“Social media is about the people. Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” – Matt Goulart
It would be hard to find a marketing expert and a company that do not believe in connecting with customers on social media. With the surge and its popularity, not using it would seem to be a highly imprudent move on the part of a company – irrespective of size. While there may be some time and effort required to build and sustain a social media, the benefits from a social presence far outweigh any investment. Among the benefits of connecting with customers on social media, is that a company can build and maintain a relationship with customers beyond just the business realm and know a lot more about its customers. A study revealed that at least 37% people that use social media, search this medium to find out about companies, brands, and or services, before they actually make a buying decision.
While interacting with customers, it may not always be possible to know anything about their personal lives. By connecting with customers on social media, companies gain access to a lot more information about them including personal likes, preferences, hobbies, and other such valuable information. This data when collected, collated, and used effectively, would allow companies to customized products and services, and personalize their interactions with customers. Customers love to feel special and when they perceive products and service tailor-made for them, their affiliation and engagement, with a company that gives them this, increases. Hence, while connecting with customers on social media has business advantages, it also helps companies reach out to customers in a humane and friendly manner. The great part about connecting with customers on social media is that not only can a company keep in touch with existing customers over several different channels, but also reach out to an extensive potential customer base, without the high costs of advertising and promotions.
Through social media, companies extend their reach by connecting not just with customers, but have the ability to connect with the ‘connections’ and friends of these customers. This is a great way to increase opportunities for a sale – considering that these ‘connections’ are of customers that currently use the company’s offerings (and hopefully like them), a company would find it easier to convince their associates and friends. The larger number of people that become ‘educated’ and aware of your company, the greater the chances of conversions and publicity. It also becomes easier for a company to find new customers – a simple post, article, information about new products and or special discounts, have the potential to attract new people towards knowing more about your company. Every query has the potential to become a new customer and every new customer can bring in many more customers.
A company can add a different angle / personality to itself on its social pages and by connecting with customers on social media, this special ‘character’ would be displayed to them, thereby showing them a different side of your business. The more human and personal a company can show itself, the better are its chances of forming deeper and more meaningful connections with customers. This in turn makes a company stand out and differentiate itself from its competitors – so essential in todays overcrowded and noisy ‘marketplace’. In fact, via social media a company can amply display its company’s culture and values – a robust and effective addition to its business dealings and website. Customers love companies that are transparent and open about who they are – it makes companies more likeable and trustworthy. When customers like and trust a company, it is highly improbable that they would leave it for anyone else and would make an effort to keep the relationship happy and successful for a long time. Surveys have shown that customer experiences and awareness are the top two factors for customers to decide in favour of a company – pricing is conspicuous by its absence!
Given that, most smart devices and mobile devices now support all kinds of programs and applications, customers very often access the social media pages of companies through them. By connecting with customers on social media, your company would be more easily ‘searched’ and ‘found’ by customers – rather than if the company only had an online presence in the form of a website. Customers are lot more connected through social media as they would receive updates about things that interest them from the business associates, friends, family, and others they may be connected with. It is also easier, through social media, to provide personal recommendations for offerings that might suit their needs and current requirements. By keeping a watch on what customers search for, share, and like, a company would be able to help them by sending relevant information in the future too. This increases feelings of openness and affinity – customers come to depend on companies that seem to know what they want even before they ask.
Connecting with customers on social media lends a feeling of comfort – a sense of belonging and knowing that the company they associate with or plan to do business with, operates within the same circles of people and friends. These feelings can make customers genuinely like a company and over time turn some of them in to the most loyal and enthusiastic brand advocates. It is every company’s responsibility to ensure that the business thrives and having enduring and strong relationships with customers is integral to the growth of the business. By connecting with customers on social media, a company can know its customers at a personal level and share its own experiences and values with them. Finding an alignment between the company’s values and the preferences of customers is a lot easier in an informal setting such as social media platforms. We do not mean that a company or its representatives become over familiar or cross the acceptable lines in customer relationships – that could have the opposite effect on customers.
It is always a good option to have more than one channel of communication with customers and by choosing some of the social media platforms, a company can reach out to a much larger cross section of target and existing customers. The idea is build relationships that will endure and last even in crisis and tough times. A company must constantly be aware of whether it is doing enough to ensure that its customers will come back, whether they are happy in the relationship, and what would keep them in the relationship. Through connecting with customers on social media, a company is also able to publicly thank and ‘reward’ their best customers – not only is this publicity for the great work done by the company, customers too get free publicity for their company and business.
For some, social media is what will give businesses the boost they need, while others probably still consider it an ephemeral entity that will fade with time. The fact is that since no one can predict the future, in the present having a social presence and connecting with customers on social media is one of the best business ideas. Businesses can share content and information with millions of readers at the click of a button – reaching such a large audience with no added costs is certainly one of the best benefits of social media.
By connecting with customers on social media, a company can strengthen and add focus to the existing relationships it has with its many customers. These customers are a great source of information and have the potential to increase a company’s business through passing on information about the company, sharing the content and product information, and letting others know of the great service they receive. A single positive comment can reach potentially millions of readers, making social media an extremely powerful and potent tool. Are you still sceptical about connecting with customers on social media?