How many times have you received emails from people to participate in some LinkedIn survey or to test services and apps in Twitter?
May be more than you can keep a track of and most of the time, we don’t think twice before clicking the ‘Delete’ button. Personalisation is everything in the social sphere; bulk emails and auto tweets cannot hit human emotions, and are a waste of your time and efforts.
In fact, it’s time to eschew conventional-marketing wisdom and methods. Old methods cannot yield results anymore. The marketing rulebook has changed in the past few years. What is essential today is to build a viral boon using the established and affordable social channels that facilitates real-time and meaningful conversation.
For modern brands, having a social presence and building awareness is not just enough. They need to engage with customers just the way the latter want. Unfortunately, traditional marketing mediums fail to foster these results. So if you think your banner ad is good enough to generate traffic and convert them into sales, consider this: 22.7% Internet users blocked ads in 2013; and this number is expected to grow at 43% per year.
Consumers are increasingly turning away from anything that no more serves their needs. Mere advertisements of your products and services certainly do not fit into the scenario anymore. Consumers need two-way interaction; they want to be heard as well as hear how you can solve their pain points.
Then again, it isn’t quite that simple. Apart from being two-way, the interaction has to be relevant as well, in order to provoke emotions on a much deeper level. This is exactly the type of digital experience YouTube, Netflix and other social media sites are providing. This, in turn, has boosted the expectations of consumers. Increasing personalisation in social media marketing is therefore necessary for brands to be successful.
Peter Shankman, a renowned author and speaker, gives the best example ever of how social media can be used to provide good customer service. According to him, good customer service is something that solves problems and not something that just commiserates.
Today, more and more brands claim to provide social customer service. But are they really doing so? Shankman opines that a brand cannot provide social customer service in real sense unless its employees are empowered to solve problems via social accounts. Responding to tweets and Facebook posts/comments hardly counts as social customer service if all you are doing is asking your customers to email their issues to your support desk. Even saying “sorry” doesn’t count. In fact, it is not social customer service unless you are solving problems in real time.
Not many businesses are exploring these areas, yet. Shankman points out that this gives you ample opportunities to stand out in the crowd. Businesses that can meet and exceed their customers’ expectations with excellent social customer service can successfully create a database of faithful customers for life.
Another statistic from P&O Cruise, the largest cruise operator in the UK that claims to have 40% repeat customers, indicates that 95% of their customers recommend to a friend. This also means that if a customer has a bad experience with you, she will not hesitate to share the same with peers. But there is a way to solve this too. A bad experience can be an opportunity for you to jump in and fix the issue in order to turn the table in your favour.
Your focus, in this case, should be on “helping” your customers instead of promoting your brand. In fact, if you can hit the right notes, you don’t even have to worry about content marketing as your now-happy customer will do that on your behalf. They will be more than happy to share their positive experiences.
The question now arises is: how brands can reach this new generation of agile and discerning consumers?
The answer is short and simple – meet them on their terms. Today, consumers are used to be served with personalised content, no matter which channel they plug into. Amazon, for example, provides personalised product suggestions based on your browsing history. Similarly, we are all aware of Facebook’s personalised news feed that takes your preferences, tastes and online behavior into account.
Personalisation of social media content has therefore become a ubiquitous expectation and brands can no longer ignore this trend if they want to stay in competition.
But then why aren't all businesses leveraging this trend?
Because implementing such powerful and automated resources has certain prerequisites and not all businesses have the data volumes and engineers required to do so. This is especially applicable for small and medium businesses. Besides, it takes proper understanding of your target audience to develop this level of personalisation, which can be attained through long-term content and social media marketing.
Blogging, for example, is a conversation between the brand and its audience(s) at its core. Other examples include YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, which allow businesses to have an online presence and connect with their target audience(s) to facilitate free flow of two-way communication.
It takes time to develop these marketing channels. The return on investment, however, is worth the time and effort. A well-designed content marketing strategy on the popular social channels can help you to tap the hub of conversation, share ideas and create positive brand association. But it requires a long-term methodical approach to organically build a following.
According to Adam Singer, Google Analytics Advocate, it is also essential to “tie your work to measurable outcomes.” This will help you understand how well your strategy is working (or not) and the stats will also provide valuable insights to plan your future endeavours.
Though there is nothing new to it, what makes Singer’s advice valuable is that he insists you differentiate between micro-conversions and macro-conversions.
A micro-conversion occurs when your potential customer views a blog post, visits a particular page on your website or downloads a video. You’d have a micro-conversion when you get traffic to your website from your social channels. On the other hand, a macro-conversion happens every time those visitors make a purchase.
Most businesses are interested in tracking only their macro-conversions without realizing that they are missing out a crucial part of the game. Without an intimate understanding of what motivates people to buy, you cannot improve your sales funnel to attract more people to purchase from you.
Singer suggests that businesses need to dig deeper into what they want their consumers to do on their websites and need to assign values accordingly to those tasks. This will also help in qualifying your social visitors and in determining where to spend your time, effort and money.
The way people purchase is changing these days, thanks to social media. Businesses therefore need to adapt new methods to reach out to the consumers as conventional marketing methods can no longer satisfy the needs of discerning buyers. The increasingly scattered attention spans of consumers are also to be blamed.
Socially savvy businesses need to understand that customer relationships are the foundation of their success and personalisation plays key role in defining the relationship between a brand and its customers.Last Updated: Sun Apr 3 12:25:43 2016