The art of customer engagement
Customer engagement, connection, interaction and integrated conversations driving various possible business goals are what social media marketing is about. Rather than looking at people as passive receivers and “consumers” of messages, modern marketers understand that customers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs. That is customer engagement in the true sense. Marketing tactics that overlap with social media marketing, such as content marketing, also seek to engage the customer. It’s all about providing the right touchpoints, content and social interactions, while being responsive and pro-active. Customer engagement revolves around the customer and the customer experience. The connected customer is at the center of social media and integrated marketing. More about customer engagement.
Some business areas you can focus on regarding the use of social media marketing:
Engagement marketing: having customers actively participate in the brand and driving them to take action.
Creating awareness and increase credibility by storytelling via relevant content (where social media once again meets what is known as content marketing).
Testing new offers or detecting needs by involving communities and even co-creation or crowd sourcing where applicable.
Lead generation and management.
Selling by focusing on the buying process and the touchpoints leading to the actual purchase.
Maintaining strong relationships with your best customers in order to up-sell, reduce churn and even turn customer loyalty into brand evangelists through social proof.
Understanding in real-time what drives social engagement and how customers in the broadest sense engage and what keeps them and their connections busy, regarding and beyond your brand, industry or category.
Community marketing: identify and nurture online communities of people with shared interests and/or traits.
As social media allow people to connect, they also allow us to connect with – prospective – customers in more personal ways and build stronger and smarter relationships.
Social media marketing basically is simply about relationships in various connected degrees:
It allows you to add personality to your business and stop being the faceless corporation many people feel disconnected with.
Social media marketing allows you to reconnect and build more valuable relationships through personal voices.
It goes in many directions so it’s certainly not about communication in one direction, on the contrary.
While all this may sound simple, the possibilities of social media in marketing and business are really endless and can serve many business and marketing goals. Social media can be used in a stand-alone way to initiate marketing initiatives but thrives best when used in an integrated way to strengthen other initiatives.
Key conditions for success in social media marketing
To be successful in social media marketing, you need to:
Have an integrated, holistic and cross-channel vision
Be, work and think customer-centric
Understand that people decide where and how they get in touch with you
See that the sales process is shifting from ‘selling’ to ‘buying’
Have a strategy, goals and a plan
Make a business case to have the necessary resources (it’s not a free lunch)
Understand that social media marketing strengthens other forms of marketing
Look at marketing as a dialogue
Drop the broadcasting mentality
Know that all social media and networks are different and have a different way of interaction: focus on those that work and matter for your business and customers
See “users”, “followers”, “subscribers” and “consumers” as people
See everyone as a customer and vendor: your employees included
Listen, measure, monitor and act
Inject what you hear by listening in your overall business strategy (data and Social CRM)
Define the right metrics and Key Performance Indicators to measure success
Prepare your employees
Understand the role that social media can play in all parts of the customer life cycle
Speak the language your customers speak
Think in terms of value, relationships and conversations but certainly also ROI and bottom-line
Reach out to your customers
Move from connections to relationships to business
Move beyond the traditional influence sphere
Be human: be you and focus on the people in your company