Marketers have embraced social media to help build relationships with their customers online. Four social media experts discuss how to build communities and incorporate a CRM approach into online fan pages
Director of social media, Sub-Zero and Wolf
For our luxury kitchen brand Sub-Zero and Wolf, the core customer is a woman age 45 or older. This demographic has been slower to adopt social networking than other groups. As the world’s leading social network, Facebook has more than 400 million users, 50% of whom log in everyday. However, simply establishing a Facebook presence isn’t enough to create an engaging luxury destination.
When amassing fans, go with quality over quantity. Your Facebook page should be an extension of your luxury brand’s voice. To build that foundation, establish and invite your core customers. Begin by communicating to your existing owner database and announcing your brand’s Facebook page via e-mail. In addition, link to your Facebook page on your website at every opportunity. At retail, include the URL on receipts and checkout counter cards. Provide an incentive for your current customers to “follow” your brand, such as exclusive content, discounts or sweepstakes.
It is essential to add value to the affluent customers’ busy lives. At the Sub-Zero and Wolf Facebook Page, we share seasonal recipes, wine pairings and cooking tips. Additionally, we spotlight hot kitchen designers and their latest projects. The actual culinary and design content is hosted on, and links customers to, Subzero.com. Excluding search engines, Facebook is the third-top-referring site to subzero.com. The affluent consumers sent by Facebook view more pages, are on-site longer and have a lower bounce rate than any other referring site.
Lastly, reward your affluent followers with exclusive news, discounts, videos and photography. By offering your loyal Facebook fans the first look at fresh content, they’ll feel like brand insiders. Nurture a natural dialog, and the conversation doesn’t need to be about your brand. Pose questions and encourage engagement from your followers. Ask them to upload photos.
Recently, we asked “What’s for dinner tonight?” to the Sub-Zero and Wolf followers. We received more than 200 responses, including photos of their meals and recipes. Facebook is a two-way street. Don’t just push your message, pull the best out of your fans. Invite, praise and showcase their passion.
Reward loyal social customers with exclusive incentives and engaging conversations
Founder and president, ListenLogics
Listening technologies have made it clear that consumers provide tremendous insights in social media about all brands, not just major ones. While tactics like implementing a Twitter or Facebook fan page are a start, there are far more sophisticated strategies that you can easily leverage.
For starters, think of social media as a vehicle for social CRM, not as another “push” channel. Just as traditional CRM helps organize and handle workflow for customer service and sales calls, social CRM enables marketers to keep track of conversations involving their brands in social media, gain valuable insights from trend analysis and influencer identification, and perhaps even inculcate would-be brand advocates. Technologies that enable brand marketers to engage and manage their social media community can make social CRM an everyday and invaluable part of their job.
What about the consumers who are talking about your brand, not to your brand? Many social CRM technologies have a listening component built in, so you can effectively listen to the chatter about your brand or product that is occurring outside of your network. Engaging these consumers, whether they are happy or disgruntled, is crucial to growing your brand.
Regardless of the technology you use for your social media listening, applying social CRM strategies to this discipline is worthless unless you understand consumer sentiment regarding your brand and can assign actionable insight from your audience’s voice. Brands that are most successful with their social CRM strategies are the ones integrating revealed insights with their decision making enterprise-wide.
We all can name a few brands that are probably wishing they had been doing this in recent years. Listening strategically can produce fantastic ROI for your business, but only if your technology enables you to glean actionable insights from what you hear. Only then can social CRM be effective.
Listen to what customers say about your brand to help build relationships
Manager of digital communities, 360i
Nurturing a thriving and engaged community can help brands inspire conversations, encourage deeper brand loyalty, garner positive word of mouth and even drive sales. But it’s certainly not easy. Luckily there are a few core tenets to community management that marketers can abide by to successfully grow — and reap rewards from — a community of loyal and happy brand advocates.
The most important tenet of community management is that it’s a long-term commitment to relationship building, not a one-night stand. To build a relationship with your audience, you need to provide ongoing value. You can offer discounts and coupons as a form of value to quickly build your base, and this works very well for this purpose. However, you need to continually provide regular and differentiated value to retain your existing members and fans. Value can come in the form of content, entertainment, exclusivity, information, utility or some kind of social currency. Communities are not campaigns. Whereas communities were once built to support a specific campaign or program, marketers are now creating campaigns to support, sustain and promote their communities.
In the age of social media, customer relationships are the collective responsibility of a number of departments across your organization. Integrate your brand team, PR, customer service, legal and anyone else who touches your customer and who can help aggregate assets and potential points of value for them, such as product info, multimedia, events, coupons, contests and more. Then involve the rest of your marketing team to leverage the promotional power of other customer or mass reach vehicles you may be using, such as your corporate website, TV and print ads and e-mail programs. Let your customers know about these communities and the social channels where they can find you.
Digital communities take time and care to nurture but are well worth the effort. Following relationship “rules of the road” — be committed, offer ongoing value and involve others — can go a long way toward helping your brand reap the positive benefits of an active and engaged community.
Keep the conversation going to give your social communities a means to engage
VP of marketing and products, Genius.com
Social marketing ROI, for most marketers, remains elusive. Everyone has heard the @ComcastCares and Domino’s stories that have taken on a near epic mythology about the opportunities and liabilities of social media. How do marketers apply those lessons to their own campaigns?
Marketers know that social media and inbound marketing can’t be ignored. The numbers are too compelling. Stats show that 90% of consumers are using social media and time spent on those channels is increasing. While there has been phenomenal growth, it’s often accompanied by an inability of marketers to understand ROI from the multiple conversations happening on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Worse, only a few are trying. According to eMarketer, just 16% of business-to-business companies track their social media efforts.
Impressions, visits, reach and followers are important statistics, but they are not important business metrics. For social media to be fully embraced, marketers need to demonstrate how responses and relevant content impacts the bottom line. Ultimately, social media should be judged on more than just awareness metrics. It must help determine whether the lead should be left to grow and mature or if it should be harvested. To leverage social media effectively, companies need to connect the reach of the social media channel to lead conversion, and then all the way through the pipeline to revenue impact.
With proper tracking in place, marketers evaluate the effectiveness of each channel by examining not only how it broadens the corporate footprint, but also how it creates more opportunities. The channel that achieves both objectives enables the company to generate more engaged conversations and build better relationships, resulting in greater revenue.
Marketers should track social efforts to help extend their reach and grow revenue