October 22, 2014

Have your customers written rave reviews about your business or products? Have they done the happy dance when you solved their problem? Have they referred you to everyone they know? Have they given you a big (virtual or real-life) hug?

If they have, then you're doing it right! If they haven't, you can create that relationship. But to do this, you have to be invaluable to your customers. You have to be the company, person, or group that solves their biggest issues. You have to make their lives (or jobs) easier.

When you solve a problem, make something run smoother, provide an easier alternative, offer a resource, or make them look good, people will automatically appreciate you.

The more often you do this, the more valuable you become!

But how can you use social media to help forge this relationship?

Find Out Your Customers' Pain Points

First of all, you need to know what your customers' pain points are. You need to know what they struggle with. You need to know what they want answers to. This is why it is so important to know (like, really know) your target audience. Once you know this, you can target your social media efforts to address these issues.

If you know your target audience (demographic, geographical locations, financial status, customer base, interests, and more), you should be able to know what their biggest challenges are.

But sometimes, you need a little more information. You can go through your FAQs on your website. Talk to your customer service team about what the most common issues are. Talk to your customers directly - in your store, on the phone, in email communications - and ask them.

And, you can ask them on social media. I just offer this cautiously. You should not regularly be asking your social media audience what they want. You should know, and you should provide it. But, every now and then, it doesn't hurt to ask, just to be sure. But don't just ask something like "what do you want?" Take the time to put together a couple options of a solution, or suggestions for improvements to your product and service, and ask your social media audience which one they would prefer.

Stop Making It About You

Social media is a place to connect with your customers. Here's a news flash for you: they aren't checking out your Facebook page to see what new sale you landed. They aren't following you on Twitter to see what you ate for breakfast.

Stop making social media about you!

It's about them - your customers. What do they want? How does what you do help them? What's in it for them?

Yes, you can show what you do, or how you do it, or explain why you do it. IF... If it helps them understand your brand. If it helps them make sense of what you do. If it helps them understand how your product or service works. If it is a benefit to them to know.

Become an Endless Resource

Social media provides such a huge ability to share information. A lot of information. And, guess what? Your audience wants -- and needs - more information. But, it has to be relevant, helpful, and informative information.

They don't need more cat memes, more quizzes, or more fluff.

They need useful information. It's up to you to know what this is and to share it endlessly.

It could be articles, tips, links, videos, podcasts, infographics, checklists, and more. But it needs to be related to your business or industry and to your customers. Some if it can (and should) be your own, unique content. But a lot of it will come from other sources - other blogs, major news sources, and others in your industry.

Here's a secret - sharing other people's content actually makes you look better! It shows your confidence in your business and that you're open to other perspectives.

Share this information as often as possible, letting your audience know that they can always come to you for answers.

Respond to Customer Comments

Personally, I think you should respond to each and every comment, request, and question (except maybe those from trolls).

Yes, I said every. single. one.

Because, people want to talk to you. If they commented on your social media post, posted on your profile, asked you a question, responded to your question, then they want to talk to you. Ignoring them tells them they aren't important. That they don't matter to you.

And if they don't matter to you, you won't matter to them.

It's that simple.

So take the time, the effort, and the interest to actually respond to your audience on social media. Thank them, offer a suggestion, answer their question, provide a solution - engage in a real conversation.

Be More Than a Business

Taking the responsiveness one step further, be more than just a business. Drop the canned responses, the corporate speak, and the non-committal answers. Be a freakin' human and "talk" to the person, as a person.

Show some personality. Inject humor when appropriate. Use an emoji or smiley face. Make a reference to something trendy or tangible. Show sympathy - for real. Go a step above in resolving an issue.

Chances are you've seen the "viral" stories of successful customer service or social media responses. Are they ever the boring, canned, corporate responses? No, they aren't. And it's these unique, friendly, personal approaches to social media that create raving fans - and make your company invaluable to your customers.

 

There are numerous ways your individual business can get personal and leverage social media to benefit you and your customers. Becoming invaluable to your customers will depend on your customers, your business, and what you do.

If you would like more help determining how to determine what will work for you on social media, contact me. We can work out all of that information based on your business.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Realizing it is not about You but about Them most certainly puts you on the right path! What I have also started doing is when I get a rave email or comment, if I know they are on social media, I ask if they would be willing to write a review/endorsement. I used to balk at doing this until I discovered that when my clients are happy, they want to do it! haha I have only done this a few times so far, but think I will continue the practice!

    1. Thanks Kim! And I think that’s a GREAT idea to get those referral/testimonial comments! Keep doing it – like you said, most of the time, they’re happy to support you 🙂

  2. Wow Jenn, Kudos on this post.
    You are soo right here about going above and beyond! I love what you say about being more than a busisness. I like to think that I am not only professional but also a human being with humor

    Recently I started work for Rebekah Radice after she made her Facebook page and I suggested a custom and bespoke facebook tab for it. Naturally she loved it and thanked me!

    Well as I am in the UK and RR in Califonia I decided to go above and beyond and surprise her be taking the time to create a second bespoke tab on her page showing her latest blog posts! I made sure to do this when it was something like 4am californian time so as to surprise her that following morning!
    Naturally Rebekah was surprised and loved what I did so duly wrote a testimonial on my page that I also show off on my own website!

    I would also add though that eople should be honest and transparent about their bussinesses and skillsets! I have been designing and developing websites and apps now for 14 or so years so a lot of time and effort I have put in to learn my skills. However I have learned to say No to people.
    For example I was having a skype chat with someone just the other day who wanted to hire me for some coding work. Naturally I said that would be fine but I would have to have a look at the files first. He explained to me that it was just parsing some XML into PHP variables. which for me is quite simple. However after looking at all of the files of code (10 in total) I concluded that it is a lot of work to be done in the timescale and I thought it was beyond my skillset!

    Naturally I said no but I can imagine that another webdev would say yes just to get the work and of course earn the money. I said NO to this guy because I wanted to be honest and not waste both his (or my) time and also let him down by not delivering on time and doing a shoddy job!

    It’s good to say yes and go above and beyond the initail breif of your client (as I did with Rebekah) as that what builds our reputation but we also need to be honest about what we can and cannot do! People need to learn to say no to customers when they cannot deliver as I did the other day. I now have time to learn these new skills and not worry about if I am doing a good job for my client.

    I love my clients and the testimonials they leave for me as it refelcts my reputation as an honest and transparent webdev and blogger!
    Thank you Jenn for this post I really did enjoy reading it. Tweeting now.

    – Phillip

    1. Thanks Phillip! I’m so happy you enjoyed this post. And you are absolutely right that knowing your limits is another significant key to success. Customers respect our ability to know when something isn’t right for us (and even better if we can refer someone who can do it) then to do it and do it poorly.
      I did see Rebekah’s comments of gratitude for the work you did too 🙂

      1. Yea she was very appreciative of the work! Hoping to do more in the future for her!
        Another thing I would mention is to push our limits and expand out knowledge to become more useful to our client base!
        I am currently studying for my Zend Engineer Exam in PHP so again am pushing my limits and will hopefully become more useful to my clients!
        Thanks again.
        – PD

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