Do your customers feel like you hear them? Do they feel like they know you? Do they trust you to advise them on purchases?
If your answer to all of these questions is yes, congratulations: you’re a radically personal brand. If not, keep reading for the why (and how) of making this part of your brand.
Personal connection matters
Establishing a radically personal brand can have huge payoffs. In fact, 80% of companies report seeing increased profits within a year of implementing personalization. Customers who feel treated as a person—not a number—welcome sales suggestions, spend more money with you, and tell friends and family about your brand.
Building this type of relationship with a large customer base used to be difficult, particularly for larger brands with rotating customer service staff on duty.
Thanks to social media, however, it’s getting much easier. Social media functions as a two-way street–you speak to and with your customers, and they speak to and with you. Successful companies realize this and position themselves to make the most of it.
Establish a brand personality
To earn followers, show your personality. The brands with the largest followings are those that have established a personality that feels more like a person than a company.
Avoid solely posting ad content. Instead, be conversational. Casual and humorous works better than formal or academic on most social media channels.
Create and share compelling brand stories. Use your customer service platform to tell your audience a bit about yourself. What inspires your staff? How do you come up with product ideas? Who are some of your key employees? How has working for the company changed someone’s life or outlook? What encounters have you had with customers?
Take Southwest Airlines as an example. They regularly feature stories on interactions between customers, flight attendants, and pilots. Those stories position them as a very human brand. Potential customers are attracted to the idea that pilots and flight attendants might help them through similar circumstances or join them in celebrating life events.
Feature companies and designers you work with. No one does everything by themselves. Showcasing those you work with shares the love around, but it also makes you seem grateful and relatable. Your partnership stories will also attract customers from your partner’s follower base.
Get to know your customers
While social media is great for helping customers get to know you, it has just as much value in letting you get to know them.
Brands have often relied on a wide range of (often expensive) strategies to capture the voice of the customer, get feedback, and learn what future products might be the most appealing. Some of these methods have included surveys, email campaigns, phone calls, and focus groups.
Much of this can be performed for a fraction of the cost over social media. Using the full range of tools on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can:
- Post single question polls
- Feature product demos and invite questions
- Ask your followers about their experience
- Track conversations about your brand
- Understand your customer’s pain points
Let’s take a look at how you might use these features to connect with your audience. Many of these are forms of social support commerce, the practice of leveraging social media channels to increase revenue and provide a superior, seamless customer support experience.
By engaging in support situations, social support commerce identifies opportunities on social media channels for building brand loyalty, resolving customer issues that could have resulted in an abandoned cart, or upselling to dedicated customers.
Host public polls to ask about shopping experiences, product preferences, and lifestyle preferences. Are your people mountain people or beach people? Apple users or Android users? Social media posts are usually one question with two to four options, but those simple questions generate key insights.
Post product demonstration videos and close with an invitation for questions in the comments. Or take it one step further with live engagement. Dedicate sales or customer service reps to monitor the conversation and follow up with customers.
Create a hashtag that facilitates outreach to your customer service team. Keep it different from the tag your own team uses to introduce products or promote sales. That way you can monitor mentions and direct them to your service agents quickly.
When customers comment that they loved a product, seek more specific feedback from them by replying with a question or opening up a direct message conversation with them. Learning the specifics of why your customers love something can guide your future offerings.
Don’t delete negative feedback and comments. Instead, reply with a comment expressing empathy and offering a personal conversation. This will position you as responsive. If the customer is happy after your DM conversation, encourage them to post a reply saying so in the original thread.
Using social media for the full range of customer outreach and feedback sets the foundation for successful social support commerce.
Your customers will know you, trust you, buy more from you, solve their problems with you, and ultimately recommend you to their friends. That’s positive buzz and increasing sales—setting you up for long-term growth.
Learn more about how you can become a radically personal brand and start using Instagram to generate revenue by downloading our handbook, Using Instagram to Drive Revenue Alongside a Great Support Experience.