What is the scope of social media
In the digital information age, a social media presence is a key competence in reaching new customers and offering existing customers opportunities for interaction and information. But when do customers and leads follow corporate channels?
For a current report, Sprout Social asked 1000 social media experts and 1000 users how social media can and should be used in marketing (the English-language report can be requested here as a PDF).
The important things first:
Leads and customers who follow brands on social media channels are more likely to buy there than from the competition (which they don't follow). In addition, the share of wallet also increases if customers with a follow become more or less “brand loyal”.
of all customers surveyed are more likely to buy from a company they follow on social media.
The most common marketing goals for social media:
- Strengthen brand reach (69%)
- Increase web traffic (53%)
- Increase audience / number of followers (46%)
- Promote content (44%)
- Increase community engagement (43%)
- Support sales (40%)
- Interact with followers (30%)
- Offer service & support (28%)
- Keep an eye on the competition (27%)
One of the biggest challenges for companies is often the lack of understanding of what a social media channel can and must achieve. At ec4u, for example, we not only use our channels on the customer side for brand awareness, reach and interaction, but also to address students, trainees and applicants and to interact with our partners.
Meanwhile, other companies need social media channels to collect service requests and give customers a quick way to resolve problems. Another added value with a good service presence is visibility on the Internet, which has a positive effect on brand perception and new customer acquisition.
Incidentally, if the service presence does not meet customer expectations, there is also a risk of losing followers. While service requests aren't actually one of the top reasons to unfollow a company (more on this in the post), a bad service experience for every second customer is reason enough to unfollow a company.
By the way, the extent of the support on the social media channels often depends very much on the industry. In the B2B area in particular, it is more likely that customers will contact their contact person directly if they have problems instead of visiting Twitter. In the B2C sector, it is now almost good form to provide service offers on Facebook and Twitter, be it through your own channel or as part of the official company channel.
How do customers find you on social media?
- Suggestions through the social media channel (45%)
- Suggestions from friends (40%)
- Popular brands follow the account (39%)
- Influencers mentioned the account (35%)
- Brand is already known (34%)
- Hashtags (25%)
Reach plays a major role and is based on numerous variables thanks to numerous algorithms in the SM feeds. These include:
- Number of followers
- Interaction rate (likes and shared posts get more impressions)
- Own activity (how often does a company post)
- Type of activity (pictures and videos are displayed more often)
- Own interaction (how often does a company interact with other accounts)
- Findability (for example, does a website visitor simply find social media links?)
- Paid Ads
Based on this alone, it already shows that a smart social media strategy is very complex. But it is precisely at this point that customer knowledge helps to design and manage your own channels in such a way that they also address your own or intended customers. Because in the end it counts:
Why do customers follow companies on social media channels?
... to find out about new products and services (57%)
... receive company news (47%)
... to be informed about vouchers, discounts and promotions (40%)
... to be entertained (40%)
... to learn something (34%)
... to network with like-minded people (32%)
... to be inspired (32%)
... communicate with a company (21%)
... to network with people who think differently (18%)
Information meets emotion
The reasons for following a company as asked by Social Sprout clearly indicate that the primary reason is information-related. An account should therefore always be informative or offer easy access to information. Each company has to identify what information this is, for example based on its buyer personas, etc.
The far more exciting point - even if not the highest priority of the customers - is the human / social aspect, which lies in the inspiration and the exchange. Reach is good, but a real customer relationship is of course better, also based on the aforementioned results that customers who follow a company on social media channels are more likely to buy / invest more.
Authenticity in dialogue
This is exactly where the brand plays a role and how the company presents itself on the channels. A good understanding of the customer, but also of your own brand, are necessary here in order to communicate authentically. This includes elements such as the visual language, the salutation (you or you?), The use of humor, the use of different types of media and, in principle, the company's self-image. For example, does it want to act as a thought leader for its customers or is it more of a "friend" on an equal footing? Does it communicate more formally or does it speak colloquially with its followers?
of the surveyed customers rate engagement as a distinguishing feature for top accounts.
So the lesson is: even if these emotional reasons for following a company are secondary, in the end they are decisive for how much the followers identify with the company and how close the relationship they are forging is. Companies should see it as a development to position themselves as a brand on social media channels and to find their own "personality". In contrast to their own website, stationary shop, etc., companies must be able to react much more flexibly to interactions, trends and developments in communication.
A good speaker is not always a good conversationalist.
This also applies to companies that have so far been successful on their website, in the shop and generally in branding. On social media channels, there is a different communication that often has to be learned through transparency and interaction alone. On the one hand, this includes reacting flexibly and spontaneously to customer reactions and at the same time acting in the interests of your own branding.
For an authentic and successful appearance, you have to know your customers. With the Buyer Persona method, you can develop fictitious customer profiles based on your existing or desired customers in order to specifically focus on problems, purchase motivations, needs, behaviors and more and to align your communication accordingly.
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