Success with social media marketing for your business rests on the ability to reach not only individuals but also social networks through social media channels.
Despite the hype created by social media marketing, a lot of firms are hesitant to use this medium in selling their brands and products. For firms that engaged in social media marketing, some are experiencing difficulty in applying this medium while others are not achieving their expectations. As an evolving business model, social media marketing still has ample room for discovering and developing best practices.
Firms can achieve this through touch points. Various opportunities for connecting to customers exist throughout the decision-making process, from the recognition of a need to the evaluation of an actual purchase. These opportunities comprise touch points.
For social media marketing efforts to generate outcomes, the connections made through touch points should be enough to influence individual decision-making and sharing with their social networks. Quantity and quality of touch points are important.
What are the touch points in social media? Social media constitutes one giant touch point for businesses. Presence or involvement in social media creates connections to users, who are also customers. Social media can be broken down into the more specific touch points, as discussed below.
1. Becoming a reliable information source.
People join social media to find, compare and share information. Daily posts on Facebook, live updates on Twitter, fresh topics on forums, and answers to queries in review websites are touch points for sharing information. Monitoring the questions and information shared also provides firms with frontline updates on customer concerns.
2. Responding to customers.
Listening and conversing opens a connection between the firm and customers. Responding to comments on Facebook and Twitter or to feedback in review and similar websites creates a link with individuals. Use names to address a response to a particular individual. Make customized responses to show that effort was made to read and understand comments. In forums, respond to duplicate questions coming from different individuals.
3. Encouraging customers to take control of business decisions that concern them.
Post surveys on new product or service improvement options. Have customers vote for the employee of the month, best branch or best branch location. Directly ask customers to rate the helpfulness of information posted or their satisfaction with a particular promotion. Follow this up with a post of the results, a teaser to watch out for good things to come based on the results, and an invitation to experience the improvements made. Those who participated are likely to positively respond to the invitation.
4. Making individual customers feel special.
The key to effective personal connections is to go all out or not do it at all. People feel bad when they receive noticeably generic greetings from companies with their names misspelled, the same content as last year, the same greeting sent to a friend, or the wrong date or occasion. Optimize information shared by fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and contributors in forums and review websites. Use information accurately. Use nicknames, favorite colors, and interests in creating a simple greeting with strong impact.
Social media expands the opportunity for firms to connect with the market. Ignoring social media as a touch point is wasteful. With enough effort put into capturing all possible touch points and ensuring effective ties, business firms can connect with customers via social media to influence customer loyalty and sales.