I have seen far too many company Facebook and Twitter pages spewing the latest and greatest deals they have to offer, or perhaps how wonderful their company is because of an award they just won.
Social media outlets are not meant to be used (solely) as a billboard. The best way to use Facebook and Twitter is to view it as a customer service center in cyberspace. Rather than telling your fans how great you are, talk to them about how you can be better.
Ask Questions About Them
Look around your personal Facebook page or Twitter feed. What do people talk about? Themselves. People like to talk about themselves.
“Look what I cooked for dinner.”
“Look at this new thing I bought.”
“I’m such an exciting person, my life is so interesting.”
Get your fans and followers to talk about their own lives and how your product or service made them better.
Using polls can be a good way to get quantitative feedback to answer certain questions that you may have about your audience; but in real life conversations, you do not poll your friends. Ask open-ended questions and let your fans tell you exactly what they want rather than making them choose from a list. Asking direct questions feels more human. We are social creatures and don’t like talking to robots, or brick walls…
Contribute to Discussions
When you post something that is particularly interesting (ideally all of your content is interesting), see what people have to say. Reply to Tweets, use Facebook’s comment reply feature. Talk back to your fans! You started the conversation when you made your initial post. Carry that conversation by further discussing any information that you may want to convey that you did not include in the beginning. When your fans see that you see and respond to what they are saying, you build rapport and a community around your brand.
Take a quick look at your page and see how many posts that you publish and what kind of responses that you get. The ratio of posts versus responses indicates how much your fan-base actually cares about what you have to say. The more likes, comments, retweets and tweetbacks that you get indicates whether or not your message resonates with your audience.
Experiment with different types of posts and see what sort of feedback you get. If you get 100 likes about your puppy related post and 4 likes on your picture of a cat with bread on its head, stop posting breaded cat pictures and talk about puppies! Keep trying different tactics until you find a way to provide your audience with exactly what they are looking for.
Prompt replies are essential when using social media as a customer service forum. I keep push notifications on my phone for the pages that I manage so that my fans get almost immediate responses to any questions or concerns they may have.
Don’t you love it when you call a customer service hotline and you get a real person instead of a recording followed by smooth jazz music for your “enjoyment” as you wait on hold? Your fans get the same warm, fuzzy feeling when they post a question and you reply 30 seconds after they ask. It is okay if you don’t know the answer right away, reply anyway and let them know that you will get the answer for them. When you do this, get the necessary information as soon as possible. Always follow up with them ASAP.
Speedy responses, conversational tone and showing that you sincerely care about your fans will let them know that they can count on you. That, my friends, is how you create brand loyalty!