Social networking has been the ‘in’-thing in our lives for over a decade now, and will continue to be so, given the present scenario where we tend to turn towards our virtual presence at the end of each day and seamlessly end up integrating our real and virtual lives rather involuntarily. Even going to the grocery store has been digitized.
This evolution of e-commerce is the reason why companies had entered this huge online customer domain in the first place, and now with social sites integrating e-commerce in them as well, things had never been so competitive for the companies looking to expand their online market presence.
A few steps to proactively engage as a social brand in the internet can be summarized as follows:
1. Open Dialogue with the Target
Unlike in other forms of media, where the brands would advertise according to their wishes alone and the customer was subject to what they had to say, social media allows for interaction. The degree of its openness depicts to what extent the brand can mingle with its target customers.
Feedback, both negative and positive, must be sportingly entertained. Replying to twitter messages or re-tweeting customer feedback helps to establish a loyal fan base that can instill faith in the brands that listens to their problems or suggestions and entertains them.
2. Proactive Interaction
Studies show that brands engaging in a proactive interaction with their customers have been able to capture the market better. Facebook and Twitter allow for free interaction and the customer can easily contact the brands through the respective pages and profiles of the brands. It is how well the brands get back to these comments or feedback and how willing they are to address their problems. A positive approach portrays a good image about the brand.
3. Connecting Beyond Services/Products
Connecting to the customers through the products is a certain aspect of marketing, but a much more aspect is connecting beyond the products. Leading companies all over the world try to do this maybe by conducting short lucky draws or competitions where the customer sharing the best experience after using their product, gets featured in their site, or conducting short games to make your presence felt in the leisure space of the customers.
4. Integrating Experience and Linking Channels
Many companies link their advertising schemes together to come up with one integrated medium that spans across online and offline media, social as well as mainstream channels like TV, etc., to deliver a complete customer experience. Studies have revealed success stories of such an approach. Examples of these can be ads on TV that ask you to follow their page on Facebook to know more about a certain product, or follow their Twitter profile to stay updated about upcoming launches, etc., thereby seamlessly connecting two worlds.
5. Collaboration to Develop New Strategies
Engaging the customers in the development of certain products or giving them the maximum space to have their opinions heard and entertained can increase the relationship with the customers manifold. Enabling the customer to collaborate with the brand in designing a new product or service or bettering an existing one and resultantly featuring him in the limelight has a lasting effect on customer loyalty and it can also help pull up free development resources.