Your point of contact with your customers can be very valuable for your future. If possible, it is sensible to make full value of each contact point. This is your chance to interact with your customer and when these opportunities are lost you are reliant, in large part, on chance as to whether or not your customer comes into contact with you again. You should therefore use your social media interactions in order to try and maximize the value of your contact points.
In this respect your audience needs to be chosen quite carefully. The way in which you should use your contact point in order to try and lure customers to the social platforms depends largely on the type of customers that you are dealing with.
Not everybody is familiar with the modalities available online and, in fact, many of them may be frightened by the prospect. Many of the older generation, for example, would fit in awkwardly with some of the offerings of social media for the younger generation. Their needs and values would be different and this should be reflected in what you offer them as a company.
How do you measure?
There is no point engaging in any social media interaction if you are unable to measure the outcome. This is not a game, this is business.
You are going to be investing a good deal of time, effort and money if you are serious about developing a worthwhile and productive social media campaign. Without measurement you may as well demote your interaction to the level of idle chit chat and speculation. And isn’t this what you thought social media was all about and the first place?
Measuring your investment in time, effort and money is vital. Not only do you wish to know if you are making a reasonable return on your investment but you also wish to know which parts of your interaction are the most valuable. You can ditch the parts that give you the least return and develop the parts that give you the best value.
I have already said that people are talking about you on the social web. I hope that many of these people will be evangelists who are keen to promote your product or service without solicitation. These people should be nurtured and encouraged where possible.
Unfortunately there are also people who will not like your product or service or who will try, where possible, to circumvent the normal legal pathways for gaining them. These people must be reeled in and controlled. You can only do this if you are there to witness it.
Consider customer satisfaction surveys for a moment. It is unusual to find that 100% of your customers are happy with your services for 100% of the time. We normally don’t fret too much about these figures and often pay lip service to some of the results.
It makes us feel better that we are taking the time simply to engage in some survey in the first place. Often the results may be up for some discussion and possibly some change. But often, likewise, we remain stagnant.
Consider the social web as a form of permanent and continuous customer survey of your products or services. The main difference here is that you do not have to ask your customers for their opinion. Instead, whether you like it or not, they are happy to give it themselves without any prompting.
Now, if data shows that 90% of your customers are happy with the service that you provide, that is naturally a good thing. We would all be pleased with that sort of level of satisfaction. In fact, I would applaud you if you reached those dizzy heights.
Unfortunately, even with a 90 per cent level of satisfaction, there are still 10% that are not satisfied. These people are likely to be using the social web along with the 90% of satisfied customers. If they were asked their opinion they are hardly going to hold back. Unnervingly they are likely to voice their opinion to their friends and acquaintances online. In this way, the word of mouth, that we so often long for, turns bad.
The social interaction that we are talking about actually extends further than you might imagine. The traditional or popular platforms represent only a small percentage of the total number of social media platforms on the internet.
Many of your customers or potential customers will be present on the usual platforms but lots of them will be present elsewhere. Some of them will be on forums and social media platforms within the almost limitless internet space. They may frequent or own blogs and websites themselves.
Sadly, although your point of contact with them in the social world may be on one or two platforms, you cannot control, nor do you know, where they go next and who they mix with.