One characteristic commonly found among both growing and legacy brands is customer-centricity. Focusing on building great customer relationships is a huge part of the customer-centric approach. It’s the reason why brands like Amazon, that focus on customer centricity so much (their mantra is to be “the most customer-centric company”) do so well. They do this by focusing on building great customer relationships, helping their customers make the most out of their services, creating detailed customer relationship reports, and have a delightful experience overall.
Over the last decade, social media platforms have risen in popularity and made it easier for brands to interact with their customers. Hence they present a huge opportunity for Entrepreneurs and Brands who can leverage engagement on these platforms to nurture stronger customer relationships.
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss strategies and tips to build great customer relationships using social media. But first, here’s why we think Social media is one of the best channels to maintain post-purchase customer engagement and relationships.
Why Use Social Media For Customer Relationships?
Social media facilitates one-to-many engagements, which is why customers use it to gather attention for problems they’re facing. A Forrester report found a YoY increase of 70% in people using Twitter for customer support in 2015.
Apart from being your customer’s choice channel to interact with you, social media’s one-to-many nature also helps you widen your reach. During a time when brands are finding it difficult to grow their audience, using social media to tend to customer problems enables you to build an audience while at it.
Social media platforms also help you engage with your customers in real-time, which reduces the turnaround for support and service communications. This in turn improves your customer experience and helps you increase brand recall and retention. Both of which are essential to get a brand to grow sustainably.
Now that we’ve learned how essential social media is to manage customer relationships, let’s explore a few strategies that help you do it better.
7 Tips To Use Social Media To Grow Customer Relationship
1. Be quick to respond to queries
Social media platforms are quick to notify users on engagement and mentions, which makes it easier for brands to respond earlier. Leveraging this and responding quickly not only helps reinforce trust but also limits the blowback from an unsatisfied customer as the reach of their post keeps going up. Early responses also help customers solve their time-sensitive problems, saving them the trouble and making it easier to stick with your product. In fact, the speed at which you act on queries can make or break an experience. Consider this: in a recent survey conducted by Hiver, 37% of consumers stated that timely resolution of queries is what makes up a ‘good customer service experience’.
Here’s an example of Elon Musk (CEO & Chairman of Tesla Motors) helping out a customer with one such problem and providing them with a solution within an hour of the tweet.
If there is anyone in the third row, turn off air recirculation. Third row cooling happens by air entering from the front and exiting through the vents in the rear bumper.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2018
2. Address both current and future users in a query
Another advantage social media has is visibility. When you’re solving customer concerns over the phone or email, no one else really sees them. But when you get queries over social media platforms, they’re visible to everyone. A lot of times, users with problems will end up on an old tweet where others mentioned it while Googling for solutions. This is why you should ensure your response to a query doesn’t just help one person, but for anyone who might have the same problems, including non-users/customers.
Doing this helps current and future customers be more confident about their purchase decision even if there are many other external factors at play. It also enables them to know your product better, and be advocates and evangelists for your brand. Another tweet from Elon Musk in response to a query regarding running games on Tesla cars is a great example of this:
There’s more storage now & easily upgradable
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
3. Follow-up after a resolution
Another good practice followed on emails and phone support is follow-ups. Follow-ups are a crucial part of customer relationship building, they help you keep a check on your customers and help them out if needed. Keeping a track of conversations on social media platforms isn’t as simple as an email, chat, phone, and remote customer support but with social media tools and services, it’s getting easier. Follow-ups from brands can increase engagement among customers, gain better insights and feedback apart from helping customers solve their problems.
Very sorry about it. I will let our our team follow up ASAP. Thank you!
— Eric S. Yuan (@ericsyuan) October 14, 2020
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan in the above example made sure that the customer who tweeted out regarding unresponsive sales service was followed up with. A great example showing leadership’s concern about customers and escalation of issues to be followed up with, creating a good impression among others and retaining the customer.
4. Optimize for word of mouth
When posting responses for customer queries on social media platforms, know that it could also be a great way to market your products. Building presence on these platforms with a distinct identity helps you both build engagement and differentiate yourself. Doing this helps you generate Word of Mouth, and it’s a great way to generate buzz and marketing your products.
Word-of-Mouth marketing has been around for a while, but Social media channels enable entrepreneurs to do it much more efficiently. One of the ways to go about it is by attaching quirks and jokes to your responses, in a way that ties back to your product. Companies like Dbrand and Wendy’s are perfect examples of this.
Source: Wendy’s Instagram
In the above example, Wendy’s made sure to respond to a user’s comment regarding them switching to competing products until they’re replied to. Although put out in the spirit of humor, Wendy’s makes sure to respond to this user, which makes it a memorable story worth sharing, while getting to reduce churn and retain customers for longer.
5. Share your stories
When putting out engaging content on your social channels, sharing stories helps you connect better with your audience. Stories help you relate with your customers better and shape your identity. They also enable your customers to spread the word about you, since stories make for great conversation starters and help more people know about you. Just don’t forget that every social media has its own image and video requirements for stories. Stick to these dimensions to make quality posts.
Read the full thread on r/Entrepreneur
In the above example, the founder has shared how he optimized his software product to be highly profitable. It’s posted in the r/Entrepreneur community, where users like to hear of such stories and learn from them. The founder has also mentioned his company, which makes it easier for the users to recollect the story (for eg., the company with low server bills).
6. Engage with customers’ content
Engaging with user-generated content on social media platforms is another great way to build on customer relationships and engagement. If your product has a sizable audience and has users posting good content on social media channels- engaging with their content exposes these posts to a much larger audience. Customers whose posts you engage with also feel appreciated and connect with you in a deeper, more intimate way. Something like this wouldn’t be possible over traditional communication channels, which is what makes social media channels special.
The above example from Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom is a good example of this. A user who posted their experience with Zoom had their post liked by Eric, and in turn, the post shows up on Eric’s Linkedin timeline and all his followers. Not only is it good content, but it’s trustworthy too — given that it’s coming from a customer.
7. Highlight your product competence
There’ll be times when your customers come up and question your product’s quality and value. Look at such queries as customers willing to buy from you, but at the same time wanting to justify the purchase to themselves. Use that as an opportunity to explain your product’s value specific to the user’s needs so as to help them make an informed, more confident decision regarding the purchase.
Check out the detail on the thread
Patrick Coddou, the founder of Supply, did just that when a Redditor said the blades seemed too expensive. In his response to the user, he mentioned that there’s a bunch of products bundled for the price, apart from all the products being handmade in America. This helped justify the higher than usual pricing while solving the original concern regarding the contents of the kit.
Respond Quick & Leverage For Marketing
Social media was supposed to be more of a marketing channel for brands, than a support and relationship-building tool. As an example, YouTubers grow huge followings and make obscene amounts of cash with their established brands. But as more and more customers are interacting with brands on Social media, it eventually has made way for brands to get creative with their approach.
The multi-faceted nature of social media enables growing brands and entrepreneurs to make the most out of their engagements with users and customers online. Hence ensuring you get back to your queries on time, and treating it as more of a marketing channel, you can both retain your customers for longer and attract new ones.