10 Reasons Why Local Businesses Should Care About Social Engagement
By Jane Garfinkel - Review Response Specialist
Social engagement is the next frontier for customer service. Consumers expect to have real-life conversations with the stores they patronize from the comfort of their own homes. The good news is that interacting with your customers online does more than provide stellar service. Below, we explain the ten reasons why you should care about social engagement.
1. Boost brand awareness
Nearly half of the world population uses social media. In the United States, about seven in ten adults are on Facebook. To put it simply: the internet is the largest audience you are going to find. Maintaining an active online presence is one of the easiest ways to boost brand awareness. Taking the additional step to answer and repost content from people who interact with your business will make your company’s name that much more visible.
2. Increase inbound traffic
The best marketing is free marketing. Picture this: someone recommends a product online and tags your business. This is already fantastic advertising and an incentive for viewers to visit your website, but what makes it even better is when you respond to that post with a thank you. By following-up with enthusiastic customers, you provide an example of the post-sale service people can expect from your company.
3. Gain sales leads
It may seem impossible to wade through the massive amount of information floating out on the internet, but direct sales leads are there. The return customer posting a Google Question about your inventory. The first-time visitor asking for price information on your Facebook post. Even the guy sharing your product-launch announcement. These three people have already entered the sales process, they just don’t know it. Tracking and responding to these actions will add an entirely new group of potential customers to your list of leads.
4. Resolve problems
Online reviews aren’t the only way customers express negative feedback. Occasionally people take to Facebook and other social media pages to complain, vent, or seek out assistance. Maybe this sounds like a bad thing. We don’t want unhappy customers, right? The truth is, even if these customers didn’t post online they would still be unhappy. By welcoming them to start a dialogue, you also allow yourself the opportunity to resolve issues and perhaps regain the business of dissatisfied customers.
5. Reputation management
Similar to the point above, the more engaged your business is online the greater access you will have to customer feedback. Monitoring what your customers say, both on review sites and social media, is the best way to stay on top of any negative press. With the proper technology in place, you’ll be notified when there is an issue so you can step in quickly to keep your reputation intact.
6. Gather customer insights
It’s not all negative out there. Happy customers or curious browsers also provide really useful information. Whether they are requesting a product you don’t currently offer or pointing out what they enjoyed about their visit to your store, they can help you deliver the best possible service and experience for your guests. You can even pose questions to your followers online if you are looking for feedback on a specific topic.
7. Build on customer relationships
The customer-business relationship is like any other: the more you interact, the more opportunities you have to learn about each other and create a rapport. For those users who have already patronized your business, continued engagement will further strengthen your positive relationship and encourage them to become loyal customers. At the very least, keeping your name as visible as possible will keep your business at the top of everyone’s minds.
8. Humanize your brand
To earn a person’s business you need to earn their trust. One of the best ways to do that is to humanize your brand. While in the past the business-customer relationship was largely built on advertisements and other promotional materials, social engagement allows for more casual interactions. Something as simple as liking a customer’s photo of their new purchase is a great way to reach them on an everyday level. Posting content created by and featuring your employees is another option for highlighting the real people behind your brand.
9. Gain content
For some, the idea of creating content brings up images of slogging through blog posts or having a professional photographer take pictures of merchandise. There is a much easier and cheaper option: user-generated content. Share photos that were taken by your happy customers. Screenshot conversations you’ve had with them online. Repost their positive testimonials. Not only is this content free, it’s authentic. For 90% of consumers deciding where to make a purchase, authenticity is one of the most important factors.
10. Stand out
Local businesses are slowly catching on to the importance of social engagement, but the majority of companies haven’t mastered it yet. If your competitors aren’t responding to potential customers online, those users may click over to your site in search of better service. Make the best impression by tackling this new wave of engagement today.
Widewail began as a company hyper-focused on online reviews, but we’ve expanded our services to meet the needs of local businesses. While we’re still the masters of review response, our new Engage Plus package goes even further to ensure your business is providing the best possible service to your customers. We monitor your social engagement, answer Google Questions, and interact with your guests on Facebook. If you would like to learn more about how partnering with us could benefit your business, click here.