The use of social media has risen astronomically in recent years. This growth has led to new online user behaviors. For instance, 32% of social media users expect a brand to respond within 30 minutes.
Social media serves as a forum for customers to discuss their favorite and not-so-favorite brands. Three types of brand-related conversations that happen on social media are:
Customer to customer
Customer to brand
Brand to customer
These conversations create massive amounts of user-generated content (UGC) and data. Nearly 80% of people admit that UGC on social media significantly impacts their purchasing decisions. Thus, top brands are figuring out ways to unlock insights from user data and gain a competitive edge.
Customers interacting with your brand on social channels expect you to listen, engage, and respond to them. A lack of response can result in a loss of trust. Therefore, a good growth and retention strategy must involve meaningful connections with your customers and targeted marketing campaigns.
Here’s how you can use social media to benefit your brand:
Use social listening to connect with the right audience
Millions of conversations happen every day on the internet. It is impossible to manually filter out spam and keep track of conversations that matter.
Social listening refers to the monitoring and analysis of conversations on social channels relevant to your brand, industry, and customers, using a capable AI-based tool. It offers you an in-depth understanding of customer sentiment — and how that affects your business. Based on the detected sentiment, you can provide relevant and prompt responses at scale.
Analyze social media data for effective marketing
Based on consumer insights from real-time and historical data, you can:
Identify the top demand-generating factors for your location, product, and industry to grow your brand.
Identify purchase intent and engage directly with prospective customers, partners, and influencers to drive sales campaigns.
Funnel your marketing efforts through targeted ads, social engagement, and PR outreach programs.
Identify early switching signals and retain customers by addressing their problems.
Learn more: Best practices for social media marketing
Identify growth opportunities through competitive benchmarking
To stand apart in a competitive marketplace, today’s enterprises need to listen in real time and act fast on actionable insights. But large volumes of unstructured data — scattered across a broad spectrum of modern channels — prevent many businesses from properly benchmarking and rising above the noise.
You can leverage publicly available social media data through competitive analysis to learn what your competitors are up to. If done correctly, competitive benchmarking can help you:
9 ways to achieve growth with social media
Here are nine ways to use social media to serve your customers more effectively.
1. Identify and meet unmet customer expectations
Understand what your customers want by monitoring location-specific, product-specific, and channel-specific conversations about your brand.
You can often spot the shift in customer expectations by gaining insights into the tone, sentiment, and intent of customer conversations, on social channels. Once identified, tend to the changing expectations of customers and use the data to stay ahead of the competition.
Customer insights allow your product teams to develop new features and products, bridging the gap between industry availability and unmet customer needs. These can be opportunities for your brand to achieve growth through innovation and be a market leader.
2. Adopt a consistent brand voice and template
Your employees may come from different backgrounds, teams, and divisions with varying ways of communicating with clients. But your customers expect a consistent brand experience while interacting with them. Having the right social media policy for your business can help you achieve a consistent brand voice.
Train your employees to use predefined templates for various channels to respond with a uniform voice. The template needs to align with your brand voice and resonate with your target audience, industry, and channel’s theme.
The template needs to be:
Flexible enough to be used across channels and easily modifiable within the established parameters to suit individual needs.
Clearly explain what, why, and how they vary for different channels.
Easily accessible to all stakeholders involved in content creation and marketing.
Inclusive of brand logos and images that you can use on external channels.
It takes five to seven brand impressions for someone to remember your brand. A uniform brand voice and set of templates create consistency in branding and make your impressions more impactful.
3. Connect with customers on their preferred social channels
Every social channel is different. For example, LinkedIn and Reddit allow users to interact with groups, but both do it differently for diverse audiences and subjects.
The tone, purpose, and topics of user interactions are unique to each channel. Plus, new networking sites pop up from time to time. Therefore, how you interact and whom you interact with on one channel usually differs from your interactions with customers on other sites or apps. It is essential to:
Concentrating on customers’ preferred social media platforms and producing content that resonates with them build customer comfort and brand trust, influencing purchase decisions.
Also read: How to set social media goals
4. Put a system in place to provide the fastest response time
60% of X, formerly Twitter users expect a response within an hour.
Social media is the quickest way for customers to raise issues. The pandemic only amplified this trend. Customers expect a speedy response and resolution to their concerns.
Delayed responses can result in customers using social media to voice their displeasure, leading to negative customer sentiment.
Although providing a quick response is pivotal, that isn’t enough — customers expect consistency across channels. Therefore, it is vital to offer the same level of service every time.
Develop a system that provides the quickest response on all social channels:
Identify frequently asked questions from historical conversations to create response templates.
Use an AI-based tool to categorize conversations based on persona, identified sentiment, and tone.
Set up automated responses to inform customers about their query status and when they can expect to hear back.
5. Detect crises and respond in time
54% of organizations cite communicating with staff as a key challenge during an emergency.
The lack of readily available crisis communication templates results in either a hurried, unsatisfactory response or a response that is too late. Both situations may lead to irreversible damage to brand reputation and trust.
A PR crisis can directly result in customer churn and loss of revenue at scale. Hence, it is crucial to have a systematic, unified process that identifies an emerging crisis and enables cross-team collaboration to decide the right course of action.
To limit the impact of the incident and control the situation before it escalates, you should:
Use real-time social media data to identify brewing crises.
Leverage smart alerts to get notified about escalations and address them swiftly.
Use AI-based early warning systems to prioritize volatile conversations.
6. Decide on the best social media response strategy for your business
Customers expect quick, unique, and honest responses from brands. They do not appreciate insincere, monotonous answers. Therefore, your responses must reflect your brand voice and address customer needs simultaneously.
Responding casually to queries requiring diligence would be inappropriate. Remember,it is not easy to take back what you’ve said online. And worst of all, it can lead to a tricky PR situation.
Be authentic, differentiate between cases, and follow your brand voice. A predefined strategy is crucial when responding to social media messages.
Factors to consider while building a response strategy:
Fast response time
Remembering response time while creating an authentic response aligned with your brand voice is essential. Ideally, you should:
Identify response times for different types of messages and support scenarios to build templates and solution articles.
Prioritize responses on social channels with the highest impact on your brand.
Leverage AI-powered smart responses to save time by providing auto-generated, relevant solutions to the agent.
Adopt customer-preferred channels, such as live chat and instant messaging, as part of your response strategy.
Nearly 70% of customers feel customer experience is a significant factor in choosing a brand during a purchase.
Customer feedback can show you the shortcomings in your process and improvement areas. It is important to:
Tailor your messaging strategy to your customers, industry, and brand.
Understand customer pain points to create templates for recurring questions.
Listen to previous customer conversations and use the data to learn how your customers expect you to respond.
Also read: How to create a social media strategy
7. Leverage AI to identify purchase intent and foster prospective customers
It is impossible to listen to over 4 billion social media users manually. But, an AI-based research tool can identify, visualize, and filter product-, industry- and customer-related conversations from noise.
Use AI to gain insights from social conversations to foster customer sets for your sales pipeline and identify buyer personas for targeted campaigns. This will help you optimize your marketing spend on high-value prospects and reduce the number of junk leads.
To identify prospective customers and purchase intent:
Build a list of keywords relevant to your brand.
Track conversations around keywords of interest and narrow down customer sets, locations, and personas of high value.
Use these insights to deploy targeted ad campaigns and widen your sales pipeline.
8. Use an omnichannel platform to integrate customer conversations across channels
Ninety percent of consumers expect their interactions to be consistent across all channels.
Meaningful interactions and happy customers help reduce churn and drive growth.
Using an omnichannel platform to track all previous client conversations across social channels makes it easier for your teams to collaborate. This is because it reduces siloed processes and makes individual interactions efficient.
Further, leverage AI and machine learning tools to gain insights from historical conversation data to bridge gaps in customer interaction. Use these insights to identify common pain points and provide a seamless, personalized customer experience.
9. Empower your team with real-time social media insights
Customer feedback and data points from social media are helpful only if you can gather insights from them.
A shocking 97% of marketers say their organizations are ineffective at turning customer data into insights and actions.
Social insights help your brand understand customer grievances, sentiment, and tone and improve resolution times.
Use social media insights to identify domains and locations where your competitors dominate and tweak your marketing strategy. AI-based insights can help you benchmark based on location, product, and competitors, significantly reducing time to insight (TTI).
Recognized by Forrester Research as a leader, Sprinklr’s listening tool covers the broadest range of social networks and messaging platforms. Using Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, you can contextualize conversations from more than 200 billion messages across years of historical social media data.