By Javier Burón, CEO and founder of SocialBro
Customers are turning their attention to social media channels more and more to share their brand experiences; whether that is creating a buzz over an exciting new product or venting about a poor customer experience. Twitter is well-known to be a great forum for engagement and brand awareness and with market research firm CMBIRT finding that 79% of customers more likely to recommend after following a brand on Twitter, marketers need to realise that this social network has a massive potential to generate new customer leads.
Whether you serve businesses or consumers, anyone that expresses interest in your company on Twitter is likely to be open to hearing from you. Customers often take to Twitter to make their voice heard and, when they post, they do so with the expectation that someone is going to read it. Most brands have reacted positively to these growing conversations, engaging with customers directly to answer questions, solve problems and respond to grievances, and they can look forward to even greater return from these engagements if they make full use of customer advocacy.
For brands, using social networks as a platform to push out their sales messages out into the wider digital world is understandably tempting. However, blasting out promotional messaging is no way to win followers who are far more convinced by “objective” recommendations from like-minded consumers. We all pay attention to customer feedback before investing in a new service or product, whether that’s paying for a holiday or buying a new washing machine, and marketers should not underestimate the power of advocacy or criticism when this comes from a trusted peer. This power of recommendations means that creating direct engagements with individuals on Twitter is more important than ever before; not only will it enable brands to generate real and meaningful relationships with their customers, but it also increases their chance of generating further leads.
When you have thousands of customers and prospects that you want to reach, getting to know individuals may seem like a massive undertaking. Therefore, automating the processing of the data in your customers’ social profiles offers a seamless way to discover valuable insights such as their likes, job, favourite things, location or even the people they’re most influenced by. This kind of granular detail helps you to better understand your fan base and, more importantly, identify which are the highest value customers to engage with. By connecting this data, brands can go on to identify where, when and how to engage with promising customers, and all at the click of a button.
Some companies are using customer data on Twitter particularly well to engage high value customers. Popchips, a snack company, scours the twittersphere for brand mentions, rewarding tweeters with retweets and interaction. For example, the company retweeted @Chez_Mummy (a blogger with 2,370 followers) following her comment about their “more-ish” product. This action has a positive impact on both parties; Laura appreciates that any brand that retweets her will boost her Twitter influence and goodwill, while Popchips enjoys a strong referral from a customer advocate. Popchips has had great success with simple social engagement tactics and is also expert at responding to @mention opportunities, including heartfelt pleas for snacks, which enables the brand to show off its personality and build loyalty.
Brands don’t even need to scour the internet looking for the right customer to retweet or mention if they use the added functionality of private or public lists. This enables you to curate and segment your Twitter users, compiling lists of your most relevant followers. Using a tools makes this task more manageable by automating it. With this in place, engaging individual customers using the knowledge you have learned from their social profile, positions brands to develop a personalised relationship with their followers which will benefit both parties in the long-term. These followers can become your main voice so put in the groundwork and get to know them - it’s not worth being shy!
When individuals talk about you, it’s fine to jump in and it’s even better if you can reward them with a retweet or a personal message. Customers will happily share positive brand experiences, especially when they stand to gain something from doing so, and the key for marketers will be identifying high value customers that can promote their brand. Develop these individual relationships with direct engagements, sit back and let your customers handle the marketing campaign.
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