On the flip side of yesterday’s post, Why Understanding Your Customers is Vital to Your Social Media Strategy, social media can also be an extremely powerful tool for understanding your customers. Before the wide-spread use of social media, companies would have to spend thousands of dollars on having market research, surveys, studies, etc. done so they could understand what their customers wanted and were willing to pay for. This pretty much left any type of customer or market research in the hands of large companies who could afford to pay for the information. With social media you’re able to gather much of this information directly by finding, listening and asking your customers online.
Once you’ve found your customers and potential customers online, you can listen to what they’re saying about your products and your competitors products. You can listen to what they complain about what they’d like to have, where their pain points are, and what their needs are so you can design and create products to meet their needs. The better match there is between your product and your customer’s needs, the more successful they’re likely to be.
Customers are pretty good about tuning out advertisements, but they are more likely to take action on marketing and advertising that talks specifically to them about a need or problem they have. Social media allows you to understand the needs of your customers so your marketing can specifically speak to those needs and how your product solves them. Social media also allows you to more narrowly target and engage with people who are more likely to be interested in your product to begin with.
When people are first starting the purchasing process, they often are looking for information. Social media can help you understand what information people are looking for so that you can provide it when they’re ready to receive it. Social media also allows you to provide information before the sale to establish your reputation as an expert. By listening to the questions people have, you’ll be better able to create content that meets the needs of your audience.
Sales are more effective when the process is about the customer and their needs. With the research you’ve done on social media, you can not only understand the needs of your customers as a group, but often the needs of specific customers. That way, when you go into a sales call, you are armed with information specific to their needs and will be more likely to give them the information they want to hear.
Improving Customer Service
Customers will have problems or questions after the sale. Many times it’s easier or faster to turn to your own social network than to ask the company. People are asking questions and talking about problems all the time on social media — possibly about your own products or those of your competitors. By being engaged on social media, you can help solve those problems and answer those questions so that your customers have a better overall experience. Then they’ll be more likely to purchase from you again and recommend you to their network.
How do you use social media to understand your customers?
(image by Lali Masriera)