That’s right. You need a plan for being social. I know it sounds crazy, but the reality is that so many do the exact opposite of being appropriately social for their brand compared to being social in their personal life. Do you think I am being a bit over zealous? Well how about this example? If a customer calls you up on the phone, would you consider not picking up the call? Then why when they talk to you through social channels would you ignore them? Just look at your kids. How many times do they text instead of calling their friends? People use digital communication more than they do face-to-face engagement or even telephone calls today. And you and your company need to adapt to this evolution if you are really committed to success.
There are 5 classifications of segmented social media relationship engagement. Let’s go through them …
Class 1 – often, the first level of communication is not conversation and posting directed at your brand. They are generic comments but are applicable to the industry your brand represents. For example, a person posts, “Does anyone know of a good light weight, not too expansive camera great for rustic traveling?” As a brand social leader, you need to predetermine some keywords to search for that present potential consumers interested in your product/service. Use a social media monitoring tool and search for these keywords. When found, engage with the poster by providing valuable information and avoid the hard sell.
Class 2 – someone mentions your product or service in a social channel you do not manage (i.e. not on your Facebook page). You need to continuously monitor (not sporadically) for your brand name and social profile name to capture every mention of your brand. Acknowledge mentions with the appropriate amount of engagement. This may be as simple as a saying “Thanks” if something positive is stated. Reinforce that you are listening and part of the active social community.
Class 3 – someone writes a comment or post on one of your social channels, but you do not recognize them in your CRM system or cannot match them within the existing database. (Okay, so I introduced CRM here … Something most of you are probably not incorporating in your social practice yet. But it is very important to get started on this. Yes – it is a big task. But think of the value of having contact info, contact preference, AND behavioral preferences captured by individual’s social communication completely integrated in your marketing intelligence.) In this case, you should engage and start to capture some contact information for CRM.
Class 4 – someone writes a post or comment and you recognize them in your CRM database. Take advantage of the fact that you know something about this individual. Respond in a personal manner reinforcing a hey-I-know-you mentality. This approach will go far in increasing the level of relationship with the individual and quite possibly turn them into an advocate in the near future.
Class 5 – someone writes a post or comment and they are a brand-classified advocate. In this case, you should engage with the individual like they are an old friend. Show great appreciation and present an opportunity for them to get significant notoriety.
Social media engagement should be aimed at building both wider and deeper relationships. Ultimately these positive relationships will spawn an increasing cycle of brand purchase, preference, loyalty, and advocacy. This is not a short-term effort, but when implemented correctly yields long term sustainable growth.
Think about segmenting responses based upon classifications I have outlined above. I have laid out for you a general approach, but take this one step further. Develop communication procedural rules and workflows to ensure that your brand communication and engagement activates your audience and increases their emotional preference for your brand.
Make it Happen,