Six questions on customer interaction via social media

Published on 02/04/2021 in Tech, tips & tricks

Six questions on customer interaction via social media

Your customers expect to be able to reach you through every social media channel. And they want you to reply right away. How exactly can your company live up to these expectations? Tim Colman, Head of Digital Communication at Proximus, has some tips.

Always communicate quickly, openly, and authentically.

Tim Colman, Head of Digital Communication at Proximus

1. What’s essential for every social media strategy when it comes to customer communication?

“A good social media strategy consists of five pillars. The most important two are acquisition and retention. You need to transfer the product or service you offer to your social media to attract customers. You need to encourage the customers you already have to stay customers and to buy from you again.”

“There is also the social aspect, where you provide information on purchases and deliveries, for example. Don’t lose sight of advocacy either: your satisfied customers tell stories and leave positive reviews. Include these in your social channels. Carry out crisis communication by responding to problems, and keep communicating about them until they are solved.”

The five pillars of social media:

  1. Acquisition: winning new customers
  2. Social customer service: practical information
  3. Crisis communication: communicate until a solution is found
  4. Retention: turn customers into loyal customers
  5. Advocacy: make fans and ambassadors of your customers

“One tip: always communicate quickly, openly, and authentically. Your customers expect an answer very quickly, even in B2B communication. They demand that you are honest and admit when something has gone wrong. They also sense whether you are genuine or not. Using the same style as your competitors doesn’t work.”

2. How do you build a community?

“In a community you interact with your customers. You tell your story about your product, service or brand and put it into practice. It is important to follow up on every interaction with your followers and to put your fans in the spotlight. One way to bind customers to you is with giveaways and competitions because customers can win something or experience something unique.”

“It does require a lot of time and effort. But once your community is up and running, it will provide you with unique benefits. My advice is to start building your community and test what works for your target audience and what doesn’t. Don’t spend too much time thinking about a strategy.”

Trial and error gets you results quicker than thinking strategically.

Tim Colman, Head of Digital Communication at Proximus

author

3. What about negative comments?

“When problems arise, everything revolves around openness. Acknowledge the problem, admit that something has gone wrong, enter into a discussion, and don’t forget to inform the customer once the problem is solved. But always do that one-on-one. Issues such as racism, sexism, and spreading false messages are more delicate. Then you have two options: condemn them openly or steer the conversation with your customer in a different direction.”

Trend toward positive social media

No doubt you see it daily: people on social media who don’t know when to stop and keep posting negative or even hateful comments. Tim Colman: “It’s very noticeable that this negativity has increased, especially on Facebook, but TikTok is also suffering a lot from hateful comments. That’s why some companies consciously stay away. On the other hand, activity on LinkedIn has increased considerably, and this will continue. It’s a professional network known for its positivity. People help each other and there are hardly any negative comments.”

4. How do you select the right channels?

“You first need to know who your target audience is and find out what social media platforms they are active on. Then you consider what story you want to tell and which elements are suitable for which channels. For example, if your target group is B2B, the people you are hoping to reach are not only on LinkedIn. They also use other social media privately, and they are certainly useful too.”

“Instagram is a visual platform, perfect for creating awareness. You use Facebook and LinkedIn to explain and get people to your website. Facebook, for example, is ideal for stimulating purchases and LinkedIn for your HR policy. Younger target groups can be reached via TikTok and Snapchat. Don’t forget to use apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp. They let you interact personally with your customers.”

5. What tools are available to efficiently track customer interactions?

“That depends on what you want to do, what type of business you have, and how big your business is. There are so many tools out there, it’s best to do some research to find the one that best suits your needs. A lot of tools are low-threshold and inexpensive to use. You might also want to consider using chatbots. They allow you to quickly provide answers to frequently asked and easy questions. When your customer wants more information, a bot can automatically redirect them to a staff member.”

A chatbot answers simple questions on your social media and passes on the difficult ones to a staff member.

Tim Colman, Head of Digital Communication at Proximus

6. How to make a difference in the future?

“There is still a lot of potential in chat platforms and groups. In a chat app, you talk directly to your customers, which works incredibly efficiently. The messages you share with a group always appear at the top of your target group’s feed. With a bit of creativity you always win. The more creative your message, the greater your impact. Just look at the effect that short videos on TikTok and memes such as photos, videos, or gifs are having.”

Your customers expect a lot from you, and that has a big impact on your business and your staff. But when you choose the right tools, it doesn’t have to overload you with extra work. Find out which tools can help your company with customer communication.

Tim Colman joined Proximus as Content Manager in 2016 and is now Head of Digital Communication. His team is responsible for online acquisition, incentive, and retention campaigns, SEO strategy, and social media management.

The power of WhatsApp and a chatbot

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