Social Sound | Remember to always focus social media strategy fully on your customers
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Remember to always focus social media strategy fully on your customers

NOTE: This item first appeared in the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s April-June 2019 newsletter.

Many businesses don’t spend nearly enough time pondering whether their use of social media is relevant or successful. But those that do need to make sure they are asking the right question.

Incorrect: “Is our use of social media helpful to our business?”

Correct: “Is our use of social media helpful to our customers?”

This might seem like a subtle difference, but when it comes to defining social media relevance and success, focusing fully on the customer is the key.

If you wonder whether your social media plan is on track, here are a few extremely basic questions to ask yourself.

Are you helping customers feel that they are a part of your story?
Posting about your business and expecting people to beat down your doors doesn’t work. People don’t want to be seen as potential customers. They want to be a part of your story.

What you post must interest them. It must benefit them in some way. It should engage them. But if it makes them feel that they are a part of your story – like they are your friend and neighbor and not just your customer – then you’ve really won.

Are you engaging with customers?
Every time someone takes an action on one of your social media channels, you should ponder the best response.

It might be in the form of a simple “thank you” or a “like” of a comment they made. It might be in the form of a direct answer to a question they asked. It might be in the form of a positive and forward-thinking response to a negative review. In extremely rare cases, it might be in the form of hiding a comment or banning someone from your page.

When customers try to engage with you, don’t ask yourself: “Should I respond at all?” Instead, ask yourself: “How should I respond in a way that would best help this person, other potential customers and, as a result, my business?”

Are you available to customers?
About a year ago, I was assigned with getting some takeout for a small gathering of friends. It was a busy day, so I wanted to reach out to place an order while I was thinking of it, which happened to be a couple hours before most local restaurants opened. I sent a quick Facebook message to two local restaurants to ask whether they did takeout orders and how I could best go about placing one.

In a perfect world, someone would have answered within a couple hours, thanked me for reaching out and instructed me on how best to obtain some food. In all honesty, I would have been very satisfied if someone had reached out within a few days, apologized for missing my message and offered me instructions on what I should do the next time I faced a similar issue.

I still haven’t heard back from either restaurant.

Simply having a Facebook or LinkedIn page isn’t enough for your business. Someone must monitor your accounts. It is the most basic social media step, but it is often overlooked.

It is great if your business has the time and the talent on staff to execute a successful social media strategy. If not, you might better serve your customers by finding a good outside agency to help. But whether you handle your social media accounts in-house or through an outside agency, always focus on your customers first. What is good for them is good for your bottom line.

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