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Today’s Social Media Landscape – How to Communicate with Customers on the Top Networks

Remember when connecting with a brand meant dialing a 1-800 that basically led you nowhere? Or more recently, sending an email that doesn’t get responded to for at least a few days?  Connecting with brands today is a little bit different.  It’s no secret that social platforms are a great place for brands and businesses to communicate with their customers… and for customers to communicate with brands.  Often times responses on social media are quicker and come directly from someone working at the business, not someone hired to handle the phone lines in another state or country.

Last week we talked different social networks and how to gain brand awareness or measure the SEO value.  Today we’ll take the same top networks and talk about the best ways to communicate with customers on these platforms.  Remember, not all platforms have the same rules/functions, so interactions will be different and tailored pending the network.

  • Twitter: Twitter is a great place for customers and brands to communicate with one another.  Often times, users will directly @mention a brand when they have a question, comment, complaint, etc.  And savvy brands will respond to these mentions – this direct engagement creates rapport between brand and customer which then can increase brand loyalty.  Also, this one-on-one engagement can be done publicly or you can ask the person to take the conversation into a direct message (make sure you both follow each other first).
  • Facebook: Facebook is the number one choice for majority of consumers and customers to reach a brand. They are not limited to the 140-character limit on Twitter so they can include all of their questions and comments in one post.  Brands actively monitor their Facebook activity and because page posts are public, it’s especially important for brands to reply to comments that come in on their Facebook Page.  It’s a great way for customer service teams to address their customers and for marketing teams to gain insight on the product and audience.
  • Instagram: Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is another solid platform to engage with your customers.  Customers can openly comment on videos and photos that the brand puts on its feed, so it’s important to monitor Instagram comments.  Similar to Twitter, you can directly @mention the customers to ensure the one-to-one engagement and like Facebook, customers are not limited to a character limit.  Instagram also included direct messaging so the conversation can also be taken in private (as long as the brand and customer both follow one another).
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn, like Facebook, is a top choice for customers looking to contact a brand, either through the LinkedIn Company Page or through LinkedIn Groups.  Again, because these are public pages, it’s important for brands to monitor and respond to any questions or comments that come through their LinkedIn channels. This is another great network to use for one-on-one conversations with relevant audiences.
  • Google+: Google+, in theory, is a good place to communicate with a brand.  After all, it offers the ability to target groups with Circles, and customers can directly go to a Google+ Company Page and post on the wall with no character restrictions.  The one setback to Google+ is that it is not as widely used by brand OR consumer as the other networks, so although it can be a great place to interact, the truth it is used infrequently.
  • YouTube: YouTube videos get tons of interaction (the ones worth commenting on, at least).  And YouTubers do not shy away from commenting on videos that capture their interest – both negatively or positively.  Marketers can easily respond to YouTube comments and directly interact with the commenter to address questions, conversations, etc.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is more built for sharing between users and customers and not so much for interacting with brands.  While you can leave public comments and repin content (as the brand or consumer), there is little room for further personal interaction. Pinterest lacks direct messaging which can limit the ability for brands to engage in one-on-one conversations.
  • SlideShare: SlideShare is great for its ability to easily share slides and include links, but conversations between audience and brand is not what SlideShare is known for.  There is no easy way to engage in a one-to-one interaction so our advice is for the brand to include a “Contact Us” slide at the end of the presentation that includes social handles, email, and phone.

Remember, the ideal way for a customer (current or potential) to get a brand’s attention is through social channels. If you haven’t done it yourself, someone you know has.  It’s the quickest way to get a brand’s attention… if they’re up-to-speed on the importance of social media.  The best brands will get back to you.

Need help managing all of these channels? Grab a demo of Viralheat – you can manage all your social accounts, monitor for mentions, and engage with your customers all from one tool. Email support@viralheat.com for more info or join our weekly demo.

 

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