I spoke to a fabulous group of marketers last night at the iMarketers.org meeting, talking about social media and customer loyalty. Before the talk, I spoke with a few of the attendees about how they were using social media to engage with their existing customers. As I listened to some of the ways people were working with new media for “old” customers, I started to hear three main themes critical to success.
Ask customers – Don’t just assume your existing customers want to engage in a certain way or with certain media. If the uptake isn’t what you expected, go back and ask your customer/client base whether they use this media. If so, how do they use it? If not, why not? What might get them to use it?
Use trial and error– The adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was never more true than in the age of social media. One example we discussed last night was a sports and social club and their use of Facebook. Members were definitely engaging through this medium, and the CEO was looking for ways to further get customers involved. He thought the “Send someone a beer/martini/drink” application would be a perfect fit for this group of active adults, as the club often met in bars after the sports events were over. It flopped. However, putting photos of the sports contests and the after-sports happy hours was a big hit!
Make a plan– Don’t just blog or start using MySpace because everyone else is doing it. Social media needs to be as well thought-out as the rest of your marketing mix, perhaps even more so because it is so quickly visible! Set goals, create guidelines for your internal team, test with customers, and ask for feedback. In other words, treat social media as a great marketing tool, using the same rigor as you would for direct mail or email (those are still great tools to use).
Do you have any social media tips for how to better engage with customers? Come on out and share them here!