You know that social media has the power to amplify everything you say about your business. But there's a flipside: it also amplifies everything your customers say. While this lack of control might seem like a cause for concern, it's actually a great opportunity to leverage your customers as brand advocates.
Some of the most effective marketing you can do is good old word-of-mouth. When happy customers spread the word about your business, new customers will soon be knocking at your door.
Thanks to the speed of social media, word-of-mouth now works faster than ever. Here are four ways to generate it from your customers.
1. Reward loyalty.
Make sure your customers know that you value their business. Even a simple "Thanks for your business" can make a difference. Tactical tools such as loyalty cards or discounts are great, but they're even better when offered in conjunction with face-to-face gratitude. If you're feeling confident on social channels, try recognizing your most loyal customers on Facebook or Twitter with a special "customer of the week" feature and discount just for them.
2. Embrace the good and the bad.
People tend to share extremely positive or extremely negative customer service experiences. However, some of the most compelling stories arise from companies responding to bad customer experiences effectively. If someone shares a negative story about your company online, respond to their complaint, do everything possible to remedy the situation, and communicate what you're doing. Think of complaints as opportunities to improve customer relations and earn more word-of-mouth.
3. Get more social.
Apps like FourSquare, Yelp! and Open Table to name a few, allow customers to leave real-time reviews about your business. Make sure you know what people are saying about you on these forums, and respond appropriately. Better yet, become an active presence yourself, thanking people for positive reviews, responding to concerns, or even offering discounts or promotions for users. To encourage reviews, you can add buttons to your website which link directly to these sites.
4. Give customers something to talk about.
Neutral sentiment does nothing to further your brand. Customers don't talk about 'average' experiences with brands. What they'll remember—and share with others—is how your company goes above and beyond to make customer interactions easy and pleasant. Check out these "10 Examples of Shockingly Excellent Customer Service" for some inspiration!
By managing relationships with your customers effectively, you can turn them into marketers for your brand, as well as keeping them happy and satisfied. Want a few more tips on building a human megaphone for your business? Click here.