Your clients are social! Will you get engaged (and how)?

I recently went through an interesting article on Social Media Today compiling some interesting data and statistics about customer service and social media I would sum up one ot these statistics in a simple manner: people have an important use of the web. OK, I agree, nothing to be surprised about but…

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… when you consider that they can spend a significant amount of their time on internet, then you have to face that reality: your customers have a great chance to be on social media. So if you have something wrong to apologize for… You can be pretty sure that they’ll have something to tell about it… or they already did!  Are you ready to live a great love affair with them or not? What can you do to deal with it?

#1 Be present!

Even if you don’t have the dreamt resources to do it, you have to be out there. Otherwise, your reputation will be on hold by a few customers you might have apologized to, helped if you’re lucky and creative… And you even might might benefit from something unexpected: an angry customer becoming a thanking and faithful customer!

Customer relationship is a relationship. It’s not a one night stand! You have to be commited, take care of your customers, make them feel important and unique (see below a few examples of engagement). In other words, love and cherish them for what they are: your most important stakeholders to make a living… and the ambassadors that can help you to attract new ones!

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Then you easily understand that when I say be present… it’s also to be in the present! you can’t afford to let people posting things and considering that it has not yet reached a level that requires action. You have to do something, from the moment you sold them something or you plan to do it!

Have a look at what Michel et Augustin a Paris based brand organizes on regular basis: meetings with its customers in their headquarter (named La Bananeraie) in order to taste their cookies. Not only it is important to be in real-time, but also to be in real world and create connections!

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But how can you proceed in order to develop such connection between your brand and services and your customers and create this possibility of a great customer experience… even when you’re facing difficulties?

#2 Monitor and listen

One of the best way to do it is to monitor what can be said on your brand. There are a lot of solutions nowadays; Personnally I’ve been using quite a few for big companies with budget to do so: Synthesio, Digimind, Meltwater of course are really interesting tools. Of course the list can be more detailed: from Sprinklr, to Falcon Social, Radian 6 or Sysomos… I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of such tools and services providers… But what to do when you don’t have a budget? Stop trying to collect information and data about your brand or products?

Many platforms can be used for free. From the traditionnal Google Alerts, to Tweetdeck… But at some point, you will require to use more “systematic” tools that allow you not only to collect information but also to analyze it at one glance…

All this of course depending on what you are looking and what you are expecting… Is you priority only to be a fireman when something goes wrong? Or do you want to embrace the full opportunities that social media can bring to you like: analyzing your competitors moves (and sometimes difficulties), understanding other topics in which your customers are interested, finding new ways through best practices…

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But if monitoring and social media listening are to me the cornestone of your plan, you can’t reduce your commitment to this “back office plan”. At some point you have to go public and confront with your customers.

#3 Engage with them!

I’m not going to detail all the possible rules of engagement or ways to engage with your customers. But when it comes to what you define as customer service, don’t forget that for your customers it goes beyond the service! They are willing to have a good service… because they are living their own customer experience!

In other words what you think is just a service with dedicated procedures and actions is far more than that. You create what your customers will remember from you.

So if you want to engage… Do it like a pro! Ask for the information you don’t have in order to really solve their problems!

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Apologize, correct what’s going wrong and let people know you’ve done your part!

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Share the feedbacks if you have some!

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And then… repeat! 🙂

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And you, how do you deal with your customers satisfaction?

Social media content: exclusive doesn’t mean to exclude

I discovered this morning a briliant video posted on the Nike’s YouTube channel. I was recently attending to Azur Digital Day in Nice French Riviera (actually last week… and time flies I don’t have yet made a short digest of this conference on my blog… soon, soon!) during which  vice president of TBWA’s Europe explained that exclusivity was a good leverage to create shareable content (along with ego and experience).

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This video of Nike is really interesting and seems to use a good angle to create differenciated content. What if we decide to speak to all the people who are not sports stars? Those who are not the front runners? Have a look at it!

 

In other words, there is only one winner… But what about all the followers? We’ve all seen videos form sports brands claiming how unique was the brand in helping sports stars to achieve their goals, or to overcome their defeats and losses…

 

This video doesn’t focus on the winners. We are not all front runners. So are we doomed and must be exclusively seen as loosers? Are we exluded from this feeling of having the power to overcome some difficulties? No because, finally, you just have to do it because you want to do it, even if it is a matter of resitance and pain while you’re running. You are somone, entitled to enjoy your own moment of satisfaction and therefore, being a finisher or a “doer” are thinks that make you part of this exclusivity! This content has been design to target exclusively those who are not the most accomplished participants… and naturally speaks to our ego and is definitely about experience.

Because competition implies there is a ranking… But when it comes to the field of running, we are not speaking of loosers, but the last to arrive is also the one who is the last one standing! You become exclusive because the brand cares for you and your efforts no matter what is your ranking… “just do it” 😉

PS: I just came back from a difficult run when I saw this video. Thanks Nike for reminding me that the most important is to participate 😉

Social media engagement: do not think your community exists, you have to create it!

I’ve been writing a few times that content has to be designed according to the expectations of your customers. Easy to say no? I must admit we need to go a little deeper in this!

Share content expected by your community… once you know your community! What all this imply for someone who wants to take the leap of social media engagement on behalf of his company?

Identify your potential community…

It’s not only about gathering and getting new followers. You have to engage with them if you want to reach them. But before that you have to think of what people can really be valuable for your business… and as a result think of what valuable information you can bring to them.

Creating a contest with great prizes is generally used to do so. Yet people might want to win the contest because of the prize, not because it is you or your company that is giving the prize. In other words, you’ll have a huge amount of people who could connect with your social media account, with no future intentions of receiving any other things from you except this super travel you want to offer to them at the moment!

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Finally, If of course I can be really interested in travelling to South Africa, it is required to consider to what extent the community created around this event is really valuable or not. Of course, some will definitely go to South Africa one day, but the rest of it might be more opportunistic and would just have traveled there because they have won the price, not because they dream of it.

Speaking of dreams, it shows how important are emotions on social media as soon as you want to create a community. Sharing pictures on behalf of a company aims at creating emotions. Amex for instance shares pictures from concerts, fashion défilé etc…:

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Amex strategy is interesting because it its instagram account shows also events in which some of its customers are invited. So if you want to be part of the club, think of Amex! 🙂

Because in the end if you for instance intend to raise the awareness of your customers or of potential customers about your brand, the message can’t be only reduced to the products you are selling. You have to think for your community, before your own interest!

then you create your community!

Once you have defined a few ideas about what you think your community can be. You’ll create it: by sharing, listening, engaging, answering to their remarks, expectations, will, etc…

By doing it frequently but above all, accurately this will show you are committed to bring valuable information and discussions to these people. Since sharing content and information is key in every single content strategy you might design. You can’t afford to only fire and forgot a content when it suits you once in a while.

You have to be active, not only because algorithm are what they are, but above all because your community exists around the information you share and the interactions (RTs and favs for Twitter, Likes and share on Facebook, etc…) discussions that are linked to it. You create something with them, there must be a reaction. Like in this video for instance:

Accurately also means that you know when this activity happens!  I usually escape every article claiming that the key in terms of digital brand strategy is key moments to post. Of course there are some moments during which your community might be more connected. It implies that you know your community first! And then you might be able to determine what are the best moments to post your content.

As a conclusion I would add that again, all this implies that you are able to listen (see one of my previous post on that topic), understand, accept and react to your community comments and expectations. But relax, isn’t it what we do in real life?