When listing their most important goals for social media, 62% of the brands surveyed said customer acquisition, while only 29% said customer care.
There’s a huge disconnect here.
Think back to the basics, folks. The best way to get a new customer isn’t to pound them over the head with a marketing message. Generally, the companies that have seen the best results are the ones that are recommended to people by current customers. A company has a great product or service, customers love it, customers share it with their friends, and–voila! New customers.
The absolute first step in social media should be to get your current customers connected to you.
1. Opportunity to observe: When you connect to your current customers, you can watch how they interact with you and your brand. On some networks, such as Twitter, you can even see what their needs are way beyond your own product or service. Connecting with your current customers gives you insight into who your customers really are and what they’re looking for to make their lives easier.
2. Opportunity to activate: Let’s say you need to move some inventory quickly. Doing a huge flash sale might damage your brand’s pricing perception with new customers–they may think you’re not worth full price if they’ve been introduced to you at a significant discount. However, your current clients who know and love you will appreciate a “customer-only” activation, like a secret price drop. Consider creating social groups of your best customers, and look for activations they can share to help move product.
3. Opportunity to advocate: Most people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertising. It always amazes me that companies think that shifting their ad messages to short social updates will change anything about that.
A company talking about itself is advertising, whether it’s on a paid medium or a Facebook page. But if you can get your customers talking about you, that’s advocacy. Give your customers simple, shareable tools to advocate on your behalf, and you’ll see new customers as a result.
New customers are a byproduct of taking care of your current customers in social media. So go look at your social-content calendars right now, and ask: Have we done enough for the ones who already love us?
CARRIE KERPEN is the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, which she grew from a husband-and-wife consulting firm into a global social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency. She led her team to more than $15 million in revenue and landed the agency on the Inc. 500 in 2011 and 2012.