If you want people to discover, talk about, and trust your brand, try taking advantage of social media to support your customers and start a worthwhile conversation with them. Social media is the new “word of mouth,” so it’s important to educate your readers and provide outstanding customer service in whatever ways you can. Here are eight steps you can take to make your business a trustworthy authority in your industry.
1. Be transparent.
Social media fosters a culture of transparency, so it would be useless to resist that culture. Customers will inevitably talk about your business online, so your best move is to guide the conversation rather than ignore it, particularly when the customer comments are negative. By navigating the online dialogue, you can avoid disaster and increase customer engagement at the same time.
2. Survey your readers.
A customer survey can be as simple as writing a post on your Facebook fan page to ask your followers what kinds of services they’d like to see next. Alternatively, you can craft a survey and send it to random customers to poll them on their recent experiences with your business. Doing so demonstrates to your readers that you care about their opinions, and you’ll receive valuable feedback in the process.
3. Provide outstanding customer service.
Even when customers report bad experiences with a product, there is still the opportunity for you to react quickly and professionally via social media. By addressing customer complaints in a responsive way, you can pave the way for positive testimonials. Consumers gravitate toward businesses that stand behind their missions and values.
4. Practice social responsibility.
As a business, give back to the community. Any nonprofit organization will appreciate a monetary donation, and your time has even more value. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, clothing drive, or mentoring program. Initiate a fundraiser for a group that your business supports. Then upload photos of these events to your social media pages. Customers respond positively to companies that care.
5. Keep your promises.
If you commit to something, always follow through with your actions. Great leaders deliver results. Fulfill your promises whether your commitments are to your employees, business partners, customers, or community.
6. Educate your audience.
Build a mailing list and email newsletters to inform readers about your brand. Retweet relevant articles from other businesses within your industry on Twitter. Reference case studies if they are applicable to your point. Post videos that demonstrate how to use your product. Be creative.
7. Be consistent with your posts and responses.
If you wait weeks between one Facebook post and the next, then you risk losing credibility. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to create new content right away, you can still post articles and blogs from other companies in your industry that aren’t competing with you. You can also ask thought-provoking questions of your audience to ignite discussion. Also, it’s just as important to respond to your readers’ posts, comments, and emails regularly. Be part of the conversation.
8. Connect with other companies and organizations.
Business-to-business (B2B) communication is critical to developing trust. Social media makes B2B dialogue easy by closing the geographical gaps. When you connect with industry leaders and partner with other like-minded businesses for charity and networking events, you invoke confidence in your brand. Consumers trust brands that achieve social change and are actively involved in their industry.
By being involved in your local and business communities, you increase consumer trust and loyalty to your brand. Social media marketing can be leveraged to enhance your brand and connect you with the people that matter most — your customers.