How to Connect with Your Customers by Using Social Media for Marketing (Updated August 2018)

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

You need to engage your customers to grow your business. But how can you do that? The truth is that each business is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, one thing is certain, leveraging social media for marketing is a great place to start.

In the past, brands in industries like fashion, beauty, or food and travel have found it easier to engage people using even traditional media. But with social media, even typically uninteresting sectors like finance have a way to create a buzz about themselves.

Here’s looking at some useful tips that will help you engage your clients using social media marketing:

1. Influencer Review Board

In a survey, 38% of respondents claimed to find online reviews helpful in making a purchase decision. You can leverage this by involving influencers in product reviews that they can share on social media with their followers. You can even share their reviews on your social media accounts for maximum outreach.

Not only are you sourcing valuable feedback on your products, but also spreading awareness about your brand. These influencers are experts in their niches, and have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of their communities. By having them vouch for you, you can add a lot of credibility to your brand.

YouTube sensation, Lewis Hilsenteger, for instance, frequently reviews smartphones and tech on his channel Unbox Therapy. His take on the latest Samsung gaming monitor is peppered with his trademark humor and anticipatory drama. But more importantly, it is the useful product info that he provides that got the video more than 5.5 million views.

Youtube

Image via YouTube

One way to approach this to approach social media leaders who are already using your products. You can use influencer marketing tools like Grin to find key individuals who are aligned with your brand. It allows you to filter influencers on the basis of their social outreach, engagement rates, and other metrics.

Grin-1

Image via Grin

2. Personalize Your Content

Personalized content resonates better with buyers and engages a bigger audience. In fact, 98% of marketers believe that personalization improves customer relationships.

Good personalization requires that you tailor your content to your customer’s requirements and expectations.

Understanding your buyer’s personas is the key to creating personalized content that is tailored to their needs. Use your customers’ data to collect relevant information that reflects their behavior.

Using social media for marketing also requires an intimate understanding of each platform. A better understanding of which content is most suitable for each platform will help you create content that connects with your audience.

For instance, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, a majority of the 18 to 24-year-olds prefer platforms like Snapchat or Instagram. So for a visual campaign with pictures targeted at this age group, you can choose Instagram or Snapchat instead of Facebook.

Personalizing your social media marketing efforts can be tricky, but some brands do know how to get it right.

Netflix, for example, effectively uses social media for marketing. The company continues to invest heavily into personalizing content and movie suggestions for each user’s tastes.

The brand uses a complex algorithm that takes into account a user’s viewing patterns, browsing habits, location, and search history. They skillfully use this knowledge to entertain and engage their customers.

The brand uses geo-targeting for their Facebook page. Based on location, they offer only the most relevant information to the target audience.

netflix

Image via Facebook

In just one year, the company gained almost a million new U.S. Facebook users and seven million new Facebook followers.

The success and rapid growth of the company shows that personalized recommendations can pay off big time.

3. Conversations are a Two-Way Street

Customers appreciate a brand that is open and willing to be involved in a dialogue with them. Whether it’s on a forum or on your social media page, engage customers and leads by being active on social media.

Actively share your content on social media, and encourage users to comment on your posts. Get involved in discussions with them, ask them questions, and answer theirs. There’s no better way to foster relationships than to talk with the people on the other end.

More importantly, if your content is generating a lot of engagement, earning shares and retweets, then you should participate in that conversation. A simple “thank you,” or some form of appreciation for people sharing your content can go a long way in strengthening those relationships. Further, be prompt when responding to feedback or answering a question.

If someone is critical of your product or brand, take it in stride and try to resolve their issue as quickly as possible. A “customer is always right” approach will go a long way to build your reputation on social media. Remember, there may be many people watching how you respond to a customer’s feedback or issue. Depending on how you handle the situation, those customers can even turn into strong brand advocates.

A great example of this is Starbucks with their “What’s your Starbucks Idea?” page. It’s not a typical customer complaint page. It allows customers to be involved in a direct dialogue with their favorite coffee brand. It invites users to make suggestions to help Starbucks serve their customers better. The idea was such a hit on Facebook that they decided to have a dedicated page on their website just for it.

Starbucks-1

Image via Starbucks

4. Hashtagging it out

An interactive and instant way to connect with people on social media is the use of hashtags, especially on Instagram and Twitter. As of last year, there are 800 million active monthly users on Instagram and 330 million on Twitter. Using a unique term that applies to your business, you can engage with people about a particular topic.

You can have a brand hashtag or one for a particular social media marketing campaign. Other than sharing it yourself, ask your influencers and followers promote you by using relevant hashtags.

Perhaps involve them in a fun competition and have them use a particular tag to send in their entries like RYU did. The athletic apparel brand encouraged their fans to share photos of what they carried in their gym bags. They even incentivized them with an opportunity to win prizes.

Instagram

Image via Instagram

You don’t need to restrict yourself to just the ones you created for your brand or ad campaign. You can also leverage other trending hashtags to involve yourself in a conversation about something related to your industry. Take a look at how Warby Parker got a buzz going for themselves by jumping in on the Pokemon Go bandwagon.

Twitter

Image via Twitter

5. Spice Up Your Social Feeds

Information about your business shouldn't be the only thing you share with your audience while using social media for marketing. Your followers will lose interest quickly if you are only blasting them with sales messages and self-promotion.

Along with your business-related content, share other content that your followers will enjoy. Informative or inspirational articles can be interesting for your followers but also, try to have fun with them.

Keep an eye on what’s trending on social media. Share a funny video or even a hilarious new meme about a trending topic.

You can share tips and advice that will increase their knowledge and build stronger relationships. Use polls to attract them and learn more about what makes them tick.

The goal is to get people more involved with your brand. Contests and quizzes are another great way to engage and amuse your followers.  

Brands have different strategies for using social media for marketing. For example, Found Wild Project often offers giveaways on their Instagram account. A giveaway is a great way to entice more people and gain better brand recognition.

Found Wild Project

Image via Instagram

While expensive giveaways will certainly engage more people, it isn’t necessary that the prize is always expensive. You can start with small giveaways and work your way up to a bigger prize.

It can be helpful to plan a content calendar to ensure balanced content distribution on social media.

6. Going Live with Influencers

While online feedback is an important way of engaging customers, doing it in person is even better. Connect with social media influencers and subject matter experts in your area and organize a live event with them. Besides the opportunity to interact with people personally, film and share these events on social media.

Live videos are a great way to not only grow your own social media awareness, but also that of your influencers. Live videos featuring behind-the-scenes and blooper moments will be big hit with your followers. In fact, 82% of people prefer live videos to social posts made by companies.

Organizing such a campaign may not be easy, but the results will be worth the effort. Big events generally equate to bigger crowds and more online content. We aren’t just talking about the Instagram or Snapchat posts made by you or your influencers. Expect your followers and event attendees to share live updates from your event on their own feeds as well. That will also help to expand your reach and publicity of the event.

What does an influencer event marketing campaign look like? It looks something like the Fashion Carnival organized by Tommy Hilfiger in collaboration with supermodel Gigi Hadid. Not only did it have renowned models flaunting the designer’s new collection, but loads of carnival attractions for people to enjoy. And of course tons of photos and videos posted on Instagram to promote the event and new collection.

Insta-gram

Image via Instagram

Conclusion

People have an inherent desire to connect with brands. And using social media for marketing purposes allows brands to do just that. There are many ways to use social media to connect with your customers. And while we’ve covered some of the best ways you can do so above, we’d also love to hear from you.


Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown is the CEO of Grin, an influencer marketing software solution for brands. Grin’s software helps customers identify, recruit & activate the world’s most engaging influencers. Prior to Grin Brandon led marketing for the #1 energy drink market in the world, Los Angeles & Orange County, at Red Bull North America. He is an expert in consumer marketing and has extensive experience working with the worlds largest brands to reach consumers through influencers, athletes, musicians and artists.

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