You know your business needs a strong social media presence—there were 100 articles you read in 2016 alone that told you that. And we can all agree that social media can positively impact on your bottom line, whether it’s by reaching a larger audience, driving sales, or engaging your current customers.
It’s easy to feel like social media marketing is time consuming and expensive, but if you’re looking for tips and hacks on how to increase likes, comments, shares, and clicks, you won’t find them here. Instead, we’ve rounded up a list of social media benefits that you probably haven’t heard of—yet.
1. Discover Your Customers’ Problems, Pain Points, and Frustrations
Over the years, social media networks—particularly Facebook and Twitter—have morphed into a quasi customer service line. Visit any company’s social page and you’ll find customer comments about the problems they are experiencing, what they like about the product or service, and of course, what they really don’t like.
Don’t ignore these comments from your customers or get frustrated by them. Use it as an opportunity to assess the severity of the issue and begin prioritizing common complaints based on their frequency. Social media provides a direct window into how your customer is interacting with your product or service. Not only can you improve your service based on these insights, but you can get a glimpse into what new features you could implement based on your customers’ needs.
2. Follow Your Competitors’ New Updates, Strategy, and Weaknesses
You can also apply the above technique to your competition to discover their weaknesses based on their customer feedback on Facebook and Twitter. You may even realize that your product or service offers something that they don’t, which gives you an opportunity to differentiate or position yourself as a superior choice in the market.
Make this information clear on your website or within your customer interactions. When you can explain how your product or service is better or different than that of your competitors, you’re one step closer to solving a customer’s problem instead of simply selling them a product. And that will help gain their trust.
Following a competitor’s social media is also a way to make sure they’re not moving faster than you or are offering a superior experience. Analyze and assess their strategy—get familiar enough with it and you may be able to predict their next move.
3. Follow Industry Leaders and Build Relationships
Some would argue that the best use of social media is for networking. And it’s no different for you, especially as a business owner. At the very least, make your industry leaders aware of your presence. Let them know that you’re not just any old social media user—you’re someone who’s passionate about the industry. Here are a few ways you can strike up a natural conversation:
- Set up a Google alert or track them on BuzzSumo so that when they are mentioned online you can strike up a private conversation on Facebook or Twitter about their latest news.
- Like their Facebook page and make suggestions for improvements or solutions that will strengthen their customers’ experiences.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn and participate in groups in which they’re already active. Comment in the same threads so they see your name consistently.
- Write a post on your blog and mention their service or product with a link to their website. Share that post on your Twitter account and tag them, then send them a message about it with the link to your post.
Once you’ve established a connection digitally, the ultimate goal is to take the conversation off social media. Try to set up a time to chat via Skype or phone, or set up a coffee date to meet in person. Talk about the industry, ask for advice, or interview them for a blog post or article. You’ll flatter them by requesting their professional perspective on a subject.
4. Figure Out Who Your Customer Really Is
If your community includes a few hundred followers, that’s a substantial survey opportunity. Create a questionnaire on Google Forms to gain insight into who they are and what makes them tick. The better you know your audience, the better you can target them.
For every question, provide four to five multiple choice answers that you suspect your customers will choose, but always add an “other” option with the chance to write in a response. Aside from basic questions like gender, age, location, marital status, occupation, and education level, questions can include:
- What are the important values in your life?
- What are your hobbies?
- On which websites do you usually spend the most time?
- What are your biggest challenges related to [topic of your choice]?
- How often do you use our service/product?
The last question helps you understand the frequency of your user base. You can then use this information to segment your audience and better target your messaging to different types of users.
5. Test the Viability of Product Expansion as a Growth Strategy
Growing through product expansion involves selling different products under the same brand to the same market, or, in other words, to your current customers. The goal is to discover whether you would enhance your relationship with that consumer as a result—you want them to use the new product “in addition to,” as opposed to, “instead of.”
To test the viability of this strategy, and before you commit to developing a new product or offering a new service, get the opinions of your current customers. Tap into your social media followers by sending a Google survey about potential products or services, or write an article on LinkedIn with a proposal and see how your followers react to the idea.
When you involve your customers in your business and respond to their concerns, they care more about your brand. And that’s the ultimate goal—loyalty. Social media provides so many opportunities to keep your customers engaged and makes it easier for them to love your product, your service, and your brand. When social media communities are filled with loyal customers, those communities grow naturally—and so does your business.