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Social media - The tool that improves customer service, loyalty and sales

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Written by Kevin Plankey
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Social media gets a lot of hype in the business world, to the point that it's been labeled a necessity. But is all that hype warranted? 

 

A recent study revealed that it is. Not only that, but the report indicated that you should be jumping at the vast opportunities social media marketing provides.

 

The survey polled decision-makers who have joined the world of social media, and they identified several advantages, including:

 

* Marketng (cited by 86 percent of respondents)

* Customer Service (73 percent)

* Sales (31 percent)

 

And those numbers appear to be on a steady incline.

 

Want to overcome customer loyalty struggles? Use social networking

For the most part, respondents to the survey listed pretty standard reasons for wanting to invest more in social media marketing - saving money on customer support and boosting customer advocacy, just to name a couple. But the No. 1 motivation for increasing social networking budgets might come as a bit of a surprise.

 

You might have noticed by now that customer loyalty isn't what it used to be. It's gotten harder to get their attention these days, and a whole lot easier to lose it. It should be exciting news to you, then, to learn that improving consumer satisfaction and loyalty has been found to be the top benefit of using social media for customer service. 

 

Social media has become an invaluable customer service tool for brands for a variety of reasons:

 

- People use it as a regular method of communication, and some even prefer it to face-to-face and over-the-phone interactions.

- Everything is public, so consumers can see for themselves as issues get resolved.

- There aren't the potential pitfalls of having to place someone on hold.

 

Earning their trust

I've said in the past that you need to use best customer service practices (answering every question or complaint, solving problems in a timely manner and so on) on social media that you use for traditional channels. When it comes to marketing, on the other hand, you'll have to practice more innovative techniques. 

 

Sure, you need to use social media to get your message out there, but consumers have learned to tune out generic advertisements. In fact, many of them have come to distrust social messages entirely.

 

Therefore, you need to adopt a different approach: using these platforms to engage your customers and, eventually, win their trust. Ask them questions, post pictures and video, offer them loyalty packages - anything that will make them active and coming back for more. 

 

Let's focus on that last point for a second. The potential of social loyalty programs is two-fold. Not only would individual consumers be more likely to participate in these initiatives on social media, but all of their contacts would see them as well. 

 

Social media marketing is here, it's thriving and it's become a necessity. Use it wisely to boost your customers' satisfaction, loyalty and their likelihood to make purchases.