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How to use social media to engage with customers

By May 30, 2012July 16th, 2012All members

Business conversationSocial media is, to a large extent, a global conversation. If you only use it to broadcast your marketing message, you are not using it correctly. After all, it is not an advertising medium, is it?

Have you noticed what happens to people who continually shout about their products / services within the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? What do you think of people who do this?

Within a normal conversation, you would listen, ask questions and respond to people, wouldn’t you? I suggest that you do exactly the same within the social media communities you belong to.

Be quick to react

I know that you are busy. However, it only takes a moment to check @Connect within Twiiter, to see who is talking about you, asking you a question, etc. There are also numerous tools available to help you to manage multiple social media converations, inluding (the “Social media dashboard”) and (“Your social inbox”).

Be useful

Or, to put it another way, “Yada Yada Yada” versus “Here is the answer to your question.” Southwest Airlines* in the USA has a team of people who monitor their social media mentions and conversations 24/7. If a customer complains about a late flight, via Twitter, they explain what is going on and provide practical advice and assistance. Imagine the effect on perception, word of mouth and their brand. At the time of writing, the airline has some 1.3 million followers on Twitter. Here is one of their messages, in reply to a Tweet from a customer:

@ArnJmrk Your best bet is to ask the flight crew to address. I can also have someone from our Customer Relations team reach out!

Smaller businesses have the advantage of being more agile. Larger businesses need to realise what is going on and they need to engage with their customers in this way.

Be polite

Thank people who respond to you. Think about the way in which your interactions may be interpreted. I am not saying that you have to agree with everyone. However, I am surprised at the number of business people online who are rude, confrontational and unkind. Do they think that this approach will attract customers, I wonder?

Keep learning

Social media is a fast changing area. It is important to keep learning and to engage with it. After all, it isn’t going to go away, is it?


*Southwest Airlines is a leading USA based low-fare carrier. Southwest Airlines is North America’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded.

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