Recently, I read a post on Social Media Examiner that shared how Loblaws engaged with customers of their delicious BBQ sauce to understand why sales were not higher. By allowing product reviews, they found out the bottle size made it difficult to store in the refrigerator door. Loblaws redesigned the bottle and they immediately saw an increase in sales.
This example got me thinking of a pattern for success with social media: Ask. Respond. Act.
When people connect with you on various social media tools, they are implying they want to interact with you. If you’re a company or a brand, they are implying they like your brand or want to interact with your brand. Why not give them the opportunity. Asking your fans or followers about various topics like product development, opinions, issues, etc. is a great way to understand your customer’s mindset. Here are some ways you can ask them:
Allow for product reviews on your website or link to review services like Yelp.
Write a blog post and ask for feedback at the end.
No one likes to offer input only to think that it fell on deaf ears. If you are asking for feedback or input on an idea or product, make sure that you acknowledge the comments by responding. Responding publicaly as a comment reply or a tweet reply demonstrates to the public that you are listening and may encourage others to also provide input. Depending on the nature of the comment, you may want to reply privately.
This is by far the hardest step in the pattern and why many organizations fail on social media or are too hesitant to dive in. If you are going to open the door to authentic feedback, you better be prepared to follow-through and act on the comments like Loblaws did. That being said, you shouldn’t act on every suggestion that comes your way. Instead, look for patterns. I’m sure Loblaws received many reviews of their BBQ sauce that they didn’t act on, but rather they saw a trend that the bottle size was an issue.
A while ago I came across a video that talked about how ‘customer service is the new marketing.’ If this true, then social media marketing is really about great customer service using these tools. This great customer service can be achieved by asking your customers, responding to them and acting on their suggestions.