Monday 15 August 2011

How to Use Social Media for Business: Give Your Customers a Voice.

One of the best aspects of social media is that it allows for conversation to occur. Not only is it an easy way to market your newest campaign and easily reach both current and future customers, but social media allows for a dialogue between you and your fans about anything related to your business. Establishing your presence on the social media channels your customers also use and then listening to their thoughts about your products and services gives your customers a voice about the decisions that your business makes.

Customer service lines have always existed, and before social media channels, customers quite literally used their voices to connect with brands and businesses when they had a complaint. With the evolution of social media, your brand can now establish a presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter and allow customers to voice concerns — or praise — using the same words with which they previously could only call in. To give your customers this opportunity to vocalize their thoughts about your business using social media, your brand or business needs a presence on social media channels. The key in deciding which platform to utilize — and how often to use each one — is to know where your audience is. While over 700 million people use Facebook, you may also want to have an active presence on Twitter if you are a tech-related company or hope to reach bloggers. If you already have an email newsletter of devoted readers, converting them to reading your blog and leaving comments to discuss questions or concerns may be most ideal for your business.

Regardless of the platforms you choose to utilize to engage your customers and give them a voice, you should never take this voice away or restrict it. Closing comments in any shape or form essentially tells your audience — which, as a business, are your customers — that you do not respect their opinions, let alone care if they have a complaint or concern. Many blogs offer the ability to moderate comments, and YouTube has this option as well, which can offer a great deal of crowd control if the content of comments becomes an issue that would affect your reputation. Of course, deleting comments on Facebook is always an option, too.

Make sure that if you do receive a valid, negative comment about your business, you take the time to personally respond to correct the issue. Offering apology and asking for a second chance can often correct the course, and yield a positive comment in the future, which can boost your reputation for both the product you offer as well as for your level of customer service.

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