Engaging with customers online--particularly on social media sites--has become increasingly important to a business's success.
1. You'll get free customer feedback
When you post a question or interesting photo on social media, customers will often respond to you. They'll let you know their thoughts or give you an answer you might not have expected. This is a really easy and fun way to find out what your customers are thinking without forcing them to take one of those surveys—no one likes those, right? So if you play it smart, you can get free customer feedback without having to get your hands dirty. It's a win-win!
When you respond to questions your customers are asking, you might be surprised to find out that they have a wide networking platform themselves. By treating each and every customer with respect, you not only make it more likely that they'll recommend you to others, but you also increase your odds of forging a fruitful bond with them. Your customers will see that you're dedicated to great customer service, and that will pay off in the end.
3. Positive word of mouth marketing
We've talked a lot about customers interacting with you online so far, but what about offline? Well, the beauty of online marketing is that it doesn't just stay online. You can build up your brand image and engage with customers online, but that good impression that you make will make waves offline, too. If your customers are pleased with the products and services that you offer, they'll be willing to tell others about it. Word of mouth marketing isn't dead, contrary to what you may have heard—it's definitely alive and well, and you can use it to your advantage even in this era of online living.
4. You establish a good image
Okay, so what if you've tried everything and your customers don't end up giving you valuable feedback? What if they don't really spread the word for you? Is it still worth it to engage with your customers online if this is the case?
Of course it is! A local business always benefits from interacting with customers. By making the effort to meet the needs of your clientele, you'll set up a positive brand image that will resonate as you continue to build your business. It gives you a great foundation to work with and it'll only benefit you down the line.
5. Free content marketing
It probably sounds obvious to say, but if you share compelling content on your social media sites, then your customers will also be willing to share your content! Posting inspiring images, cool facts, or interesting videos will make your fans more likely to engage with you and share the content with their friends. In this way, they essentially do the advertising for you. Another great way to get your customers to help market your services is by asking them to share something for a chance to win a coupon or another prize. It's free and fun!
6. Find your brand voice
As you continue to interact with customers and learn what your audience is looking for, you'll be able to better understand your brand voice. What do we mean by this? Let's say you share something that doesn't get a lot of interaction. You're not likely to try that again, are you? Of course not! But let's say you notice a trend in people reacting positively to other types of posts. You're likely to continue that, right? Yup! So in this way, you'll find your niche and learn your brand voice. People will begin to know what to expect from you and react accordingly.
7. Consistent activity brings in more visitors
If you only update every once in a while and don't interact with your customers, people won't really be invested in following you. They might see you as unreliable, or they may simply forget you exist! This isn't what you want, is it? (The answer is 'no.') Well, the good news is that you can prevent this by regularly updating your site and social media pages, as well as consistently interacting with your community. So get a posting schedule drawn up, and stick to it!
8. More traffic to your website
This might seem like it is the same thing as #7, but it isn't quite: The more consistent you are with your updates, and the more time you spend making sure you're truly connecting with your customers, the more people you'll bring to your social media profiles and to your website. A great way to make the most of this is to ensure that you have easy-to-find links to all your social media profiles on every one of your sites. So, for example, you'll want to include a link to your Twitter profile and website on your Facebook page; however, you'll also want to ensure that your Twitter profile shows that you're on Facebook and that you have a website, too. By cross-promoting all platforms, you'll increase overall traffic and make sure that customers can find you no matter which platform they prefer to use.
Perhaps most important of all is the concept of reliability. Gone are the days that you'd simply call in to ask an employee some simple questions. Many people want—and even expect—companies to be able to provide at least basic customer service online. By ensuring that you have these bases covered, you'll be able to please more customers and establish yourself as a reliable company both online and off. Even if you're only able to hop online once a day to answer questions, that's still a great thing, and your customers will appreciate it.
So as you can see, it's so important to engage online with your customers for a variety of reasons. Your presence online and off can affect how customers perceive you. When you're consistent, friendly, and go the extra mile to meet your customers' needs, you'll find that your business will grow!
Can you think of any other reasons you should be engaging with your customers online? Let us know in the comments.