The past decade has brought about amazing changes in the way customers communicate, how they send and receive information, how they search, and how they purchase goods and services. According to Dhruv Grewal – Chair of Commerce & Electronic Business for Babson who spoke at a recent social media consortium at the college, the changes and advances in social, mobile, and online technologies have created a perfect storm and are forcing firms to change their tack and redefine their customer value propositions.
Top 5 Takeaways for firms aspiring to educate, engage and sell to customers via social media:
- Customer value proposition (CVP) is satisfying customers on criteria that competitors don’t satisfy. To shape up your firm’s CVP, focus on the 4 E’s: Excite, Educate, Experience and Engage. Social media is not only a highly cost-effective channel to educate customers; It can also be a tool for customer recovery. For example, Dell Corporation blogs about customer issues and methods to resolve them – a great way to boost its CVP!
- Google+ is a common thread, not another channel. Google leverages its social channel to display relevant products connected to search results to its customers. Google’s CVP via social media is to provide a personalized experience to billions of users and help them make better, more informed decisions.
- Content + Answering Customer Questions = Formula for Success. Content that speaks about the Industry (not yourself) and answering customers’ questions can truly bolster your social media CVP. Data shows that websites with frequently updated blogs with relevant content can, on average, draw 55% more traffic than websites that don’t offer blogs.
- Listening and Engaging is Key; Not the number of Likes and Followers. Social Media is a great opportunity to delight customers. However, the first step is to listen to customers and learn what they would want to talk about, listen to and share with the world. To that effect, Staples launched a highly successful campaign called “What do you want to hear from us?” and used Social Media to have a two-way conversation with its customers.
- Social Media can Feed Sales Channels. When potential customers and prospects visit your firm’s social media channel(s), it presents a great opportunity to use your social media channel (for example, blog) to lead visitors to your website. From that point onwards, simple call-to-action forms can help drive customer leads into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Once customer leads are captured, it can directly feed into the sales process which can convert leads into sales.