Don’t Ignore Your Social Followers

Now that just about every business has a social media presence, the traditional days of customer service are long gone. Some customers may still call or email your company directly, but many will reach out via your social media channels and expect immediate feedback.

JetBlue has a reputation for a lightning-fast response time like this example where they reassured a first-time customer. Besides there solid social media game, JetBlue has staged some pretty elaborate schemes to recognize their customers.

The airline brought cupcakes to a customer taking his 100th flight and had a special reception for a passenger boarding the first regularly scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Cuba in 50 years.

You may not have the funds or manpower to coordinate these types of campaigns (and not many small companies do) but you can still make sure your customers feel like they’re being heard on social media. If you don’t have a dedicated social team, make sure you have at least one experienced person dedicated to fielding questions and comments.

Make it Easy for Your Customers

If there’s one thing consumers want these days it’s the shortest and easiest route to their desired product or service. With online shopping and mobile-friendly websites, consumers can order food, buy clothing and accessories or make flight reservations without leaving their house.

It may be hard to imagine a way to make things even easier, but Domino’s made the effort in 2015 when they rolled out their Tweet-to-Order campaign. As an added bonus for loyalty, Domino’s regulars could order a pie simply by Tweeting a pizza emoji.

Not only was this a clever idea to take advantage of digital customers, which make up about 50 percent of their sales, it was also a smart publicity move as people shared and responded to the news.

This doesn’t mean you should make all of your products available on a Tweet-to-Order basis, but it’s a fantastic reminder to stay up with the times and to constantly think of ways to engage new consumers and re-engage current customers. Put yourself in their shoes and think of ways you can make things easier, faster and more convenient, then, use your social media channels to help you get the word out.

Use Hashtags, Wisely

Hashtags allow individuals and brands to create conversations, promote products and interact with fans and friends. There are two main ways to use hashtags to your benefit: create your own or capitalize on an already-trending hashtag. While creating your own catchy hashtag can work wonders for your brand, it’s incredibly challenging to create a popular, viral hashtag. You probably know some of the more well-known brand hashtags like Coca Cola’s #ShareaCoke and Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat. These are examples of brands using social media campaigns to start a conversation and engage users.

You want to create a hashtag that makes sense for your brand or message, but try to make this a clear, positive and shareable message. In a guest post for Tint, Michael Patterson, Digital Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social offer this advice: “Try to avoid a social media explosion by creating a tag completely free of ambiguity, which allows you to effectively steer the conversation in a direction favorable for your brand.”

Another way to take advantage of hashtags is to capitalize on a trending tag. Just like original hashtags, however, you want to find a tag that is relevant to your brand, and try to stay away from negative, controversial campaigns. When you join the conversation by using a trending hashtag, you have an opportunity to interact with more people and potentially gain more followers. Try to offer something insightful, get creative, or use humor, just try to stay consistent with your brand, image and voice.

Make sure you’re monitoring trending hashtags on Twitter; you can check this frequently directly on Twitter or use tools like TweetDeck to set up alerts. Also, keep an eye on what other brands in your niche are doing. See what works and what’s less successful. You can gain valuable insight from a brand with a similar following. Also, make sure to track the metrics of your efforts on social so you know what’s working. You can use analytics tools to determine the best times of day to Tweet and evaluate user engagement.

Take Advantage of Holidays and Special Events

Brands can use holidays and special occasions to their advantage on social media. Retailers can Tweet about Black Friday sales, flower companies can promote special arrangements on Mother’s day and chocolate companies can amp up social their presence right before Valentine’s Day. According to a nationwide survey, almost 33 percent of Americans associate Valentine’s Day with chocolate treats, and chocolate companies use their social media accounts to take advantage of the holiday.

While Ghiradelli posted this enticing Tweet a few years ago, other chocolate companies like Godiva and Lindt came up with these Valentine’s Day Facebook contests.

It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use, don’t underestimate the power of seasonal marketing. If there’s a holiday or event that naturally works with your company, bolster the buzz on social media.

Celebrate and Empower Your Followers

Your customers don’t want to feel like a cog in your sales quota, they want to feel special and valued. Social media gives you the opportunity to communicate with your customers, so make sure you let them know you appreciate them.

Dove took it a step further, rather than just saying “thank you,” they created a campaign to empower and inspire their followers. With a video and Twitter campaign, #SpeakBeautiful, Dove encouraged followers to embrace and celebrate positive body image.

It helps if your brand is already aligned with these values and Dove has a large social following, but even small brands can find ways to inspire their followers.

Try Something New

Denny’s takes the award for this one. Whether it’s chiming in on a Twitter conversation that has nothing to do with their brand or using humor and sarcasm to appeal to a larger audience, the breakfast food chain is always trying something new on their social channels.

While Denny’s is a well-established brand that has a little more clout than a startup or small business, other companies can learn a lot from their social media strategy.

If you want to play the social media game, you need to take risks, be creative, put yourself out there, fail, breakdown the metrics and try again. There’s no magic, one-size-fits-all formula that will work for every brand, so use the tools at your disposal to watch and learn from what others have done. The worst mistake you can make is not trying; if you don’t have a social media presence, get into the game. Jump in head first and see if you can’t be the next big brand all the social channels are buzzing about.

Author: Maile Proctor is a professional blogger and content editor. She writes articles on health and fitness, lifestyle and family, social media and marketing, advice, how-to and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in Southern California. To read more of her articles, follow Maile on Twitter @maile_proctor.

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