Lots of people say that in the world of social media it’s your job to engage with customers. You have to talk to them, be accessible and give them something about yourself to hold on to. I guess that’s true. However, I think businesses have to go even further than that. I think if you want customers to evangelize your brand and be loyal to you, you have to do more than just talk to them – you have to woo them. You have to make your customers swoon.
As a small business owner, how can you get customers to swoon? Here are 11 practical suggestions.
1. Monitor the social networks for people talking about your company. When they’re saying positive stuff, say thank you. When it’s negative, get more details and then say thank you. When they’re asking questions, answer them and say thank you. When you find people talking about your company, respond.
2. Show up places they wouldn’t expect. Your customers have certain places where they hang out on the Web, even outside of Twitter and Facebook. Find their local watering holes and be there when they need you. Don’t hijack their conversation or try to sell your services; just be part of their world and let them know you’re there.
3. Create a blog, write content designed to address customers’ problems. Check your site logs, customer e-mails and/or complaint section to identify your customers’ biggest issues/problems/concerns. Write content that will take these issues away. Solving someone’s problem and making them look good is the best way to make them fall in love with you. Women have known this for years.
4. Plant small surprises. Whether it’s a surprise Thanks For Commenting page for new commenters, a small gift included with their order or chocolate sent on their birthday, offer a small gesture that your customers wouldn’t expect. You’ll rock their world and tie that unexpected experience into their perception of your brand.
5. Start relevant conversations. Whether it’s on your blog, a social media site like Facebook, or in a competitor’s forums, start conversations with qualified experts about topics relevant to your customers. Don’t use these conversations to sell; just share your advice and act as a helpful member of society. If your customers want to know more about how you can help them, they’ll know how to get in touch with you.
6. Guest post on their favorite blogs. You love bacon. And you get really excited when you find other people who love bacon. Why? Because you feel an instant connection with them because you already have something in common. Guest post on your audience’s favorite blogs and show them you love their favorite blogs as much as they do. It will create an affinity that never existed before.
7. Admit you don’t know everything. Woo your customers by asking them questions. Hold polls. Ask for constant feedback. Invite customers in and make them part of your sales process.
8. Be responsive. When someone takes the time to e-mail you, leave a comment or write you a letter, respond. Timely. Always.
9. Write for your audience, not for the search engines. The search engines may bring you traffic, but they don’t bring you customers. To find customers, you need to solve their problems and give them something they can use. That’s what your content should focus on–not on what’s popular or what search the engines want you to write about.
10. Make your blog and website accessible and easy to navigate. Don’t make your customers feel stupid. They’ll leave.
11. Build your own network, but don’t lose sight of your core readers. Go out and build your small business. Grow your network, create relationships and network your way into powerful partnerships. But don’t lose sight of the people you’re trying to reach. They are your core and the people who, at the end of the day, matter most to your business.
Those are some ways I think businesses can woo customers and turn them loyal to your brand. What’s worked for your company? What programs do you have in place to attract and retain customers?
I love #8, Be Responsive. Think back to the last time you had a bad waiter/waitress. Was it because the food came out slow? Were your drinks not getting refilled? We’re all busy, but take the time to respond and be involved.
This post is one of your best. Everything you stated was right on.
“Write to your audience.” My fav.
Thanks a lot!
The Franchise King
Networking with *potential* customers is something I have difficulty with. I often feel as though, since I am not seeing an immediate increase in sales, that I am wasting my time trying to shout above the crowd or that people just don’t care about what I have to say. I like the idea brought out in point number 5 about starting relevant conversations on social media sites. Twitter intimidates me, but I could do this on my Facebook Fan Page.
I have found number 2 to be effective. Simply joining in on conversations on message boards about topics I am interested in and having a link to my site in my signature has brought visitors to my site.
Thanks for all of the ideas
I like this article. All of the tips are relevant…most of them deal with “showing up” to the party and I believe that is of utmost importance when engaging with people. You have to “show up” to the party. Thanks for your insights. ~ Tanja/NXT Media
CustomInk.com has the first one down really well. Someone asked yesterday evening for recommendations for custom tshirts, and I just replied with customink (I was busy, didn’t have time to say any more). Within half an hour I got a nice thank you from their Twitter account, and some fast, helpful answers from them as well. Their ongoing customer service is what makes me want to use them again when I need shirts again, and it makes up for the couple of hiccups I had when I first created the shirts.
Do you have any good examples of #2, of showing up where people aren’t necessarily expecting you?
2. This is so important but often overlooked in our busy worlds; At Chamber mixers, etc., we are bombarded with hard-core people pushing their business cards in our faces and we don’t even know them yet. I want to develop a relationship of trust before I refer business! 🙂
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
A To Z Auto Glass LLC
Great advice but
Sometimes I don’t feel like I have enough time to do all the different types of networking. It feels like it takes a lot of time that I can be creating art to sell.
Great article! Especially #1…I’ve found my shop being promoted by others a few times, and had no idea they were doing it until I stumbled across it. It makes me wonder how many times I’ve missed an opportunity to thank someone and perhaps return the favor.
Wonderful information and advice. It can be truly mind boggling trying to find effective ways to reach out to your target audience. This article gives some excellent suggestions.