There’s no denying it: social media is a powerful engine. It can reach new clients, build trust with loyal followers, and set companies apart from their competitors through the sharing of valuable content and insights. But not everyone knows how to channel that potential. How can you make sure your social media efforts are providing a value add for your customers?
Providing Value to Clients through Social Media
The folks at rFactr, a social selling training and technology company and Microsoft Partner, know a thing or two about how to put social media to work. Their VP of Marketing, Julio Viskovich, and Channel Sales Manager, Jason Taylor, recently shared some insights into how you can make the most of your social media efforts.
How to use social media to connect with customers
Social media is a powerful tool to build and reiterate credibility. While business owners and their employees may be thought leaders or subject matter experts, it can be difficult to articulate that publicly. Social media is the perfect platform for companies to share relevant content and engage directly with their customers. Julio from rFactr believes that businesses can connect with customers through social media most effectively in the following ways.
- Communicate thought leadership and subject matter expertise,
- Share relevant and helpful content,
- Keep customers up to date with industry news,
- Listen to what prospects and clients are talking about,
- Respond to questions, and
- Connect with and segment customers.
Why social media is such a powerful tool
According to Jason, social media is more than a promotional tool, it’s a communication platform that offers the opportunity to educate and enlighten perspective buyers and current clients. The buyer’s journey has changed drastically in recent years, and communication methods continue to change as well. Cold calling and email marketing campaigns no longer hold the value they once did because customers are overwhelmed by these methods and don’t want to be sold to all the time.
“With digital transformation on the rise, organizations must partake in the evolution of communication. We live in a digital world and social media plays an integral role in how you reach, educate, and nurture clients.”
– Jason Taylor, Channel Sales Manager, rFactr
Julio also points out that businesses can’t always call or email clients; it’s simply too time consuming. Social media, however, allows businesses to continuously stay top of mind. Engagement points such as likes, retweets, or shared content are all relevant to building that relationship and providing value. He notes that social media also provides a tremendous amount of data and information about customers.
“Social media can be used high in the funnel to find new prospects, or lower down in the funnel to nurture current opportunities to a close – AND as a great post-sale way of maintaining a relationship to a renewal.”
– Julio Viskovich, Marketing VP, rFactr
How to develop a solid social media strategy
In order to be thoughtful in your approach to your social media efforts, it’s important to strategize. A solid social media strategy is made up of three key elements: clearly defined goals, use of relevant platforms, and a strong content strategy.
- First, ensure you have buy-in and commitment from your organization.
- Next, outline the goals of your social media strategy and ensure they align with overarching business objectives.
- Then evaluate how you are going to measure your results. What KPIs will you use to track performance? It can be as simple as growing your Facebook page likes by 50% in 3 months, or increasing NPS to 85% by lowering response times to 2 minutes on Twitter in Q2.
Make a Plan
- Create a social media policy that governs how your team will behave and act on social media. Think about things like the language used and how to notify the right person when an actionable conversation is identified.
- Next, perform a social media audit to understand your current position online. Look closely at your social channels, how many interactions and connections each one has.
- Look to your competitors to see how they are doing as well. This gives you a benchmark and some best-of-breed examples to work with.
Lastly, ensure that you have a content strategy. This should include both unique and shared content that your audience will find valuable.
“We recommend a 4-1-1 formula for social content. For every 6 posts you publish, 4 of them should be helpful or interesting 3rd party articles, 1 should be a 1st party blog post (with no ask), and 1 should be a monetized property or landing page (with an ask).”
-Julio Viskovich, Marketing VP, rFactr
How companies can use social to build credibility and develop public trust
Social media is considered to be the new form of word-of-mouth. Studies like Edelman’s Trust Barometer point to customers trusting regular employees or 3rd party experts as information sources far more than corporate messaging. Because of this, buyers tend to trust social media more than other sources of information. To build on that trust, companies need to publish valuable content consistently through their social media channels. Consistency and value is what builds trust over time.
“Show customers that you’re online, you’re attentive, and you care about them and they will transpose this onto your business.”
-Julio Viskovich, Marketing VP, rFactr
How to leverage social automation effectively
According to rFactr, a key element of being successful on social media is to concentrate your time on high-value and high-reward activities while automating the rest. Julio says, “All top of funnel content can be automated since the purpose is to drive awareness and broadcast to many people at once.” When used thoughtfully, scheduling posts to publish to Twitter and Facebook even months in advance is fine. But what can’t be automated is the 1:1 messaging and engagement. If you really want to make a difference on social media, you need to check your channels each day for prospects who need help, who are asking a question, or need a specific piece of content shared to them to move them down the sales funnel and grow your business
Grow Your Business with Social Media
For more ideas on how to use social media to reach customers, check out the 2016 Sensible Social Media Checklist for Businesses. Also read up on using social media to get more leads and how to boost your brand with social media influencers.
How do you provide value to your clients through social media? What sort of ROI have you seen from maintaining your social channels?