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Next Conference: September 14-18, 2015

The Social Customer: Empowered Like Never Before

The Social Customer: Empowered Like Never Before


9 days until SMW September 14-18 Conference in London, Miami, Rotterdam, and São Paulo. Learn more here.

Becky Carroll shares tips on how organizations can empower social customers. Photo Credit: (cc) Shashi Bellamkonda

At “Unleash the Hidden Power of the Social Customer and Grow Your Business,” held at Ketchum’s Washington, D.C. office, long-time customer advocate and consultant Becky Carroll captivated an eager audience with tales of how B2C and B2B organizations can enhance the customer experience for their social customers. In case you weren’t able to make it out to her presentation, we outlined a few key takeaways to help you better connect with your customers online.

Stop using the term “social media strategy.” Customer service is not just about  posting to Facebook once a day or responding to disgruntled Tweeters. Customer service is about building lasting relationships. Rather than stress over how to keep up with the latest social fads and tactics, focus on building solid relationships in the digital world. Your social communications efforts should center on a “relationship strategy.”

If you don’t know where to start, just ask. Washington, D.C. is filled to the brim with nonprofits and startups that may not necessarily have the resources to deploy an expansive customer-facing communications strategy across every social channel under the sun. If you’re not sure which channels you should start with, ask your customers where they want to engage with you. After all, they know best.

Social media is not a marketing channel. This year’s Super Bowl brought a slew of online marketing campaigns, and some were more successful than others. Toyota used the big game to spam its Camry Effect campaign via multiple Twitter handles by replying to every Super Bowl-related hashtag, like #Giants or #Patriots, with an offer to win a free car. Those who were bombarded with unsolicited spam took their frustrations out on the same social network Toyota attempted to infiltrate. Camry has since apologized for its inappropriate use of Twitter, and this story serves as a lesson to all: Social consumers do not want to be marketed to—they want to engage with an authentic brand.

Say “thank you.” A comprehensive social communications strategy not only involves addressing negative tweets and comments online, but it also includes engaging with those loyal customers who sing your praises online. Thank customers for positive product reviews and ask what else you can do to improve their experiences. Not only will this reinforce brand loyalty, but it will also get your customers to continue to spread the good word about your brand. You’ll find a little appreciation can go a long way.

Looking for more advice on how to best connect with your social customers? Look no further than Carroll’s book, “The Hidden Power of Your Customers” or check out her blog Customers ROCK!

What advise do you have for organizations looking to empower their social customers?

Written by Christine Archer, an official Social Media Week DC blogger. Follow her at @Chr1st1neArcher.