Nowadays, the entrepreneur that created its start-up can use a major asset: to be known quickly and widely through social medias. Some young companies have built their communication and identity around it, with success. LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter… social medias aren’t a trend anymore: they are fully used for the online communication of companies. Small and medium companies are also getting into it and the ones that know how to use it have great assets! But only few are maximizing the marketing potential of these tools. There is nothing worse than opening a page and not keeping it alive. Or to neglect the impact of these networks by assigning your online communication to an inexperienced trainee that doesn’t have any control over your content, images and language. Knowing how to share holidays pictures and food recommendation with friends is something, but to manage public relationships of a company is an other thing! Except the only increase of visitors on your website, among the benefits of being on social medias is the direct communication with your clients. Like in your shop, you can qualify your potential clients, and even better: get very precise marketing data with the help of the profile of the members of your communities. Fore sure companies that control the use of their social medias and integrate them in their marketing strategy get results: increased traffic, quality leads, bigger online shopping cart, action of buying after online publishing… Without any doubt social medias are nowadays vital.
Social medias are a territory with a huge potential, offering opportunities to speak up, but with also real threats. Brands are on the same level than their clients, whom can easily engage with them. Be careful with bad press: customers dissatisfaction is highly contagious. Problems that arise can be shared and amplified both inside and outside your communities. Responsiveness is crucial to manage your image. It is therefore necessary to keep a constant marketing watch, and you should even consider to hire a community manager if your are overwhelmed by the amount of message to deal with.
For what reasons are you on social medias? Do you want to get known among new prospects or delivering a digital customer service? Or do you want to build a community of passionated people? You need to spend time to think deeply about your core business, and about your relationship with your clients. With social medias you will be able to pay more attention about the people that already trust you, to better serve them, or even to innovate through marketing watch.
What social medias to chose among all the offered one? Make sure you select with care the ones that suit to your business: Facebook, the most busy social media, is often vital. It is an efficient interface to communicate on your page, to inform about your business, to launch digital communication campaigns. LinkedIn is a 100% professional too: a crucial social media for each start-up that try get known, find partners and clients, hire new talents. Twitter, very much used, is fast and reactive. It will be as useful to make your start-up known or to operate a marketing watch… Instagram, Youtube or Snapchat are the favorite social medias of teenagers and young adults: vital for each start-up wishing to address a young audience with content with strong visual component! Google+ is less busy, but its users are more positive, often recommending products or services they like.
How to get there? Communicate just to communicate is of course THE thing to avoid… That’s what makes your company different from your competitors. Are you going to use a serious/expert tone or try to be funny? All the content you publish (writings, photo, video, infographic) must reflect your positioning and the profile type of your existing customers. The tone you will chose must suit to your new target, in case you are using the social network as a way to get new clients. In any case, you need to use the traditional marketing methods such as the quali and quanti surveys in order to move towards the right direction as early as possible.
It is the role of your community manager. In addition to the daily and hourly publishing planning, he must also moderate the page with diversified contents (article, photo, video, infographic) and innovating topics (watch) to avoid being boring. The time that will happen between your message and the availability of your product should not be too long too, so don’t communicate too early, especially if you don’t totally control your production process. The quality of your content should be perfect: no spelling mistake, nice layout with photos and videos when possible, discussion with web users in order to intensify the interaction…Don’t let any request unanswered. If you are using your Facebook page for your after-sales service, make sure you can take care and manage it all the time! React to web users comments and companies that are active on the social medias. Build your network. Find out about new trends and know how to exploit them: use social medias in order to do your marketing watch. Listen to your virtual community in order to feed your client database, by integration social medias to your management tools, like CRM for example, or to adjust your offers, your products and your strategy.
It is vital to measure the performance of your publication to keep on improving your social media strategy. The visibility (people that have seen your publication) and commitment (people that have interacted with the publication: likes, comments, shares) are useful to identify what works or not, and propose relevant content accordingly. This way, the train ticket sales company Voyages-sncf.com had to position itself on social medias as early as 2009 because of its will to be where its clients were. Today the company is active on many different types of social medias so that they can interact with its clients, but with different goals and positioning on each of them. The content has been tailored for each social media in order to meet the needs of a diversified community.
Until today, the activity of your clients on social medias was opaque, because this communication canal was impossible to follow, measure, plan or improve. With the help of these new tools, it won’t happen anymore! By adding the strategic channel that are the social medias to your existing CRM systems, you can compare everything you know about your clients, prospects and leads thanks to their activities on social medias. And when a client choses to contact you through Twitter or Facebook, you can follow and manage this conversation with as much detail as phone or e-mail. This way, you will be able to react better and quicker, and you can even predict the needs of your customers. Of course, social CRM should not be considered as a substitution pattern for the traditional CRM, but as a complementary tool useful to always improve the client relationship. Here are the 5 pillars of social CRM:
Never forget that a client relationship is going both ways. If customers share their opinion with you about your products to help you to improve, they also expect you to offer something back to them. So make sure the relationship is bilateral. And in addition to your customer service, think about sharing information that could be useful to them. It could be relevant articles about your business, usage instructions about your products/services, fun infographic, etc.
Not only a clear asset, it is a vital pillar in the customer relationship management on social medias. If you are investing in a social CRM strategy, you must make sure to be active on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus at the same time that your clients are. It often happen outside of traditional working hours! So plan to be online from 6 to 8pm during the week, during week-ends and bank holidays to make sure you don’t miss anything. The best is to use notification push on your mobile devices to be notified in real time about the messages mentioning you on social medias.
Companies were used to hide their mistake and communicate only about positive things in order to keep a solid and perfect image. You can forget about it now, because consumers don’t want perfect brands, but human ones! No one was dupe about this perfection, so don’t try to hide your mistakes anymore. As the old proverbs says: a fault confessed is half redressed. When managing your customer relationship through social medias, you will have to face mistakes in the ordering or fabrication process. Be honest and confess that the mistake is yours while you do your best to fix it as quick as possible.
Make sure your positioning is the same on the different social medias you use, otherwise web users and clients will be confused. However, while keeping a global approach about your strategy, you can use different contents according the the targeted audience, and so the social media your are using
Spend enough time to involve your teams because they are the one that are at the heart of the implementation. Make sure that each member understand clearly his role, so that your system can work perfectly: the interaction that will happen with your audience are almost in real time, known to all, with consequences that can be devastating if you are not well organized. Issues and objectives related to social CRM must be known by everyone: being transparent with your client naturally implies to be transparent as well within your company. And the involvement of your employees will improve accordingly on an every day basis, with the satisfaction of providing a quality service as a common objective. As you might have understood, the way you will use social medias depend on many parameters that you must understand. There isn’t a UNIQUE use because the functions of social networks can change together with your objectives. Your approach must anyway be related to the previous positioning of your company. Social networks have affected the way of life of many consumers, and this process accelerated during the past years. In order to better serve your clients you must be as close to them as possible, and this implies to be active on social medias. But while being online is getting more and more important, don’t forget to always be in a state of technological watch: forecasting the main upcoming trends of tomorrow is the most important matter of any company that tries to sustain itself on the long run. Integrating the social medias to your CRM system can bring a huge added value to your organization, providing that you follow the right steps during its implementation.