential to reach millions of people daily, you want to be sure you are sending the right message.
About Andrew Jensen & his Optimization Strategies for Success™
As a business efficiency expert, Andrew helps small to mid sized businesses, start-up companies & nonprofit organizations thrive through developing and implementing business optimization strategies. Andrew’s efficiency consulting addresses the entire scope of a business: its processes, customer service, management, employees, marketing, public relations, and communication. His goal with each client is steady improvement, from the perspective of cutting costs as well as increasing value. Contact Andrew to begin a thorough critique of your business operations. Begin your company’s improvement journey today.